Open meetings, or what do a group of sex addicts talk about anyway?


We’re going to be having an open meeting tomorrow. That’s where we let in people who aren’t sex addicts. In my area, these are very rare. The last one was over 2 years ago. I asked for it so my husband could see where I go, and meet some of the men I’m in meetings with. After deliberately ignoring his concerns about my therapist with such awful results, I thought it was perfectly reasonable that he was concerned for my well being in a meeting where I am almost always the only female. It went very well, and my husband was grateful that the others understood and were willing to take the risk to allow him in. 

Evidently there are some therapists who want to learn more about our meetings. They have reasonable concerns about referring their clients who are suffering from sex addiction to our meetings. I’m sure they’re going to be nervous. I know we’re nervous about having them. We’re changing our format so that nobody qualifies. Usually we introduce ourselves by first name, and then go through our major forms of acting out along with the character defects we’re currently working on. Then we state our length of sexual sobriety. At this open meeting, we’re just going to say our names and that we’re sexaholics.

And that brings me to a weird thing. Over the past few days, I’ve been thinking that I’d rather go through the whole litany when I introduce myself. I think it’s that desire to be seen, judged, and then (hopefully) accepted. And I want to tell them my story.

I hate that needy part of me. For most of my life I’ve felt like a mistake. Like I had to work hard and be very good to earn the right to be here. That’s gotten a lot better in recovery. I’m aware of that emptiness and I know that feelings are not facts. Although I sometimes feel like a mistake, I am not. I have a right to be here because I am here. It’s that simple.

But I’m still looking outside myself for acceptance of my right to exist. I want these “normal” people to see me and hear my story and then tell me I’m a good person. I gotta work on that.

The open meeting is a good thing. There are some people in my group who will stay away because they’re afraid of being judged, but I think it’s good for the spouses and therapists to be able to see what our meetings are like. My husband was surprised that we didn’t talk about sex very much and that when we did, it was not salacious. And that’s because recovery from sex addiction isn’t about not masturbating or not having sex, it’s about living. We talk about how to live.



  1. Hello again,
    As usual, I appreciate your honesty in writing. I recently went to my first SA meeting. I went for an assignment, but had a feeling I’d be hearing some things I needed to, which was why I picked that specific group.

    My meeting had a bit of self-disclosure by others, but it was what I needed to feel safe. There’s no doubt that nothing releases the grip of being stigmatized like knowing you’re not alone. It’s one of the main reasons that I wish recovery was a little less anonymous. Lord knows mine isn’t, but then I’m not in any 12-step group, so it’s allowed.

    Thanks for being so open

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