LDS Porn Addict Shares About Life-Changing 90 Meetings in 90 Days

So a couple weeks ago, I finished “90 in 90.” Translation: I attended 90 meetings of Sexaholics Anonymous over a period of 90 days. Kind of an interesting things for a Mormon to do, don’t you think? As I mentioned in two previous posts (here and here), I undertook that project in order to fortify and enhance my recovery from sex and pornography addiction. And guess what! Those 90 meetings were life-changing for me.

IMG_0517The way things worked out, I attended on average three face-to-face meetings a week and made it to four phone meetings to round out my schedule. So what happened? Well, I learned an enormous amount from the other addicts in recovery and quite a bit from addicts who weren’t in recovery at all. There is a lot of experience, strength and hope in those meetings and when I went to at least a meeting a day, some of it was bound to rub off on me.

Meetings of Sexaholics Anonymous are often a mix of individuals with many years of sexual sobriety and others who have no sobriety at all. Being able to listen to both groups as well as those whose sobriety is somewhere in between is inspiring. The “old-timers” talk about what works for them and what doesn’t work. But more importantly, I think, is that by listening to them, you get to hear what recovery sounds like. And by watching them, you get to see how individuals in recovery from sex and porn addiction behave. They are quietly optimistic. They are healthy in their outlook on life. They have a natural patience and compassion for those who are still suffering that brings to mind the Savior as he healed the sick (See 3 Nephi 17:5-9).

One of the first things I noticed when I first started attending meetings of Sexaholics Anonymous a few years back what that those SAs with long-term recovery weren’t at all fixated on sex or sexual behavior. I guess it kind of surprised me. I figured that since the problem was sex and porn, that’s what everyone would be talking about. To the contrary, those in long-term recovery all recognized that at the root of addiction was actually a painful bunch of character defects that we addicts are trying to cover up and drown out with our drug of choice, lust. The further you get in recovery, the more you focus on those character defects, bringing them out into the light, asking Heavenly Father to help you change them into strengths, making amends and saying, “I’m sorry” and “I was wrong” quicker. The old-timers remind us that, in the end, overcoming compulsive sexual behavior involves way more than just stopping the compulsive sexual behavior.

But listening to the newcomers during my 90 in 90 was also invaluable to my recovery. See, most addicts don’t realize that their brains are pickled and impaired by their drug. They don’t know that lust has changed their personality, their spirit, their appearance and their behavior. They can’t see it, but recovering addicts can. When we listen to them talk, it is a mirror into ourselves as we used to be and as we could once again become if we don’t work diligently on recovery. We are reminded of how crazy we were when we first started coming to meetings. We are also reminded of how crazy we start to get when we quit working an effective recovery program.

We don’t criticize the newcomers in SA. To the contrary, we want them to feel welcome and safe. They are the most important people at the meeting. They are our reason for existing as an organization. We want them to talk about where they are in their recovery and where they’ve come from. In the LDS Church, we encourage new members to share their testimonies. It is in sharing a testimony that it grows. Same goes for SA–only substitute “recovery” for “testimony.”

After ninety meetings in ninety days, my wife and kids notice a difference in my demeanor and spirit. I’m a better husband, father and follower of Jesus Christ. How about that? Ninety meetings of Sexaholics Anonymous in ninety days has made me a better Mormon!

About Andrew+

Latter-day Saint, sex and pornography addict in recovery, dealing with depression, returned missionary, father of a bunch of kids, graduate degree, self-employed, Book of Mormon reader, writer and thinker. Working on understanding and overcoming resentment, the number one killer of addicts.

Comments

LDS Porn Addict Shares About Life-Changing 90 Meetings in 90 Days — 7 Comments

  1. Awesome. I’m 30 days into my 90 in 90 and it gets better with each day and meeting. I can honestly say that meetings are now the highlight of my day. I couldn’t say that a month ago. I was in a meeting last week hearing others share when it dawned on me that I was no longer the newcomer. That was a crazy, but encouraging, thought. For a brief moment I felt more concern about another person’s recovery than my own. Unconscious unselfishness. That was a new one for me.

    • Great to hear! And I like your idea of “unconscious unselfishness.” That’s a great way to describe one of the blessings of recovery.

  2. Congrats, Andrew. You deserve all the happiness that recovery can bring. Thanks for your efforts in our behalf.

  3. Do you think 90 in 90 is better done with the addict at home (with spouse) or somewhere else so they can concentrate on themselves? Should spouses participate by doing 90 in 90 support meetings (or joint meetings?) concurrently regardless? While everyone talks about individual recovery, and I agree we must own our personal recovery, I also think this issue is something that affects both partners and should be tackled by both as a concerted team effort with lots and lots of open, honest, respectful and mutually supportive communication. I think it is critical for people to be on the same page and foster mutually acceptable expectations. Do you think it’s counter-productive to have talks daily about the things learned? Weekly? Monthly? I think everyone’s circumstances are different but I’d like to know any opinions/recommendations on the level of teamwork vs. independent work that anyone would like to share.

    • I think those are questions that might best be directed to a professional therapist with experience treating sexual addiction in marriages. I always encourage sex addicts to begin attending Sexaholics Anonymous and spouses to begin attending S-Anon. The more meetings the better. I don’t know that your attending S-Anon meetings is going to help your spouse in his recovery, but it certainly will help you regain the sanity that has been lost by being married to an addict. I also don’t know about rigid schedules either. That seems like something that he’d discuss with his sponsor and you’d discuss with your sponsor. And then you’d decide together how to proceed once you have a better handle on what you’re dealing with.

  4. Hi Andrew,
    I recently started reading the blogs on this site and I am more knowledgable than before. Thank you for your amazing posts. I am a spouse of a sex addict and have been married for 9 years. We always had issues with our sex life and my husband kept telling me that he does not find me attractive because I am dusky. I was and still am hurt every time he blames my complexion. I knew it was not true, but did not know the reason behind it. Until last year when I caught him multiple times on the Internet chatting with others. That’s when I started reading and put two and two together. We now live seperately and are working on the issue. I had to push him to start going to the sa group meetings which he has just started this week. However, I do have some questions for you if you can help.
    1) As you said the addict needs to hit rock bottom before he can start real recovery and I completely agree but I feel my husband is not really hit rock bottom yet inspite of living away from the house. Do you think the sa meetings will be helpful to him? He did say that the first meeting was good.
    2) How do I know that he has started changing?
    3) Generally how far into the meetings does the change begin?
    4) Is it wrong to think that what he has done is not ethical? How do I get back the respect and trust for him? We do not have any children yet but I do want children. But I would not like the father of my children to be an addict. 🙁
    I would really appreciate your response.
    Thanks.

  5. FYI,a future note just in case, since I’ve come across many people who thought they were the same, the 90 meetings in 90 days by SA is NOT the same thing as the “90 day program” made by Arpsupport. org. The “90 day program” is not lds church affiliated and is a dangerous breeding ground for incorrect beliefs about addiction Recovery, since it’s rare to find a sponsor there who is ACTUALLY in long term SOBER Recovery.

    90 in 90 = good

    90 day program = not so good.