Welcome to another Grateful Heart Monday, a day for gratitude, which for today is for the Monday night SLAA meeting that one of my sponsees and I started four years ago now and continues to be strongly supported and for my ongoing recovery in this 12 Step program.
SLAA is a 12 Step program for sex and love addiction for those who are unaware of what the acronym stands for. It’s a program that originated back in 1976 in Boston, Massachusetts. The founder of SLAA was a guy by the name of Rich, who was a recovering alcoholic that struggled with infidelity issues and romantic obsessions. My story is somewhat similar to his in that I had many years of sobriety with alcohol and drugs and a good place in recovery with it all but continued to deal with issues surrounding love addictions with unhealthy individuals, mostly married or unavailable. I also regularly used the Internet for sexual arousal, mostly to cope with all the loneliness I always felt late at night. When I discovered SLAA in 2011, I really connected with the program and began my first true year of sobriety on April 23rd, 2012. Unfortunately, when I moved to Toledo in 2014, there weren’t any SLAA meetings within an hour drive, so I went to an SAA (Sex Addicts Anonymous) meeting here in the area instead. While it helped, it didn’t feel quite right given the main part of my addiction was always romantic obsession. Thankfully, when one of my SAA sponsees asked me if I’d like to start an SLAA meeting in the area with her instead of attending SAA, I was ecstatic and said absolutely! We officially began SLAA Toledo in April of 2017 and have been going strong with it ever since. We regularly meet now on Monday nights from 7pm to 8pm here in Toledo and are presently doing a hybrid meeting where some of the attendee’s video in, while the rest are in a conference room with them on a screen overhead.
It’s truly been a blessing having an SLAA meeting here in Toledo all these years. Not only has it led to me sponsoring a number of individuals through the SLAA program, it’s also become a safe home for others who too once felt just like me, that all the other 12 Step recovery meetings just didn’t fit for them for what they were dealing with in the addiction realm.
My SLAA home group always uplifts me each week. Plenty of times there I’ve witnessed a number of attendees truly opening up and shedding tears, which I really believe says something about how healthy our meeting is. I think when people truly feel safe in a 12 Step meeting, it’s natural for people to open up and sharing from the heart where tears get shed.
Nevertheless, I’m thankful to have recently celebrated nine years of sobriety from my old sex and love addiction behaviors. I’ve been monogamous with my partner these past nine years, have steered clear of all unhealthy old sexual behaviors on the Internet, and haven’t found myself getting entangled into any romantic obsessions either. Much of this is owed to my SLAA home group, where I continue to find a safe haven to open up about a part of my addiction life that once almost destroyed me.
I’m thankful for SLAA, for my SLAA home group, and for my nine years of recovery. I’m a better person today because of it all. Thank You God.
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson