Fun in recovery was the last thing on my mind when I first stepped into the rooms. I was at rock bottom and thought my life would never see joy again, much less fun again. I had been found out and subsequently destroyed my marriage and the relationships with my teenage children. I never thought that fast forward 6 years I would rediscover joy in my life and have fun in my recovery. By applying the principles of this program in all my affairs, I have been able to reestablish joy and fun in all aspects of my life including with my wife, my family and the fellowship of Sexaholics Anonymous.
When I first started my recovery journey, I was a member of another ‘S’ fellowship. It was a very small group, meetings and sponsorship were taken very seriously and there was very little opportunity for connection outside of meetings. My sponsor helped me to identify that my social life was enabling my addiction. My early boundaries in recovery were to remove myself from social media and to remove myself from the social scenes and friendships that also enabled my addiction. I was, and still am, very grateful to my sponsor for helping me to set these early boundaries that I still follow today.
Although these boundaries were in place, and I had commenced my new way of life, I felt as though I was lacking connection within the group. I started to feel apart from instead of a part of, as the group offered very little in the way of fellowship. I had trouble connecting with other members which created a disconnect, and eventually I left the fellowship.
I found myself in the rooms of a Sexaholics Anonymous meeting in September 2019. My first SA meeting in Brisbane was on a Thursday night; there was a lot of excitement in the meeting around an SA Queensland 3-day conference that was scheduled for that coming weekend. I immediately noticed the element of connection in the meeting that I felt I was lacking. By the end of the meeting everyone asked for my phone number and wanted to connect with me, which was an alien concept to me as in my previous fellowship the only number I had in my phone was my sponsors. Another important thing happened by the end of the meeting when the Secretary invited me to attend the Conference on the Sunshine Coast. I had never been to a conference and was a little nervous, but I committed to attend on the Saturday. This came to be one of my most memorable and joyous experiences in my time with SA. The focus of fun, laughter and connection was amazing, I made many new friends that I still have to this day.
The SA White Book encourages members to attend get-togethers and conferences by stating “These have proven to be unforgettable experiences. Here we meet and enjoy friends old and new. We rediscover laughter and have fun together. Our recovery is validated and enhanced in new and stronger ways” (SA p.182). Over the past 3 years I have attended four in-person SA Conferences in Australia and many online conferences around the world. Each of these experiences has provided connection and joy and always an element of laughter and fun. They have encouraged me to embrace many different service roles in the fellowship including conference organising committees.
One of the greatest joys I have experienced over the past 2 years was having the opportunity and privilege of serving on the SA Queensland Conference Committee. We have enjoyed high quality in-person conferences in Queensland that have focused on the elements of recovery, connection, fun and laughter.
I encourage other members to embrace the opportunity of serving on conference committees and attending fellowship get-togethers and conferences as a great way to connect with other members, to validate and strengthen our own recovery and the recovery of others. The SA White Book states it perfectly “Involvement made us feel we were a part of, quite a difference from that empty, lifeless feeling of being apart from” (SA p.65).
Mat T., Brisbane, Australia