How SA Got Its Start in South America

In 2005, my AA sponsor told me: “I found the solution for you, SA has arrived in Venezuela.” He put me in contact with a member who had several copies of the White Book. I read it in one sitting, from beginning to end, and totally identified.

When the fellows from Venezuela all fell away, I had to look for a sponsor outside my country. To my surprise, there were no sober Spanish-speaking fellows in all of America. By email I met a fellow, Jose Maria, from Madrid, who was the longest sober Spanish member. He began to sponsor me by weekly phone calls. At the beginning I didn’t like it when he told me “The problem is the lust you have inside you,” but thanks to my Higher Power, little by little, I was catching on to the program. It was especially important for me to learn how to make resentment inventories, how they are related to lust, and that in every resentment, there are other character defects involved, mainly pride.

In October 2005 I started answering the inquiries from South America using the Venezuelan SA email. If the inquirers identified themselves as sexaholics and accepted our definition of sexual sobriety, I would put them in touch with a group in their country or encourage them to form a group if one did not exist near them.

I had a relapse in 2006, but thank God kept going and have stayed sober since. It has helped me greatly to be in contact with fellows. There was no way to make a free long-distance call outside the country, there was no WhatsApp, but I did not mind paying roaming fees on my cell phone and I called fellows in other parts of America, from the USA to Argentina. Sometimes it was expensive, but I remembered that a relapse always turns out to be more expensive. Many times I saved myself from relapsing by reading about the suffering of those who asked for help on the internet or by phone.

The first copy of the White Book in Spanish that arrived in Peru was sent to our recovery sister, Marjorie, in Lima in 2007. The shipment took almost two months. A member from Bogota sent us a piece of literature and we were able to pay her with some difficulty due to the exchange control in Venezuela. Through SAICO we sent literature to Ecuador and Bolivia.

We had a lot of contact with fellows from Cali and Bogota in Colombia, and with Arsenio from Mexico and Ruben from Peru. By December 2009, there were groups in Colombia, Venezuela, Peru, and Bolivia, and lone members in Argentina and Chile. In February 2010 we were part of the committee that worked on the translation project of Step into Action into Spanish. When MSN groups closed we migrated to Multiply, then to Yahoo groups. Since WhatsApp exists, we can be united and participate in several SA groups in Spanish in America.

It was very exciting to attend the First National Congress of SA Colombia, held in Bogota in June 2013, where I had a very pleasant experience sharing with my Colombian brothers. It gives me great joy to see the growth that SA has had in Co­lombia. It is a blessing from our Loving God that the literature tells us about.

Thank God many other servants ar­rived, and in 2017 the Latin American Re­gion was formed, so now there is a struc­ture to pass the message in Spanish.

I am very grateful for the SA program, which has saved my life. One day at a time, when I get up I put myself in God’s hands. I pray, I keep in touch with other companions, by any means available to me. In this fellowship is where the magic is and where the joy of living is possible, being sober in SA’s way.

Nelson, Caracas, Venezuela

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