VOIP Meetings as a Loner in Northern Africa

When I hit my bottom on April 16, 2014, I didn’t know if my wife would stay with me after I disclosed to her my double life between my family and my secret lust garden. I was not only mentally and spiritually sick but also physically ill because of acting-in. I suffered from terrible pain. I knew that I had no other choice but to come back to SA and to restart Step work.

I restarted recovery work by going to meetings, getting a sponsor, and working the Steps. I had the chance to have a face to face meeting not too far away. I do remember when I came back to my first SA meeting after many years, I cried listening to the readings. “What is a Sexaholic,” “The Problem,” “The Solution,” the shares, I really felt home realizing what I missed: spiritual union with fellows in recovery.

There was a lot of long-term sobriety and honesty, and the shares gave me strength and hope for my own recovery and sobriety. We had post-meeting activities and met during the weekends to share activities together. It worked for me, going to the meetings and feeling at home with fellows when reading, sharing, praying, and doing service. With my Higher Power’s help I stayed sober and I progressed in recovery, one day at a time.

One year later, I had to move to Northern Africa where I have been living and working for the past six years. Here in Northern Africa all issues around sex and lust are strongly taboo and don’t appear in public. Parental and conjugal violence against girls and women is very common. The same with sexual harassment. Homosexuality is considered a crime and punished by law with prison. People accused of being homosexual do not have their human rights guaranteed and risk cruel treatment.

I didn’t know how to manage working the Steps because there are no 12 Steps meetings here. I found an SA VOIP meeting on Skype and I engaged with the fellows to show up regularly and to do service. Step work and reaching out to my sponsor was also via Skype. My recovery work was digitized. And it worked, with my Higher Power’s help I could stay sober, not perfect, but progress in recovery, one day at a time, learning more and more about my shortcomings and my spiritual hunger.

Isn’t this a miracle? Originally the Internet was an instrument of my slave master, lust, when acting out with lusty images and videos. Now it became an important medium for my recovery, it became a bridge to meetings, the fellows, or to my sponsor.

VOIP meetings are not the same as face to face meetings. But for me they work, we share strength and hope, we feel honesty and spiritual or emotional intimacy. And I appreciated the digitized SA Buddy List which served as a communication platform to reach out. No more self-cheating when triggered in the night by saying to myself, “it’s too late for outreach, I won’t disturb fellows at night.” With the help of these technologies I can reach out any time because there will be a fellow still awake or already awake around the globe.

With current pandemic conditions all over the world the fellowship had to switch over to virtual meetings and conventions. What is your experience during this time? Did it work for you? For me it did. Hamdoulilah!

Keep coming back, it works if you work it, even virtually. You are worth it.

Tobias S., Northern Africa

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