Dear ESSAY

Mourning John A. of Baltimore

Long-time SA members were saddened to learn of the passing on July 12, 2018, of John A., an influential member of SA in the early years of the Fellowship. John sponsored many SA members in Baltimore Maryland from the mid-1980s to the 2000s. A lawyer by profession, John stressed the importance for recovering sexaholics to live by spiritual principles. John was generous with his time and talents and focused on the power of humility.

John got sexually sober after reading an early copy of our book Sexaholics Anonymous, though he often recalled how the book lay unread for a year. Then known as the SA Manual, the book had a life-altering effect on John and inspired him to offer suggestions for improvements to Roy K. John’s suggestions put him on the SA committee, which in 1989 edited the final version of the “White Book.” He argued for deleting psychological terminology and religious language from the SA Manual, changes that were accepted by Roy K. John also contributed to editing Recovery Continues and Discovering the Principles, and played a leading role in editing entries submitted to Member Stories 1989.

John was an SA member of the Deaton Center meeting in Baltimore, which became a cornerstone of the SA Fellowship in the Baltimore-Washington area. Members attending the Deaton meeting supported SA meetings in Washington DC and Northern Virginia. He was an active supporter of the annual Baltimore-Washington Marathon, one of the oldest regional SA get togethers. He was a long-time member of AA and Al-Anon.

Outside of SA, John talked openly about his struggles with his sexual identity. Under the direction of a therapist, John transitioned to living as a woman and for the last eleven years of her life was known as Jennie A. In the year prior to her death at age 87, Jennie told an interviewer she had 32 years of AA sobriety.

During his time with SA, John’s contribution to the development and growth of the SA Fellowship and program of recovery was immeasurable. John’s passing is mourned by all who knew him personally. His contribution to the SA Fellowship, in the words of the Preface to the White Book, “will continue to be blessed in the recovery of many from sexaholism.”

Lawrence M., Virginia, USA

Charlie G. and Steps to Recovery

Charlie G.’s sobriety date was Nov. 12, 1989. He passed away in Canada on May 21, 2019, 6 months shy of 30 years sober. By working the Steps with Charlie G.’s support and guidance, I came to see my powerlessness in pretty much everything including death. I learned to say, “God, please help me understand and accept death as a vital part of life.” Charlie was friendly with everyone and did not bad mouth anyone. He encouraged me to share my recovery, ever keeping in mind anonymity. He showed me how to reach out. He was always there with a quiet word of support and encouragement. I thank you, Charlie.

Step 2 reminds me that accepting Charlie’s passing is a road back to sanity and serenity. Accepting, with joy, the love of life and everything in it, the good and seemingly not so good, are necessary for my own recovery. Charlie was a master at quietly showing me how to do and be just what God wants me to do and be. I am learning to accept that my Higher Power does everything perfectly, including removing Charlie’s suffering and taking him to a better place.

In Step 3, I decide to give my self and my will to the God of my understanding. That same Power stuck with Charlie all through his life to the very end. This same Power makes my grieving more bearable, one day, one hour, one moment at a time.

I resented Charlie because he died. I resented God for taking Charlie away from me. I forgot that God does not make mistakes. In working Step 4, I saw that I was selfish because I wanted Charlie to stay so I wouldn’t feel bad about my loss.

I was also afraid of being alone, of losing my sobriety, of not being able to stay in recovery. I feared my Millvale group, that Charlie founded, might not recover from his loss. Then I remembered that my Higher Power is with me, “I am never alone.” I am reminded that death, even of someone so close and dear, is not a reason for acting out. Charlie would say, “You better write a 4th Step on that and give it to me in the morning.” Staying in recovery and working this program are the only options. The Millvale Group will recover and be good for another thirty years. Lots of us can and instead step up to help God fill the void left by Charlie’s passing. Now I say, “God grant me the serenity and the strength to do my part.”

RIP Charlie,

Jack T., Prince Edward Island, Canada

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