4. ISA Meetings

Some of us have experienced the avoidance of sex as addictive, in some cases choosing to identify as “sexual anorexics”…afraid of sex because of its association in our minds with our addiction or with past sexual trauma, or because of a fear of intimacy and vulnerability. Trying to control our sexuality in this way is just another symptom of our disease. The solution lies in turning our will and lives over to the care of our Higher Power.

— Sex Addicts Anonymous, p. 72

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4.1    Why attend intimacy avoidance meetings?

Attending intimacy-focused SAA meetings gave us opportunities to hear about the solution to intimacy avoidance as found in the Twelve Steps of SAA. Listening to what others shared with the intent to identify with their feelings helped us gain understanding about our own patterns and issues.

Some of us have worked the Twelve Steps of SAA in order to stop acting out sexually, and are now examining the role of intimacy avoidance in our lives.  Others have been drawn to this fellowship specifically because of the ISA-focused meetings.  Still others of us have a spouse or partner whom we suspect struggles with intimacy issues and we wanted to learn more by attending the open ISA meetings.

4.2    What are intimacy and sexual avoidance-focused SAA meetings like?

Intimacy-focused meetings generally apply spiritual principles of recovery to topics such as self-nurture, mindfulness, dealing with uncomfortable emotions, developing a relationship with a loving Higher Power, learning to trust, etc. Most intimacy-focused meetings have guidelines to keep the meeting safe, such as not commenting on another person’s share or giving advice. Some Intimacy and Sexual Avoidance meetings are open to spouses, mental health care students or professionals, friends, etc., while others are just for those that identify as sex addicts and/or intimacy avoidants. 

There is often a period of fellowship after the meetings when newcomers may ask questions or members can exchange contact information.  Experience, strength, and hope may be offered to individuals, or polite conversation and sharing can occur.  Attending the same meeting regularly and staying for fellowship helped many of us get to know each other and feel included in the group.  The camaraderie that develops made these meetings feel welcoming and supportive for a number of us.

Individuals from many different countries participate in the ISA-focused telemeetings and video conference meetings, ranging from SAA members who have long-term sobriety to newcomers.

4.3    What options are there for intimacy-focused meetings of SAA?

Most of SAA’s intimacy-focused groups are in English, and there are few in-person meetings that focus strictly on intimacy avoidance.  (If there is not one in your area, consider starting a meeting).  Link to group guide

However, there are several intimacy and sexual avoidance-focused telephone meetings and video conference meetings.  The long-distance telemeetings provide a safe place to learn about intimacy issues, to practice being vulnerable and appropriately transparent, and to begin emerging from isolation into fellowship.

Although there are single-gender meetings, many of us have found the ISA mixed-gender meetings to be very beneficial to our recovery.  Learning to view ourselves and others as human beings and not as objects helps us interact with each other in a healthier way than we did in active addiction. 

Intimacy and Sexual Avoidance telemeetings use the same phone number and passcode. Find meeting info here. Members outside the United States can call in with local numbers or use a Voice Over Internet Protocol.  For specific assistance, please email the Intimacy and Sexual Avoidance Awareness Committee at avoidance@saa-recovery.org.

4.4    Where can I find updated meeting information?

For current information about the days and times of meetings, and meeting ID’s for the video meetings, click here (link to FAQ 12.4).

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