supportgroupWell, I went to my first COSA meeting on Monday. It’s been over five years since I found out about my husband’s sex addiction, I’ve had three different counselors, but have never gone to a COSA meeting. For those of you who aren’t familiar with COSA, it is an organization for ‘Codependents of Sex Addicts’ and is based on the 12 step model.

Now, I could go on and on about my objections and issues with 12 step philosophies– that will be covered in the book and I also gave some thoughts in a previous post, but I will say that my experience with the women in the COSA meeting was very pleasant. They were warm, open, friendly and even fun at times. I expected that. When women get together they bond and share and connect because that’s just who we are and that’s what we do. It was very nice.

But, I still have major objections to the implication that a spouse or partner of a sex addict needs to accept the tenants of the 12 steps. You read them and tell me what you think. Are we sick? Do we need to ‘recover’ from our faulty ways? Do we need a god to remove our defects of character? Do we need to make amends? And, are we not strong enough to tackle our issues without totally giving those decisions over to some higher power? Are those who do not believe in a higher power excluded from recovery?

Horseshit I say!

There has got to be a better way. Yes, women supporting other women who have gone through or are going through a crisis is a good thing, making them somehow feel incapable, flawed or even indirectly responsible for their spouse’s bad behaviors is not good.

The 12 Steps of COSA

  1. We admitted we were powerless over compulsive sexual behavior — that our lives had become unmanageable. (the literature from the group I attended changed this first step to: ‘We admitted we were powerless over our sexual codependency–that our lives had become unmanageable.)
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.

Whatever you are, be a good one. ~ Abraham Lincoln