picasso-the_dream-surrelism1Just imagine…A group meeting where kindred souls come together; a place of sharing and empowerment, discussions and suggestions; each strengthening and supporting without dogma, authoritarianism or judgment.

A place to ask for and give advice. A place to find comfort and direction. A place where emotions can be expressed without fear of criticism.

A place where the only rules are to maintain kindness toward each other. A place where secrecy is unnecessary and shame does not exist because we know we have nothing to be ashamed of.

A place where outside speakers and professionals are invited to share their expertise, a place where information about the group is distributed and advertised openly, removing the shroud of secrecy and shame that surrounds what is a serious relational problem that a lot of us share.

That is my dream.

A life without dreams is like a garden without flowers. ~ Author Unknown ~

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15 Responses

  1. I finally broke down and participated in a phone session of S-Anon. What did I find? The 12-step approach that requires me to “admit” that I was a willing party to my husband spending his life and over $200,000 on strippers and prostitutes. Yeah, right. I was in there cheering as he stole our children’s college tuition and spent it on drinks and gifts for strippers. VIP sessions where he performed oral sex in a public place or had oral sex performed on him and on nights he hit the jackpot, intercouse in the club!!! Yeah, right I knew about that. Of course I knew this 50 year old was trying desparately to make himself relevant to 20 year olds. Of course I knew he left his executive job early every Friday to go to strip clubs. Right. Who wouldn’t know that?

    As I told my therapist, ” I can’t go to a support group that meets in a church because I would surely cuss them bitches out, if they tried to tell me I was “co-anything” to that behavior. I have daughters and you think I’m “co-something ” to socially repressed old men paying vulnerable young women to degrade themselves? Really? I”m “co” that?

    I’ll tell you what I am “co” I AM “co-f’ing mad”

  2. Yes, “an honest wife”,
    It’s ridiculous and you are right to reject the horseshit of the wive’s 12 step program.

    I believe the landscape of this arena is beginning to change because we are becoming more clear about not accepting further abuse for the SA recovery program.

    I call it “the second location”. By that I refer to the personal safety rules discussed for women, in particular—if you are kidnapped or held against your will, you must do everything you can to not let the criminal take you to “the second location”. Because there, you will be powerless and likely assaulted or killed. For me, the 12 step for wives program is “the second location”. If you let them take you there, you may never get out alive, and you will almost certainly be subjected to further abuse and injury.

    I see it as a continuation of the abuse we have already taken, and it’s purpose is to turn the victim role into the servicing of the SA’s so-called recovery. It is the very clearest example of co-dependency that there is.

    and don’t get me started on “the SA’s so-called recovery”.


  3. Honest Wife and Diane,

    I couldn’t have put it better.
    Just thnking about the “second location” is giving me the creeps.
    I am realising how much I have backslid since my counsellor started pushing co-dependance on me a month ago, and since I started SANON around the same time.
    I was starting to regain my strength, only to have it pulled out from under me.
    Tommorrow is my final session with counsellor, I can’t wait!!!! Time to take back my power!

  4. Starry,
    I think you hit the nail on the head. Cosa and co-dependency did that to me just as well. Made me feel that I had no power, that I caused this, that i was to blame, that i was not allowed to make any major changes for one year, that there was something wrong with me that I chose this relationship, that the reason i feel so miserable is because the addict is in recovery and I am stuck (that one gets me the worst because they…(cosa) is telling me I am stuck). I did not want to do anything but soar. And the other thing they seem to imply is that if you leave you are bailing and not willing to work on your own issues, and if you stay you are subjecting yourself to a harmfull situation over and over which is not healthy (thus the codependency, addicted to the addiction). Its Nuts. It’s a no win situation.

  5. Flora,
    I said the same thing to someone else last night. There’s no way you can win! If you stay, you are enabling and co-dependant, if you leave your not looking at yourself?? What the..???
    Let em have thier theories and phsyco-babble.

    1. Starry,

      You are so right! I put in another post, I went in trying to help to repair a relationship, and looking for help as to how I can be in a partnership, and then I’m pretty much told to build a wall between my husband and myself, and not let his actions affect me. So marriage is supposed to be nothing more than room mates? How can you be “no longer two, but one”, and then you’re supposed to do that, and yet, not affect each other???

      I feel like after going through this nightmare, something has changed who I am, and I don’t know if it’s MADE me CO something, or what has happened. All I know, is when all this nightmare kept going, I knew the lies he threw at me, and there were so many things that didn’t add up, even though I could never get the proof I needed.

      Now all my self confidence is gone, I feel like a failure, like I did everything wrong, and where I once knew my husband’s anger was bc I wouldn’t buy anymore of his lies, now I feel like maybe it was all my fault, bc I wouldn’t “leave him alone”. No one ever validated my suspicions (but we’re made to feel bad if we ignored tiny red flags early in our relationship, and not knowing what they meant!), it was all about “trusting him”. Does it sound accurate to say you feel like your mind is torn in two?

      Where I was once full of self confidence, I now second guess myself about everything, where I once refused to accept responsibility for his issues, I now feel completely responsible, where I once saw he didn’t have a clue what it meant to be a husband, bc no one had ever shown him, I now feel like I was the one who drove him to that, and I can’t help but feel it’s in part to the wonderful CO ADDICT model.

      1. Hi My reward is coming,
        That is totally it. Just how you describe it. At the beginning when we first started going to therapy my options were to stay and accept it, work through my issues or leave. The books by carnes and others state that you should stay for one year…and start cosa and therapy. I tried COSA and i tried to do therapy as if I was a co-dependent. And it just did not work. I felt to accept this life to sit her and pretend as if nothing happened, to just let him run rampant with his addiction and to sit here with a pretty smile while stuff is happening under my nose in a relationship that is not longer what i wanted…is encouraging of co-dependency. Telling me I should do those things, despite every fiber in body saying no way, is co-dependent.

        So I tried it for a few months and it did nothing but bring me down. It caused more turmoil in me, and I appeared to be the only that was suffering, because is was not honoring myself, but doing what they the authros and therpists told me to do. It was the worst phase in my entire life and i never wish to go back there again.

        I have since chosen to seperate and divorce my spouse. I have decided this life is not for me and that i was never going to make a relationship workw with someone who lied so freely and lied to much.

        Love to you,

  6. Because I am “this close” to having my own Ph.D., I have no problem telling my therapist that her social science approach is lacking. Trust me, when real researchers like Barbara Steffens start producing articles, old what’s his face (Carnes) is going to be discredited and his theories relegated to the theoretical trash pile.

  7. Co-this. I didn’t know what he was doing. I didn’t approve of it. I didn’t finance it. I didn’t tolerate it. I was not willfully blind to his activities. He actively hid it from me. I knew there were terrible problems in the marriage and I hauled him to marriage counseling for two sets of sessions. He sneered at me. The therapists tried to change his behavior and he stopped going.

    I’m not co-anything. I’m one of his victims and I’m pissed.

  8. I share your dream – somewhere safe in the UK in every town where women who are traumatised can share their trauma and regain their own self-respect.

    I will not go anywhere near a COSA group – I share all your opinions…

    Maybe in some respects I did “enable” – I believed him.
    I loved him… but he lied and lied and lied. Why would the man who proclaims his love so passionately ever lie to me, even though everyone of my instincts was saying otherwise?

    But I am not codependent. I AM a woman who tried to make sense of a nonsense, abusive situation. I hope to regain myself at some point! I’d like to see somewhere soon we can make sense of this together safely without a 12 step!

    Could we please set up a set of material to share and create our own – safe, healthy and empowered way of dealing with it? Happy to facilitate getting it over here!

    1. Hi Jo, I too share this dream, i went to a COSA meeting in the dark days when i was very low i didn’t know a thing about addiction was recomended to COSA by my work helpline. They spoke as far as i was concerned in another language refered to their SO behaviour as ”acting out” did their men do the things mine did?? we could not cross talk so i couln’t ask and they left as soon as the meeting was over telling me to come back, i did the next week was my birthday i told them this in my ”share” after bieng told to say ”i’m Fay Codependant to a sex addict”{ what a cheek!] and some one said i am going to break the rules and say Happy Birthday Fay. I thought what kind of place is this? but because i was so low and vunerable i believed them when they told me to keep coming it worked well it DIDN’T for me and i left. This is a few years ago,now i am now strong and happy but would love to come to a group if you are near London if you would like to email me you are welcome

      1. Hi JoAnn thanks for your reply. My story started when i met my husband and he appeared to have loads of porn but told me it was for Friday nights after drinks with his flat mates. I believed him and after we married i was worried with it all in our house because we were trying to start a family[and i never saw him watch it] so i told him i was throwing it out. After our daughter was born he never touched me again. I would get very upset and lonely but when ever i brought up the subject he would walk away.To cut a story short this went on for years i felt i had to stay for my daughters sake. One day i found a stash of videos again had a screaming match smashed them and thought thats solved that !! Time passed and when my daughter was about 15 i went into his room to snoop and found loads of porn dvds[sorry i should have said he moved out of our room telling me i snored talked and did God knows what in my sleep!]well this freaked me out and i called a help line who adviced me to go to COSA which in itself was a nightmare for me but at this time i saw some info on a free treatment centre in the uk called The Living Room in Stevenage where i received wonderful help and when i left they recomended that i went to Alanon although there was no alcohol in my life they said addiction is all the same and i have to say the people were wonderful at my local group and i didn’t have to say i was co this or that only hello i’m Fay. I went for about a year and then decided my time was better spent at the theatre or something with fun in it! It was very helpful but too much of my time had been stolen to sex addiction life is so short and i had a lot of making up to do. Ladies what can i say we have to look after ourselves i swear there is no pain like living with SA i send you all my love please if you can be like me and try to always have something nice to look forward to you are worth it. Once again love to you all and JoAnn thank you for this site

  9. I am also hugely offended by the label co-addict and any model that suggests that I should in any way take responsibility for his choices, thought patterns, behaviour or the like. There is only one person who can do that and it certainly isn’t me. To place me in the role of co-conspirator in putting me through one of the worst years of my life, exposing me to who knows what STI’s, inviting randoms into my space in the bed or gifting them time that should have belonged to me is a disgrace. I started a companion course which basically told me I should try harder and look prettier and make an effort and that would help fix things. Oh really??? Brushing my hair and wearing a pretty dress has the power to fix faulty thought patterns and emotional wrongness?? How forward thinking and enlightening. i feel immensely sorry for anyone who buys that crap! This garbage about co-addict and taking our share of the responsibility is re-victimizing the victim and no different than saying a rape survivor asked for it because she wore the wrong clothes. I am more than willing to take responsibility for the things I have done in response. I am more than willing to admit I made some fairly dodgy choices as I checked and monitored. But as for my responsibility in the decisions made by a highly intelligent man, whilst not in my presence and not consulting with me. I don’t think so.

  10. JoAnn,
    Please – please start one of these groups in Denver. It is so needed!! I’m not trying to be funny, or simply supportive (although I am being supportive), I genuinely mean it.

    If you consider it, please get in touch and let me know how I can help.

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