I try to stay objective about the comments and e-mails I receive, but alas, I am only human. And, you know what? I’m glad. I’m glad that I am still filled with passion and emotion. I’m glad that I can love all of you enough to just fly off in a fury over something one of you has written about your Sexually Addicted spouses or partners.

As with most emotional outbursts the little things add up. I try to understand that everyone here is in different places, as are their spouses. I try to send good energy to everyone and hope that everyone here can find peace. But I hear it over and over about how these men use their 12 step groups as a shield for their behavior and as a way to keep their secrets. I got a private e-mail today that just made me furious! This woman was belittled by her husband for wanting to know about his 12 step meetings.

I just have such anger over the way a lot of the 12 step groups are run. These meetings are only as good as their members, and, unfortunately, many of the members simply use the meetings as a cover for their acting out. As long as they tell their wives and partners that they are ‘going to my meetings every week’ and ‘you need to let me work my program myself ‘ (hear–stay out of MY business) then the ‘little woman’ has nothing to complain about. Right? It’s just such an issue of condescension, deceit and control it makes me want to puke!

The original base for the 12 step program was started by a conservative, religious zealot named Bill Wilson who, among other things, had a severe drinking problem. Oddly enough, his 12 step program was not responsible for his sobriety–it was an early 20th century cure involving large doses of the drug Belladonna that made him turn his back on alcohol. This  Belladonna Cure, also called the ‘puke and purge’ cure would be enough to make anyone stop drinking.

Bill Wilson, deity of the 12 steps, lived a life of hypocritical irresolute self-indulgence, preaching “spirituality”, “absolute purity”, “rigorous honesty”, and self-sacrifice to others while indulging in all of the pleasures of the flesh himself — with the sole exception that he did finally quit drinking alcohol after it nearly killed him. (The old ‘switch addictions’ story)

Bill Wilson cheated on his wife Lois with many different women, both before and after his sobriety. He even cheated on her while she worked in a department store to support him. “I’m going to a meeting” was often a double-entendre when Bill Wilson said it. Bill actually invented the old A.A. tradition of  ‘Thirteenth Stepping’ the pretty women who come to A.A. meetings seeking help for alcoholism. (First you teach them the Twelve Steps, and then you take them to the bedroom and teach them the Thirteenth Step….).

Sound familiar?

Even worse, Bill Wilson’s treatment of his wife Lois can only be described as “cold, cruel, vindictive, and heartless”. But, Bill, obviously also a Sex Addict, went on to form his infamous 12 step program that now serves as a model for addiction recovery.

The first step of any 12 step program is “Admission of Powerlessness” That is really just a veiled excuse to continue such behavior: ‘I can’t quit because I’m powerless over my sexual urges. So I guess I’m doomed; I’ll just have to keep on enjoying all of the cute young babes because I don’t have any control over the situation.’

Honestly, many, many men who have been in my husband’s 12 step meetings say almost that exact same thing. They admit that they ‘expect’ to act out. It’s like…’Oh well, I just can’t control myself and everyone else here understands because we all admit we are powerless in our chant of the 12 Steps at every meeting.’ Many of these men have been coming to meetings for decades and still continue to act out.

Any man who comes home and tells you that you have no right to ‘interfere’ with his recovery, that you have no right to hear what goes on at the meetings, what he shares with his sponsor or even who his sponsor is, or that you are being a co-addict if you won’t allow him to ‘work’ his own recovery needs to be flogged! That’s not recovery, that’s not helping make amends to you for what he has done and that’s not good for rebuilding your relationship. All it does is allow him to continue with his secrets and his deception via Bill’s good ol’ boys club philosophy.

12 step meetings do have their place in most Sex Addict’s recovery. Larry still attends, but does not in any way credit his recovery to them. 12 steps, at their best, provide structure, spiritual guidance and a safe place to share emotions that have long been buried, but, at their worst, they are nothing more than another rationalization for bad behavior and keeping secrets.

It’s up to us, the spouses and partners, to set  boundaries and expectations for anyone who wants a place in our lives.

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