Episode 264: Secular Sexual Sobriety

For this episode, I had a conversation with Jack J. from Bristol England. Jack is a recovered sex addict who has created a new peer support group called Secular Organizations for Sexual Sobriety (SOSS). In this interesting conversation, Jack explains how his experience with other mutual aid groups inspired him to start this new secular option.

Jack’s first encounter with a mutual aid group was with Sexaholics. This group closely resembled AA and NA, and used the Twelve Step program. One issue Jack had with this group was its harsh definition of sexual sobriety. Sexaholics defined sobriety as no sex outside of marriage, including masturbation. During his time attending these meetings, Jack observed a lot of relapse, and experienced a few himself.

After leaving Sexaholics, Jack attended meetings of Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA). This group also mirrored AA. They followed the Twelve Steps and even read from AA’s Big Book. Jack liked the way the group allowed its members to define sobriety through use of the three circles activity. This is one of the first activities undertaken upon starting in SAA, and helps members determine behaviors that would be categorized as a relapse, and behaviors that would be deemed as acceptable and not a relapse.

A couple of problems Jack had with SAA, was members identifying in meetings as Sex Addicts by introducing themselves as such before speaking. Jack doesn’t believe this is a helpful practice. He also thought the group practiced shaming when a member relapsed.

Finally, Jack tried SMART Recovery, which he liked. The SMART tools based on cognitive behavioral therapy were especially helpful, and he enjoyed the meetings. The only thing he missed was not having other sex addicts in the meeting with whom he could identify.

Over time, all of these experiences motivated Jack to create this new group, SOSS Bristol. The group is just beginning and hasn’t had many meetings, but Jack’s hopeful that others will soon join him in this effort.

Key Takeaways

  • The mutual aid group Sexaholics defined sobriety as no sex out of marriage.
  • Sex Addicts Anonymous was a 12 Step Fellowship that mirrored AA and NA.
  • The Twelve Steps proved to be a challenge to Jack’s atheistic worldview.
  • Sex Addicts Anonymous used the three circle activity to help members define their sobriety.
  • Three Circle Activity to define sexual sobriety.
  • Behaviors around sex addiction.
  • Jack’s sense of being shamed when he relapsed while in SAA.
  • A lack of secular resources for sex addicts.
  • The importance in identifying with other sex addicts.
  • Jack’s motivation to start Secular Organizations for Sexual Sobriety (SOSS).
  • The SOSS recovery program and meetings.
  • Acronym A.D.U.L.T.S. to describe the program (Accept, Decide, Understand, Learn, Take action, Support others).
  • Importance of creating literature for SOSS.
  • The challenge with starting meetings and drawback of online meetings.
  • Decision to change is a long-term commitment.
  • Believers get sober the same way as nonbelievers; they just call it “God.”
  • The importance of mentorship.
  • Stigmatizing language and practices should be avoided.
  • A unique stigma attached to sex addiction.

Memorable Quotes

What most of us are trying to do is find a balance and a sexual healthy life, so therefore you have to ask, what does that mean to you.

I had a sizable chunk of sobriety at one point, and then I relapsed, and then my sponsor sacked me. I was actually chairing a group at that time. I lost that position and put back to making tea. It felt a bit shaming, really.

I always struggled with the Higher Power thing, and I was basically told by my last sponsor “the problem is with you Jack, is that you can’t accept the concept of a Higher Power, and until you do that, you’re never going to get recovery.” And I thought, “well this is an issue.”

Maybe ten years ago, I thought I need to start my own thing up… I just knew I needed something different, but I never had enough sobriety to do it.

I came up with this idea, this acronym in the middle of the night. I came up with this thing called A.D.U.L.T.S.

We reclaimed the word adult that is widely used in the sex and porn industry, and used it as a primary tool in achieving and maintaining lasting recovery from sex addiction.

“A” is accept my addiction. “D” is decide to stop. “U” is understand my behaviors. “L” is learn to live differently. “T” is to take daily action.  “S” is support others.


Contact SOSS at sossbristol@protonmail.com
Paula Hall’s Website: https://www.paulahall.co.uk/

Many thanks to Soberlink for sponsoring this episode of Beyond Belief Sobriety. Visit https://soberlink.com/bbs for more information.