A few of the people who abused me in AA, including a sponsor who was abusive in practically every way and my ex-boyfriend who repeatedly raped me, now go to Sex Addicts Anonymous, as well as some other sexual offenders that I met in AA. Apparently, my ex-boyfriend went there after our relationship ended, but, I didn’t know about this until about 4 or 5 years later when he took me aside and told me about it at an AA meeting. I started to talk to him at meetings again because I was interested in how that played into our relationship. But, he started telling me things like the domestic violence in our relationship was due to a sex addiction. And while the definition of sex addicts does include someone who might be a rapist or rape as part of their addiction (I’ve looked into it), it did not explain the psychological, emotional, and physical abuse that occurred in our relationship. So, in my opinion, all this ex was doing was scapegoating his behaviors onto a sexual addiction that definitely did not account for all of his abusive behaviors. It felt to me like he was continuing to just not take responsibility for what he had done, even though he admits that it was domestic violence.
The other thing that he did was try to talk me into believing that I, too, was somehow a sex addict once I started working through childhood sexual abuse. I was very vulnerable at the time, and I think that all he was doing was trying to zero in on me by attempting to get me to go to SA with him. But, I’m not a sex addict, and I knew it, so I just dismissed the whole thing.
One of our other mutual friends who also went to SA tried to jump on this bandwagon to try to get me to go there. Of course, I did not, and was really offended by this. This guy went so far to try to convince me that I had abused my cats and even has asked me to be my “sponsor” after I left AA, and to go out to coffee with him and stuff like that.
And this also happened when I started to become disillusioned with AA. It’s like, some people zeroes in on me and tried to convince me to go to other 12 step programs rather than really jump into counseling and other support groups, which is what I needed. A couple of people recommended Al-Anon, ACA, etc., to try to help find me a group and help me stay “plugged in” to 12 step fellowships. So I tried Al-Anon and ACA and was triggered in them just like AA.
A number of people in the program (and interestingly enough, most were from SA too) also discouraged me from trying a local support group for survivors of sexual assault, claiming that it might throw me into “victim behavior”. So, even though I wanted to go to one of these and it was recommended by my counselor, I did not.
When I look back at this situation, it feels really creepy to me how these people tried to get me to go to SA when I started to work through sexual abuse. I also wonder if these sex offenders really convince themselves that their victims must somehow be responsible as well for the rape. At least I felt like that was what these men and women, particularly my ex, were insinuating when they tried to get me to believe that I was a sex addict. I felt like it was just more ongoing blame and shame and emotional abuse from him and his friends.
Anyways, these are just more reasons for me to avoid 12 step groups all together. There are some really unhealthy and unsafe people there. I’m glad that today I am strong enough to not be led back to AA or any other 12 step organization.
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