How Is Working The 12 Steps Different Than Therapy?

The American Psychology Association uses this working definition of therapy (psychotherapy):

Psychotherapy is the informed and intentional application of clinical methods and interpersonal stances derived from established psychological principles for the purpose of assisting people to modify their behaviors, cognitions, emotions, and/or other personal characteristics in directions that the participants deem desirable. (Norcross, 1990, p. 218-220 )

The aim of our program is to have a spiritual awakening. We see spirituality as an active relationship with that which each individual sees as most high in existence. Some refer to that as “God.” We will use this term often. We do so only as a matter of convenience and not as an endorsement of any belief system. We understand a spiritual awakening as simply bringing to consciousness our individual relationships with that which each of us sees as most high in existence. We do this by a simple system called “The Twelve Steps.” They are a collection of specific actions that is summarized on page 164 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous:

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find….

The methods, approaches and goals of therapy and treatment are varied and numerous. They are beyond the scope of our understanding and this web page. Nonetheless, their practitioners are human beings relying on human power and human understanding to achieve these. We are in no position to argue with those who have found happy freedom from their sexual obsession by therapy, counseling or treatment. In fact, we would like to congratulate such individuals. But we were unable to do so by the same method. The Big Book is very clear, though, about the “real alcoholic” (or in our case the “real sex addict”).

Whether such a person can quit upon a nonspiritual basis depends upon the extent to which he has already lost the power to choose whether he will drink or not. Alcoholics Anonymous Pg 34

This makes the converse also true. We have lost the power to choose whether we will begin our addictive sexual behaviors or not. The only solution we found was something greater than human power.

We do not wish to refute anyone’s ability to stop their addiction by human means. We found we needed something more than human power. We merely wish to keep the focus of our fellowship on our program. If you have recovered by therapy, perhaps a therapy based fellowship would be more suited to support you. If you recovered by attending meetings and re-socialization, then perhaps a re-socialization fellowship would be a better place for you to recover. If you find that these fellowships don’t exist, we encourage you to start one. We may refer people to you if you do. However, our meetings and our fellowship are meant only to support the program called the Twelve Steps. We are qualified to do nothing else.

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program,…. Alcoholics Anonymous pg 58

If you have tried everything you know to be free of your sexual obsessions including the afore mentioned, then we would like to offer you this thread of hope: we have found something that works for us. It might also work for you if you are at the end of your rope. Our experiences show that it did not work if we divided ourselves between programs. We encourage all who think there are other ways to recover to try those other routes before exploring this one. We each had to know there was no other escape before we could completely give ourselves to this program.