Is Your Life Affected
by Compulsive Sexual Behavior?
- Are you grappling with a spouse, partner, or family member’s infidelity or compulsive sexual behavior?
- Are you a survivor of sexual abuse or sexual assault?
- Do you feel pressured into sexual behaviors that you are not comfortable with?
- Are you lying to cover up a loved one’s sexual activity?
Do you feel like no one understands what you are going through?
What brings us to COSA?
- Powerlessness over compulsive sexual behavior
- Our obsession with the sex addict
- Attempts to control
What happened next?
- Lying, covering up, explaining away
- Ignoring our inner voice telling us something was wrong
- Denial of reality or thinking if only we could somehow change
COSA offers hope
- Relief from isolation
- Safety, sanity and clarity
- Reclaiming our own truth
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.
The Serenity Prayer (long version)
God, grant me serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.
Patience for the things that take time,
Appreciation for all that I have,
And tolerance for those with different struggles.
Freedom to live beyond the limitations of my past ways,
The ability to feel your love for me and our love for each other,
And the strength to get up and try again even when I feel it is hopeless.
- We admitted we were powerless over compulsive sexual behavior — that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives.
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon COSA unity.
- For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The only requirement for COSA membership is that our lives have been affected by compulsive sexual behavior. The members may call themselves a COSA group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or COSA as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to those who still suffer. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps ourselves.
- A COSA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the COSA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every COSA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- COSA should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- COSA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- COSA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the COSA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, television, and other public media of communication. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all Program members.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Newcomer packets and other literature may be ordered at www.COSA-Recovery.org. COSA produces a newsletter called Balance, a valuable resource for recovery and news about the COSA fellowship, conferences, retreats, etc.
Gifts and promises
These are the “results” any member of COSA can expect from working the COSA Twelve-Step program. By holding on to these promises, many members have found hope and strength, as well as help to focus on their program. Reading the Promises is often helpful when we feel hopeless or like we’ll never make it through the pain and turmoil we feel. Knowing that those who have gone before us have found the peace and serenity found in the Gifts and Promises helps us to know that the program works “if we
The SERENITY PRAYER
Simple but profound appeal to a Higher Power to assist us in the process of receiving the “priceless gift of serenity.” Many people utilize this COSA tool as a method to get through difficult experiences, or the obsession about the sex addict that is so common to COSA members. By repeating the prayer, either silently or aloud, whenever we are faced with a person, situation or issue that we need to let go of, we find that we are able to let go of our need to control and/or our worries— if only for a moment.
A person who serves as a guide through the Twelve Step process; after you have been attending a meeting for a bit, you may find that there are people who have a story similar to yours, and also people who have the serenity you seek for your own life. It is your responsibility to ask another COSA member to be your sponsor; they will not come to you. A sponsor is someone who agrees to be your sponsor, can be honest with you and support you, knows your whole story, holds you accountable for working your COSA program, and helps you focus on how the Steps apply to your life. This relationship often becomes the life-line that we seek, and we can form a healthy nurturing bond with our sponsors, who share their Experience, Strength, and Hope with us in working the Steps of COSA, and realizing the Promises and Gifts that COSA recovery can bring. Those of us who serve as sponsors most often find that our own recovery is enhanced by the experience.
Communicating with other COSA members, either by phone, private email, internet messenger, or in person; asking for support when needed; corresponding with other COSA members; all can be especially important if there are no face-to-face meetings you can attend. This network is best cultivated in non-crisis times, so members often make a practice of calling or emailing their support people on a regular basis. Some groups encourage newcomers to make “practice” calls right away, in order to avoid the common problem of the “two ton phone” and continuing to isolate, if only between meetings.
Quick references to important Twelve Step program concepts, i.e.: “One Day at a Time,” “Progress, Not Perfection.” “It works if you work it.”
PRAYER AND MEDITATION
To some, prayer is talking to our Higher Power and meditation is listening to our Higher Power. Both can be difficult when we first come to the program. We may feel disconnected or even angry at our Higher Power and therefore resist or even avoid prayer. Meditation is a tool that may be difficult at first as well, as our minds are often spinning with the pain and anger we feel toward our loved one’s compulsive sexual behaviors. Through patience and practice, both tools can become trusted allies on our recovery journey.
Striving to eliminate denial, half-truths, white lies, partial truths and overt dishonesty with others and ourselves. This includes denying or lying about our feelings. Learning to be rigorously honest with ourselves and others is a journey.
This can be a very important part of recovery, helping us to investigate and examine our lives and record our thoughts, feelings and insights. Journaling can be any reflective writing and Step work, including poetry, letters (which we don’t intend to send) to our Higher Power and people we have issues with, lists and stream-of consciousness-writing, to name a few.
Participating in activities that support the COSA group or COSA as a whole. There are many different opportunities, such as: cleaning out a coffee mug; leading the meeting as the secretary or trusted servant; setting up the room or putting chairs away at the end; Sponsoring another COSA member; serving on a planning committee; welcoming newcomers; sharing at meetings. There are no professionals at our meetings— we are all equal. Working together ensures the health and well-being of our group, ourselves, and COSA as a whole.
COSA CONVENTIONS AND RETREATS
These provide COSA members with opportunities to spend more time focused on the COSA program and issues, and build a support network. Most members find conventions and retreats to be an essential part of their recovery program, and feel that missing out on an opportunity to attend would be missing out on an important part of their recovery journey.
ANONYMITY AND CONFIDENTIALITY
What is said here, stays here. That sounds so simple, and yet, it is this simple rule that helps us all to feel safe discussing the sensitive issues we face as co-sex addicts.
DEFINING OUR SOBRIETY and INNER CIRCLE BEHAVIORS
In defining our own sobriety, we make a list of those behaviors we engaged in that made us, and the situation, worse. Most COSA members report that they find that their definition of their COSA sobriety evolves over time, and includes both those behaviors we choose to no longer engage in, as well as those new behaviors we begin to embrace that are self-nurturing.
Boundaries are personal choices, and no one in COSA will decide what your boundaries need to be. You can ask a COSA friend or your sponsor about the kinds of boundaries they have set and how they discovered their own boundaries to get ideas and inspiration for discovering your own personal boundaries..
Some find that periods of celibacy can help couples increase communication, by taking the focus off being sexual and placing it on growth and true intimacy.
“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.”
Reprinted from Alcoholics Anonymous, page 83-84, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
With the Twelve suggested Steps of recovery, and the wisdom, experience, and support of the COSA group, we discover the faith and acceptance to let go of the situations we were once desperate to control, and the courage and strength to grow in matters we once avoided or denied. Gradually, the gifts multiply. As our awareness increases, so does our personal power and self-esteem. In our relationships, we learn detachment and become more fully present. In continued recovery, we live our lives in deeper joy, serenity, and fulfillment, one day at a time.
Sayings, Slogans and “Catch Phrases”
One day at a time
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
Your worth should never depend on another person’s opinion
HOW it works = Honesty, Open mindedness, and Willingness
GOD = Good Orderly Direction
Many meetings, many chances;
few meetings, few chances..
SLIP = Sobriety Lost Its Priority
HALT = don’t get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired
FEAR – Forgetting Everything is All Right
Learn to listen and listen to learn.
Progress, not perfection
You can’t think your way into a new way of living. You have to behave your way into a new way of thinking.
Not my circus, Not my monkeys!
Don’t let someone who doesn’t know your value tell you how much you’re worth!
Just for today
EGO – Edging God Out
Not my circus, Not my monkeys!
Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
GOD – Grace Over Drama
You don’t have to understand the steps to work them; you have to work them to understand them.
Misery is optional
Nothing changes if nothing changes
Time takes time
I am sick and tired of being sick and tired
Feelings are not facts
How important is it?
Don’t act out …. ask for help, call your sponsor, and go to meetings
Principles before personalities
It is possible to change without improving
It is impossible to improve without change
To honor our Seventh Tradition, “to be fully self-supporting” there are no dues or membership fees. Funds collected cover website and Pay Pal fees, and donations to the ISO. COSA Zoom Room is a 501 c 3 organization and your donation is tax deductible.
(866) 899-COSA (2672)
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