The Tools of COSA
The tools listed here are those many of us have found helpful in our individual recoveries. Used and applied in our daily lives, these tools help us to achieve sanity and serenity, whether or not the sex addict chooses recovery.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.