12-Step Porn & Sex Addiction Recovery Groups – What are the differences?

There is no end to the groups available for porn addicts and sex addicts. The five major groups based on the 12-Step method are SA, SAA, SLAA, SCA, and SRA. All of these sexual addiction recovery groups have adapted the famous 12 Steps to their purposes, but there are some underlying differences among them.

After some correspondence with a few volunteers from these groups, this is the best understanding I have about their distinctives…

. . . .

SA: Sexaholics Anonymous

This group is for people who feel powerless over lust. SA’s standard of sexual sobriety is total celibacy except with a marriage partner. According to the SA website, for the sexaholic, “any form of sex with one’s self or with partners other than the spouse is progressively addictive and destructive. We also see that lust is the driving force behind our sexual acting out, and true sobriety includes progressive victory over lust.”

SA was the first sexual recovery fellowship to emerge in the 1970s. It was founded by an AA member in southern California who was cheating on his wife and worked to adapt the 12 Steps for a sexual recovery setting.

. . . .

SAA: Sex Addicts Anonymous

This group is for people who feel powerless over addictive sexual behavior, focusing more on acting out sexually. The SAA website states that a sex addict realizes “we were powerless over our sexual thoughts and behaviors and that our preoccupation with sex was causing progressively severe adverse consequences for us, our families, and our friends.”

SAA was founded by therapist Patrick Carnes as a place to refer his patients after their stay at Golden Valley. Carnes drafted the original “green book” for SAA. The group tends to his philosophy that sex addiction is a behavioral disease as opposed to a moral failing. Their members define their own sexual boundaries with the guidance of their sponsors and other group members. They encourage members to discover and explore what healthy sexuality means to them.

. . . .

SCA: Sexual Compulsives Anonymous

This group is for people who feel powerless over having compulsive sex. According to the SCA website, “Our primary purpose is to stay sexually sober and to help others to achieve sexual sobriety.” Further it states, “We believe we are not meant to repress our God-given sexuality, but to learn how to express it in ways that will not make unreasonable demands on our time and energy, place us in legal jeopardy, or endanger our mental, physical or spiritual health.”

SCA was founded by homosexual men in LA and New York who want a place to share openly about their sexual behaviors. In many places, SCA attracts mostly gay men. It advertises being “inclusive of all sexual orientations, open to anyone with a desire to recover from sexual compulsion.”

. . . .

SLAA: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous

This group is for people who feel powerless over sex and love addiction. According to the SLAA website, this includes “love addiction, relationship, and sexual anorexia.” They tend to look at both the physical and emotional components of addiction.

SLAA was founded by a man in Boston whose own story reflected a considerable amount of relationship obsession. This fellowship, by and large, attracts more of those whose addictive life reflects this same pattern.

. . . .

SRA: Sexual Recovery Anonymous

This group is for people who feel powerless over sexual obsessions. For SRA “sobriety includes freedom from masturbation and from sex outside a mutually committed relationship.”

SRA was founded in New York and LA by singles who like SA’s philosophy but disagree with the idea that one needs to be married before one had sex.

. . . .

9 Steps?

Step approached to addiction recovery are common today, but the famous 12 steps are not the only model. Christian counselor Brad Hambrick has developed an extensive program using nine steps, all based on Christian principles. His video series and workbooks are being used by churches all over the nation.