Tradition 10 – Oprah, Sally, Recovery and Me

Tradition Ten – Oprah, Sally, Recovery and Me

SCA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the SCA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. 

Oprah, Sally, Recovery & Me by Jeff Z (NY)

I don't know about you, but I have to admit that TV talk shows are pretty high on my list of guilty pleasures (you know, those things we really enjoy, like "Hostess" cupcakes, but don't readily admit to anyone). I'm not so much into the wild (staged) brawls of the Jerry Springer show, but on a sick-day from work or on a rainy, do-nothing afternoon, I can be endlessly distracted from my life by the crazy situations that people get themselves into. Trashy baby-swap dramas, sperm-donor mix-ups, and my particular favorite, the paternity test expose, all add up to a great way for me to escape from my life (admittedly, not the best of places for me to go to as an addict). Controversy, especially someone else's, seems to have a way of providing that escape, at least for me.

So when I read Tradition 10 – Our fellowship has no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never to be drawn into public controversy – I first thought to myself, "Well, now that's why no one from SCA has ever been on a "My Sex-Crazed Teen" episode of Sally Jesse." And then I got really discouraged, realizing that I may never get to live out my fantasy of being the SCA expert on "Oprah", appearing in shadow, voice disguised to sound like something out of a sci-fi epic, commenting on some future Presidential peccadillo. I had once thought of this as the ultimate service role, helping the millions in my TV family know what a sex addict is and where to get help. Once again, in the course of this adventure called recovery, I was being asked to "think different".

Then I thought about the Tradition a little more and began to see its simple wisdom. I'm embarrassed to admit how long it has taken me to appreciate that SCA is a spiritual program. It isn't group therapy, it isn't a dating service or a social club. For me, it's a safe haven where I can go and, with minimal distraction, share my feelings about my particular problem, connect with other people in spirit and, God willing, begin to build an identity outside of my addictive behavior. This "clearing away the wreckage of my past" has taken a phenomenal amount of energy and focus along with levels of vulnerability and courage that I didn't even know I had. I'm grateful that someone thought ahead: I would never be able to even think about my recovery if I had to constantly weigh in as part of a group with my opinion on world issues, let alone share my thoughts about "trailer-trash trannies" or women bearing their own grandchildren. If I can't keep the focus on myself in these rooms, facing the problems of my life and letting God in, then I cannot heal. It's that simple.

I went to a spiritual class recently and the instructor asked us to list three blessings we were grateful for in our lives while he counted from one to ten. He asked "Ready?" and then he screamed at the top of his lungs and as fast as he could, "1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10!" After the initial paroxysm of terror dissipated, everyone began to laugh nervously when we realized that in the face of distraction, no one wrote down anything. (We were given a chance to write again while he counted in silence. We all came up with something.) I think I'll leave the controversy to Sally and Oprah and all of the folks who want to seek out some sort of whacked-out healing on a global stage. In the stillness of recovery, I know my blessings: Sobriety, Honesty, and Love. And I'm grateful.