by Ash (Jakarta, Indonesia)
What is so amazing about the internet? It’s not about a bunch of data, it’s about connection and, greater still, about recovery. I have met nice people from all over the world just by sitting in my room in front of the computer. The real connection I have discovered through the internet consists of meeting people from around the globe who honestly struggle with their sexual addictions. Through the online meetings, I began to have a genuine relationship with myself, with others, with God, with nature, and with reality as a whole. What a grace to know that I am not alone in my infirmities and that there are people who are having the same common problem — and who try to recover together. That communal sense has given me strength and hope.
My first encounter with online recovery groups was back in 1997 when I searched the internet and found that there was such a thing as Sexaholics Anonymous (SA). I was surprised and happy. As my sexual addiction (in the form of excessive masturbation and porn) could not be handled well on my own, I was feeling quite desperate about maintaining my bottom lines. As far as I know, there are no 12-Steps meetings for sexual addicts in Jakarta, where I live (I’m native Indonesian). Even if there are, I don’t think I have the courage to go since I am a seminarian and quite well known by many people. I don’t think I would be able to bear the fact that someone in my community knows about my addiction. That is why sponsorship online has been tremendously helpful to me and has given me a spark of light & hope in dealing with my addiction.
My discovery of SA online led me bit by bit to finding online meetings in other S-recovery fellowships, namely SLAA and SCA. I usually attend SLAA meetings online (in #SLAA on IRC), and occasionally SCA meetings online (in #SCA on IRC). I find that these rooms, even virtual, are the most real thing in my life. People here are being what they are, with no qualifications. There is love, forgiveness, acceptance, joy, hope, support and hugs. Sometimes when I feel the urge strongly to act out, I come to the rooms to see whether there are people in them. I do this so that I can be honest, and it also allows me to ask for emotional support. These rooms are havens for me. I can express my feelings freely and, in response, I can receive some feedback. In doing this, I can know myself better and be motivated to stay sober and work on my recovery. I am grateful to have such communities.
My problem is still there. I’m still an addict. At the time of writing this, I am sober for almost two weeks. I realize that I still have a long road ahead of me, but knowing that I have recovery partners online helps. I understand that the most important thing is the process, not the result. In this recovery process there are many people who hold my hand and encourage me to go on with my journey to freedom and happiness.
I am grateful for this wonderful opportunity to share my experience, strength and hope with you. Thanks for listening.