by Micheal D (Cork, Ireland)
I first encountered SCA online after searching the internet in March-April 2001, and the following month I attended my first face-to-face SCA meeting in New York City at the 2001 Conference. I live in Ireland and there are no SCA meetings here. Another “S” fellowship does hold a meeting in a nearby city once a week, though. In the past, prior to finding SCA, I did attend this meeting. The group learnt of my sexual orientation and I was in no uncertain terms informed that I was surplus to requirements. On being told this, one member did inform me that there was another program out there that was more accepting. I was curious, and soon began searching the net and found SCA.
On attending the conference in NY in 2001, I look back on it now as the first time in my life that I felt hopeful that there was help available. On returning to Ireland I soon realised that if I wanted to keep in contact with the fellowship, it had to be online. I met someone at the conference and after returning home wrote an e-mail asking her to be my sponsor. At the time I really did not know what a sponsor was (and perhaps do not today either) but I had heard people talking about the necessity of having one. Like so many areas in my life, at first I was compulsive about online sponsorship and visiting the SCA website. As time went on, I lost all interest in online recovery and, at the same time, my acting out escalated. For me to write all the pluses of online recovery would, in my opinion, be hypocritical. However, what I can safely say is that anytime in the past that I have used the different tools of recovery on the SCA site, I have always felt much better afterward and less likely to act out.
In so many areas of my life, I want instant gratification. Sitting down at a key board certainly does not provide this for me, especially if I really feel like acting out. But you know what? I realise today (I am sober for 2 days), that it is the only option that is available to me. I know that if I continue acting out the finality may be death. When I am able to look at it like that, I guess reaching out is not all that bad even if it not to a human face. In terms of recovery I often say to myself, “it is easy for them to be sober when they attend face-to-face meetings.” Nevertheless, I know of people that have sobriety, and they say they owe this recovery to online contact.
Here in Ireland, I also attend meetings of another 12-step program (Al-Anon). I get a lot from those meetings, but they have not been able to help me stop the want to act out. Over the past two years, I have attended about 3 to 4 face-to-face meetings each week in this fellowship. I have noticed that if I am in a meeting in which there is a guy who triggers me, I share less honestly and talk less about myself and more about the faults of others. In my irregular use of SCA online recovery this triggering by an individual’s appearance is not an issue. At the very few face-to-face SCA meetings that I have attended, to be perfectly honest, I have been triggered by a lot of members; I think this is my HP trying to tell me that, for me, online is where I am meant to be today.
Writing this has really opened my eyes. I was initially going to go to the SCA site, take a note of the facilities there and then “talk” about them here. To me this says that I do not have great familiarity with the site because of a lack of use on my part. At the end of face-to-face meetings, members gather around, hold hands and say: “It works if you work it, so work it, you’re worth it!” This, of course, applies to online recovery, too. Writing this last line is, I believe, my HP trying to tell me that it is time to walk the walk, not just talk the talk.