The Twelve Step Program: A Path to Sexual and Emotional Sobriety

The Twelve Steps were originally formulated by Bill W. (1895-1971), a co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), in 1938. They grew out of the principles then espoused by the Oxford Groups (a religious fellowship which sponsored early A.A. in Akron, Ohio), tempered by the practical experiences which were a common denominator of recovery from alcoholism among A.A. members at that time. These steps were first published in Alcoholics Anonymous (New York 1939) and received a more detailed treatment in Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions (New York 1953), both of which were written by Bill W.

In presenting the S.L.A.A. version of the Twelve Steps version of the Twelve Steps here, we wish to do what A.A. had in mind in presenting them initially in the book Alcoholics Anonymous. Enough of us have worked through these Twelve Steps that a common experience of recovery from sex and love addiction has emerged. The fellowship is still small, however, and there seem to be many people desperately in need of the hope the Twelve Step program offers. We earnestly hope that families and others suffering from the destruction caused by an active sex and love addict will stop blaming themselves after reading of our experiences in this book. However, our primary concern is that the suffering sex and love addict may find the way, through the Twelve Step program, to turn from the self-destruction of this disease, and lay the foundation for spiritual and emotional recovery.

Our presentation does not intend to be a complete treatment of the Twelve Steps from the S.L.A.A. perspective. Yet we are endeavoring to present them in enough detail to indicate the scope of recovery from sex and love addiction which we have experienced. If you are thinking as you read this book that S.L.A.A. may be a fellowship worth serious consideration for your own problems, we recommend that you also read the books Alcoholics Anonymous (especially chapters 5-7) and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. We have found these books, in spite of their occasionally somewhat dated ideas and language, to be surprisingly appropriate and useful to us in applying the Twelve Steps to sex and love addiction. We substitute such words as “our addiction” or “sex and love addiction” for the direct references to alcoholism in those books. Their timeliness after half a century, and their applicability to a different specific addiction such as ours, are tributes to their psychological and spiritual insight and to the high quality of their writing.

One thing is clear. The Twelve Steps, as originally set forth in Alcoholics Anonymous, do provide a comprehensive and thorough approach to the problem of dealing with addiction, including sex and love addiction. Our gratitude for the efforts of the early A.A. pioneers is very great. Our expression of it must necessarily fall far short of sufficiently honoring their tremendous achievement.


Taken from Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (Boston 1986), pp. 66-67. Copyright 1986 © The Augustine Fellowship, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc., 1550 NE Loop 410, Ste 118, San Antonio, TX 78209, United States. All rights reserved. Permission for publication pending 10531011.
The other founder of A.A. was Dr. Bob (1879-1950). Alcoholics Anonymous is also known as the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous; translated into Dutch as Het grote boek van de Anonieme Alcoholisten (Amsterdam, third edition 1996). Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions is translated into Dutch as Twaalf Stappen & Twaalf Tradities (Amsterdam 1996).