Can the 12-Step program help someone deal with SSA (same-sex attraction)?

by Dov, GYE (See all authors)

Dov writes:

Sometimes guys write to me about SSA. I responded to a couple of them with this (below) as a start to the right conversation:

As far as myself, I do not see any similarity that homosexuality bears to addiction. Do you? It seems like a separate issue and therefor needs to be accepted completely and then dealt with just as any illness. But why call it an addiction if it isn't?

Perhaps you are referring to sexually acting out with other men and you are seeking recovery from your sexual addiction. If that's so, then I see no difference whether the acting out is with same or other sex ... do you? Based on what you wrote above, it sounds like the attraction to the same sex is your concern here. Correct me please.

Would it be different in any way if your desires were with members of the opposite sex? Would you be here asking me this question? Please be patient with me and clarify.

GYE Responds:

What Dov says above makes sense. But - many guys see SSA sort of like "porn." It's something that is just "wrong" for a frum yid and they will seek help for it, even when they are slipping up occasionally, i.e. a frum person will "hit bottom" much quicker (with porn or SSA) than a non-frum/non-Jew would, because the "double-life" aspect is more painful for him. It means that his life will become unmanageable much faster with SSA or porn than another person's. Which means that the 12-Steps can help him, where it would normally not help a non-Jew yet at that stage. In other words, a frum Jew has a much higher "bottom" than other people with these things.

Dov responds:

But then, why is it that actually more of the frum who I meet in recovery meetings have used prostitutes (many times more) than the goyim I meet in recovery have?

I hear what you are saying as a 'bottom.' But that is mainly for GYE, which only involves opening up to a fake person, for reaching out for some chizzuk but not for actual help changing their lives or doing anything really uncomfortable - for real recovery. I do not consider that 'hitting bottom'. I call that being ready to anonymously whine.