Christian Leaders Attaining Sexual Purity
Are you a pastor, a counselor, or someone in the helping professions, who also struggles with sexual addiction, in the Columbia, South Carolina, area? We are here for you.
(And now we are on Zoom, so you can join from anywhere.)
Who We Are
We are confidential group for those in the helping professions, who themselves also struggle with sexual addiction. You will find all of us to be supportive of one another in our quest for sexual purity. We are guided by the Sexaholics Anonymous Statement of Principle:
“…for the married sexaholic, sexual sobriety means having no form of sex with self or with persons other than the spouse. In SA’s sobriety definition, the term “spouse” refers to one’s partner in a marriage between a man and a woman. For the unmarried sexaholic, sexual sobriety means freedom from sex of any kind. And for all of us, single and married alike, sexual sobriety also includes progressive victory over lust.”
What makes our group different from a traditional Sexaholics Anonymous group is that we are people whose professions require an additional level of anonymity. We are clergy and other Christian ministers, counselors, therapists, and other mental health professionals. In our careers we are seen as the ones who provide guidance, so we fear that our human failings may be perceived by others as hypocritical. We may also tend to judge ourselves more harshly. With our group, you will find empathy and relatability, because we understand on a personal level what you are feeling.
Another unique aspect is that we provide Christian fellowship. SA does not align with any religious denomination, so this is an opportunity to bring your faith into your recovery.
Are You a Sex Addict?
• Have you ever thought you needed help for your sexual thinking or behavior?
• That you’d be better off if you didn’t keep “giving in”?
• That sex or stimuli are controlling you?
• Have you ever tried to stop or limit doing what you felt was wrong in your sexual behavior?
If you are questioning if your behavior is an addiction, Sexaholics Anonymous has a full assessment you can take here: https://www.sa.org/test/
Our local meetings in Columbia, SC, are in a confidential location, Monday afternoons at 12:15 p.m. and Wednesday mornings at 8:00 a.m.
We also have a confidential Zoom meeting on Wednesdays at 12:00 noon EST, so you can join that one from anywhere in the world.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to attend a meeting.
Our Members Share Their Experiences
“As a member of the clergy, CLASP has significantly aided in my recovery, not only on the level of any recovery group, but furthermore in providing me a support network of other addicts who know the dichotomy of leading others spiritually and yet struggling myself with sexual addiction. Simply as a sexaholic, I experience great amounts of shame over this disease, which is only multiplied when factoring in the ministry. I go to a regular recovery meeting anonymously, which means among other things that I don’t bring in what I do professionally. In CLASP, I am allowed to bring in that part of me that wrestles with the feelings of hypocrisy and self-condemnation because of the professional and spiritual tension.”
— a (male) chaplain from Columbia, South Carolina
“”I have looked for help in many places with my struggle with pornography, but CLASP is where I have seen the most change in me and others walking in freedom. For me, it has been a great help in living out my faith and seeing God free me from lust.”
— a (male) youth minister from West Columbia, South Carolina
“The CLASP group places equal value on both my recovery and my Christian faith. I embrace, and have worked, the 12 steps and traditions of Sexaholics Anonymous, which are central to the group. And, I wanted to walk out my recovery with other Christian believers who also ascribed to the SA sobriety definition specifically; something I didn’t find in other faith-based recovery groups. Recovery is simply a different word for living life as Christ called me to live. As a member of CLASP since its founding in 2006, I find it of great value to meet regularly with other believers in leadership roles in the church, and the community, who so strongly pursue their own sexual purity. I am deeply grateful for this group of brave men and women who help me pursue transformation of my heart and body.”
— a (female) mental health worker in Columbia, South Carolina
We welcome you. Please email us at email@example.com with any questions or to attend a meeting.
Understanding Sex Addiction
We know you may feel alone in your struggles, but you are not. These article excerpts and books can give you insight into the causes of sexual addiction and how to manage these feeling and actions.
Websites for Further Reading
The Prevalence of Sexual Addiction in the Clergy
“We can write with confidence that the evangelical community struggles with sexual addiction, particularly with the Internet, in large percentages. While the estimates vary, there is a wide consensus that no fewer than 50%, and possibly as high as 66%, of evangelical Christian men have, at least at some time, struggled with pornography. What is particularly noteworthy is that several recent studies have suggested that Christian women struggle with pornography, somewhere between 25 to 35% as well.”
Therapists Who Offend
“This is not an easy article to write. Recovery and sobriety started for me over 10 years ago. God has restored my marriage and given me a career in writing and consulting about sexual addiction, but this is still a terribly shameful sin to confess. It is my prayer that my story and my years of recovery from sexual addiction and sin might be helpful in preventing others from creating the kind of damage I created.”
Addictions and Idolatry
“Sex yields one of the most potent sensory experiences. As such, it has been pursued throughout human history, and it has led to much tragedy, both for addicts and for those who love them. Since it is easily accessible in person, in print, and in digital form, all things sexual will remain prominent temptations to addiction.”
Women and Sexual Addiction
“I don’t know if you have a picture in your mind of what a sexual addict looks like. I would be even more surprised if you had a picture of what a female sexual addict looks like. There are, however, many of us. And all of us must deal with the enormous shame connected with sexual addiction. Today, if someone said in a social setting — even in a Christian social setting — “I’m a recovering alcoholic,” I think many people might respond with: “Good for you. You’ve admitted you have a problem. You’re doing something about it. You’re getting help.” We have an element of respect for someone who admits to being a recovering alcoholic. But if you say, “I’m a recovering sex addict,” you will still experience enormous amounts of shame and very little understanding.”
Books for Further Reading
The Pornography Trap: Setting Pastors and Laypersons Free from Sexual Addiction
By Ralph H. Earle Jr. and Mark Laaser
A Hunger for Healing: The Twelve Steps as a Classic Model for Christian Spiritual Growth
By J. Keith Miller
Breathing Under Water: Spirituality and the 12 Steps
By Richard Rohr
Out of the Shadows: Understanding Sexual Addiction
By Patrick Carnes, Ph. D
Trauma and Addiction
By Tian Dayton, Ph. D
Addictions: A Banquet in the Grave
By Edward T. Welch
If you are not a candidate for CLASP, below are some other groups in Columbia, S.C., that might be helpful:
Sexaholics Anonymous. Recovery from lust through the Twelve Steps; the group shares a common sobriety definition.
Sex Addicts Anonymous. Recovery from compulsive sexual behaviors through the Twelve Steps; each member determines his or her own sobriety definition.
Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. A Twelve Step program for anyone who suffers from an addictive compulsion to engage in or avoid sex, love, or emotional attachment.
Celebrate Recovery. A Christ-centered approach to the Twelve Steps.
The Integrity Group. A therapy group at the Christian Counseling Center.
S-Anon. Recovery for spouses, family members and friends of Sexaholics, through working the Twelve Steps.
Please contact each group for more information. Inclusion in this list does not constitute approval or affiliation between any group and CLASP.