Since this was written, several “S” groups have been formed, using the 12 Steps to deal with what is now recognized as sexual addiction. At least one of these societies takes a firm position on sex that could be described as demanding Absolute Purity. Others deal with it in a slightly less rigid manner. At the same time, society, in general, has become more open about sex issues. Purity, as a term and an ideal, seems to have fewer and fewer advocates with the passing of time.
But if AA wanted to use the term in an effective way, it could be applied to our basic position on drinking. Here, Absolute Purity regarding alcohol is necessary for recovery and survival. Alcoholics must positively and absolutely abstain from any alcoholic beverage. One drink, a casual beverage for most people, is a deadly trigger for alcoholics. It’s also dangerous even to think about drinking. Going into a bar just to have a Coke and chat with buddies is usually risky over the long term.
This was not understood in the years before AA came into existence. Alcoholics were sometimes represented as persons suffering from some terrible event in the past, and it was assumed that getting over such traumas would allow them to become controlled drinkers. We now know that this was wrong, and that alcoholics who do straighten out their lives temporarily will soon be in trouble again if they decide to drink. One drink is the trigger.
In addition to the “S” groups that grapple with sex addiction, we now have 12-Step groups facing other problems. Simply to call something “Anonymous” means