The only requirement for COSA membership is to have been affected by compulsive sexual behavior. When dealing with the effects, many have experienced trauma, pain, powerlessness, and unmanageability. They often turn to unhealthy behaviors of their own to manage their pain or try to control the behaviors of others. In the end, they realize their need to reach out for help.
COSA offers hope, whether or not there is a sexually addicted person currently in their lives. Everything that is said in the group meetings and between members must be held in confidence, promoting open and honest sharing of experience, strength, and hope. By working the Twelve Steps in COSA, they gain a new perspective on themselves and their lives. The loving interchange of help among members and daily use of program tools make them ready to receive the priceless gifts of serenity and freedom.
COSA was founded in 1980 as a Twelve Step recovery program for men and women whose lives have been affected by another person’s compulsive sexual behavior. Over the course of a few years during the late 1990s, the COSA fellowship worked on developing an approved version of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of COSA.
The Steps and Traditions listed on the website show a new version of wording changes made in Steps One and Seven, and in Traditions Three and Five. These changes were meant to honor the differences that exist in how COSA groups choose to define themselves; the new version attempts to be as inclusive as possible. This material is what will be used in ISO of COSA literature as the “official version,” with the understanding that individual COSA groups have the right to “take what you like and leave the rest” (since each group is autonomous). Each COSA member may choose to define him/herself as a codependent of sexual addiction, as a co-sex addict, or simply as a member of COSA, according to his or her own personal experience and conscience. It has been quite a process to come to this approved wording. They feel they have done their best to honor all opinions and information. It is the Board’s hope that the COSA fellowship will understand this process and accept the outcome. They ask the group members to keep in mind Tradition One: “Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon COSA unity.”