Cedar Falls, Iowa SAA Meeting Format

1.)  Opening 

Welcome! Let us begin with a moment of silence for the still-suffering addict.

My name is _________ and I am a recovering sex addict. Please silence all cell phones and electronic devices, unless you are on-call as a sponsor or in another capacity.

Please stand, join hands, and join me in the (Sat) Unity / (Tue) Serenity Prayer.

(Sat) The Unity Prayer

I put my hand in yours, and together we can do what we could not do alone. No longer is there a sense of hopelessness. No longer must we each depend upon our own unsteady willpower. We are all together now, reaching out for power and strength greater than our own. And as we join hands, we find love and understanding beyond our wildest dreams.

(Tue) The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.

2.)   Who we are

Ours is a fellowship of men and women who share our experience, strength, and hope with each other that we may solve our common problem and help others to recover from their sexual addictions.  The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop compulsive sexual behavior.  There are no dues or fees for membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.  We are not allied with any organization.  We do not wish to engage in any controversy; endorse nor oppose any causes.  Although there is no organizational affiliation between Alcoholics Anonymous and our fellowship, we are based on the principles of AA.  Our primary purpose is to stay sexually healthy and to help other sex addicts achieve freedom from compulsive sexual behavior. 

This is a closed meeting.  Only those interested in their own personal sexual sobriety should attend, please. 

3.) How it Works

I have asked __________ to read “How it Works” and the twelve steps.

How It Works

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path.  Those who do not recover are people who cannot, or will not, completely give themselves to this simple program. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty.  There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest. 

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way, but we could not.  With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start.  Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with sexual addiction: cunning, baffling, powerful!  Without help it is too much for us.  But there is a higher power—may you find your higher power now. Half measures availed us nothing.  We stood at the turning point.  We asked for our higher power’s protection and care with complete abandon.

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

The Twelve Steps

Step One: We admitted we were powerless over our compulsive sexual behavior—that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Two: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step Three: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood God.

Step Four: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step Five: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step Six: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step Seven: Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

Step Eight: Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step Ten: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step Eleven: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God, praying only for knowledge of God’s will for us and the power to carry that out.

Step Twelve: Having had a spiritual awakening as result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to other sex addicts and to practice these principles in all our lives.

Many of us exclaimed “What an order!  I can’t go through with it”.  Do not be discouraged.  No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles.  We are not saints.  The point is, we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.  The principles we have set down are guides to progress.  We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. 

Our understanding of sexual addiction and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas: 

a)   That we were sexually addicted, and could not manage our own lives.

b)  That probably no human power could have relieved our addictive behavior.

c)   That God could, and would, if He were sought. 

*From “How it Works.” Chapter 5 of Alcoholics Anonymous

4.) Introductions

A. Newcomer’s Introduction (skip if no newcomers present)

We have a new member today; we welcome you to our meeting.  We know the courage it takes walking into this room for the first time.  All of us here remember the complicated emotions we felt when taking that first step.  As you may not be familiar with 12-step programs, we offer a brief description of our meeting format:

In addition to readings and opening statements, each meeting also includes member introductions and a topic or presentation. We then open the meeting up for sharing.  This is a time when you may share your thoughts or feelings on the topic, reading, or anything else on your mind.  We avoid interruptions when another person is sharing, and avoid cross-talk by allowing others to finish, and by introducing ourselves again when it is our turn to speak.

We have also found that sponsorship is one of the most vital aspects of the program.  A sponsor is a person in the fellowship who acts as a guide to working the program; a fellow addict upon whom we can rely for support.  We can learn from a sponsor’s experience, struggles, successes, and mistakes.  Most importantly, sponsors guide us through the twelve steps. Any members without a permanent sponsor are encouraged to select one as soon as they can. 

Again, we welcome you to our meeting. We ask that you come to at least six meetings before you make a decision about continuing with the program.  You will find that each meeting is a little bit different, and it is our sincerest hope that you find what you are looking for. If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to ask.

B. Member Introductions

At this time we will go around the room so that each person may briefly identify themselves by first name, state the nature of their addiction, the length of their sobriety, and the step(s) they are currently working.  Please save any check-in for later in the meeting.  New members need not admit to a sex addiction.

I’ll begin, and we’ll go around the room to my right/left.

5.) Meditation

I’ve asked __________ to read the meditation for today (Answers In the Heart or Voices of Recovery). Following the reading, all are encouraged to share their thoughts or feelings on the meditation. If you have nothing to share, please consider stating your name and saying “I have no comment.”

6.) Medallions and Anniversaries (skip if no anniversaries)

Do we have any medallions or anniversaries? (pass around medallion to celebrate)  

7.)  Topic Presentation, Twelve Step Reading, or Step Presentation

At this time in our meeting we read a step, slogan, or personal story, or hear the presentation of a step, slogan or topic as prepared by a member.  Opportunity for routine check-ins will come later in the meeting. Members presenting a step may request feedback immediately following their presentation.

(Following the reading) If anyone has thoughts or feedback, he or she may share it now.

8.) Sharing/Check-In

Now is the time when we may check in.  

During check-in, we share our thoughts and feelings and “get current” with the group.  We avoid the use of sexually explicit or abusive language.  If anyone thinks another is too explicit, he or she can so signify by raising his or her hand.  We also avoid mentioning specific places or individuals.  We speak in the “I”, not the “You” or the “We”.  We do not interrupt anyone with questions or comments, nor do we give advice.  If anyone wants feedback, that person may ask for it, and if time allows, group members may provide it at that time. Otherwise, feedback may be given following the meeting.  The emphasis is on sharing our own experience, strength, hope and feelings.  

All participation is voluntary.  We are not required to speak, if we don’t want to.  Just by listening we can learn how other members are becoming honest, confronting their addiction, finding support from fellow addicts, and practicing the program.  (Adapted from SAA book page 11, paragraph 2.)

(If 8 or more members): As we have 8 or more members in attendance today, check-in will be conducted in small groups. We will count off by ones and twos; I will begin, and we will continue to my left/right.

(After counting) Please move to your small groups now.

We strive for a (Tue) 8:00 PM / (Sat) 2:30 PM closing; please be ready to close the meeting by 5 minutes before our closing time—you may begin!

9.) The Promises

I have asked _______ to read the promises.

The Promises

“If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are halfway through.  We are going to know a new freedom, and a new happiness.  We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.  We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.  No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.  That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.  We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.  Self-seeking will slip away.  Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.  Fear of people, and of economic insecurity will leave us.  We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.  We will suddenly realize that our Higher Power is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises?  We think not.  They are being fulfilled among us—sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.  They will always materialize if we work for them.”

10.) 7th Tradition/Planning

We have no dues or fees, but we are self-supporting through our own contributions.  In keeping with the 7th tradition, please pass any contributions to the treasurer at this time.

It has often been helpful to individual members and groups to hear a presentation on a step, slogan, or topic that has been prepared in advance.  Who would like to sign up to give a presentation, or to be next week’s Trusted Servant? Do we have any announcements at this time? 

11.) Closing

The opinions expressed here were strictly those of the person who gave them.  What you heard was spoken in confidence, and should be treated as confidential.

Whatever problems you have, there are those among us who have had them too.  If you keep an open mind you will find help.  Let us talk to one another, and reason things out, but let us not gossip or criticize each other.  Instead, let the understanding, love and peace of the program grow in each of us one day at a time.

After a moment of silence, will you please stand, join hands, and join in the serenity prayer.

After we finish the prayer please return your cell phones to normal settings.

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.

“Keep coming back: it works if you work it—and you’re worth it.”

(Link to Google Doc File)