Decorah, Iowa SAA Meeting Format

1.)  Opening: 

Welcome!

My name is _________ and I am a recovering sex addict and your moderator for this meeting. Please remember to use the mute function on your phone when you are not speaking to ensure that everyone is able to be heard when it is their turn to speak.

After a moment of silence for the still suffering addict, please join me in the serenity prayer.

THE SERENITY PRAYER

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And the wisdom to know the difference.

Because this is a telemeeting, the laws of all the states, provinces and countries which are represented apply. To protect yourself and others in this meeting, please do not be specific as to when, where, with whom or how you have acted out, in the event that you disclose actions that violate the law regarding underage, senior, or disabled victims. Participants of this meeting may be required by law to violate the anonymity of the group and report this. So talk instead about your thinking, feelings, and emotions.

2.)  Introduction 

Who would like to read the introduction (from Sex Addicts Anonymous, pp. 1-2)?

We are sex addicts. Our addiction nearly destroyed our lives, but we found freedom through the recovery program of Sex Addicts Anonymous. In the fellowship of SAA, we discovered that we are not alone and that meeting regularly together to share experience, strength, and hope gives us the choice to live a new life.

Our addictive sexual behavior was causing pain—to ourselves, our friends, and our loved ones. Our lives were out of control. We may have wanted to quit, making promises and many attempts to stop, yet we repeatedly failed to do so. For each of us, there came a moment of crisis. When we finally reached out for help, we found recovery through the program of SAA.

We have found, through long and painful experience, that we are unable to achieve recovery from sexual addiction through our own efforts. Our program is based on the belief, confirmed by our experience, that a Power greater than ourselves can accomplish for us what we could not do alone. By surrendering our addiction to a Higher Power, we receive the gift of recovery, one day at a time.

Sex Addicts Anonymous is a spiritual program based on the principles and traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. Although we are not affiliated with AA or any other organization, we are deeply grateful to AA for making our recovery possible.

Our primary purpose is to stop our addictive sexual behavior and to help others recover from sexual addiction. We find a new way of living through the SAA program, and carry our message to others seeking recovery. Membership is open to all who have a desire to stop addictive sexual behavior. There is no other requirement. Our fellowship is open to women and men, regardless of age, race, religion, ethnic background, marital status, or occupation. We welcome members of any sexual identity or orientation, whether they are gay, lesbian, straight, bisexual, or transgender.

In our groups, there is a collective wisdom that has grown and been handed down over the years. We learn many new solutions to old problems. Central to these are the Twelve Steps, a spiritual program of recovery. Following these steps leads to freedom from addictive sexual behaviors and to the healing of our minds, bodies, spirits, relationships, and sexuality.

Desperation brought us together. We found in each other what we could find nowhere else: people who knew the depth of our pain. Together we found hope and the care of a loving Higher Power. Our commitment is to help others recover from sexual addiction, just as we have been helped.

3.)  Our Program

Who would like to read “Our Program” (from Sex Addicts Anonymous, pp. 20-21)?

                                                                            OUR PROGRAM

The Twelve Steps of SAA

Attending SAA meetings starts us on a new way of life. But while the SAA fellowship supports our recovery, the actual work of recovery is described in the Twelve Steps. Meetings are forums for learning how to integrate the steps into our lives. Working the Twelve Steps leads to a spiritual transformation that results in sustainable relief from our addiction.

When we start attending meetings of Sex Addicts Anonymous, many of us are surprised to meet people who are enjoying life and experiencing freedom from the painful, compulsive behaviors that had brought them to SAA. Listening to other members share about their recovery, we gradually realize that in order to make the same kind of progress, we need to be willing to do whatever it takes to get sexually abstinent, and to stay abstinent. We have learned from hard experience that we cannot achieve and maintain abstinence if we aren’t willing to change our way of life. But if we can honestly face our problems, and are willing to change, the Twelve Steps of SAA will lead to an awakening that allows us to live a new way of life according to spiritual principles. Taking these steps allows fundamental change to occur in our lives. They are the foundation of our recovery.

The Twelve Steps of Sex Addicts Anonymous

1. We admitted we were powerless over addictive sexual behavior—that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

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

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

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

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

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

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

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. 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.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other sex addicts and to practice these principles in our lives.

These steps are the heart of our program. They contain a depth that we could hardly have guessed when we started. Over time, we establish a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves, each of us coming to an understanding of a Higher Power that is personal for us. Although the steps use the word “God” to indicate this Power, SAA is not affiliated with any religion, creed, or dogma. The program offers a spiritual solution to our addiction, without requiring adherence to any specific set of beliefs or practices. The path is wide enough for everyone who wishes to walk it.

4.)  The Twelve Traditions of Sex Addicts Anonymous

 Who would like to read the Twelve Traditions from Sex Addicts Anonymous, p. 77?

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon SAA unity.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as expressed in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for SAA membership is a desire to stop addictive sexual behavior.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or SAA as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the sex addict who still suffers.

6. An SAA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the SAA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every SAA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Sex Addicts Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. SAA, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Sex Addicts Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the SAA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, and films.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

5.)  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 attending a meeting 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 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. Would those who are willing to serve as temporary sponsors please state their name?

The members who spoke with you before this meeting will act as your temporary sponsors, and new members are encouraged to select a permanent sponsor 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.

A SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT SAFETY (read at 1st meeting of the month)

As a newcomer in SAA, please be aware that this is an individual 12-step program with no governing authority except our Higher Power. This is a group of sex addicts. If any person you encounter within our fellowship tries to behave sexually with you, this is inappropriate. You may end the conversation/relationship immediately. Our 5th tradition states that our primary purpose is to carry the message of recovery to the sex addict who still suffers. Exploiting a new member is not in keeping with our Traditions and is inappropriate. This behavior, commonly referred to as “13th stepping,” is rare but unfortunately does happen.

Here are some suggestions some of us have found helpful for discerning and preventing “13th stepping.”

1. Have a wide range of support.  Reach out to several people for support, not just one or two people. If something doesn’t feel right, question it. Do not hesitate to turn to another sober member for support if necessary.

2. Some groups have found it helpful to assign two temporary sponsors to each newcomer, that way the newcomer is never alone with another member.

3. Read our literature on Safe and Sober Meetings. Do not spend one-on-one time or have phone calls with people in SAA to whom you are attracted or have expressed an attraction to you.

Above all, sobriety is the goal. Honor yourself by surrounding yourself with people who support your recovery!

B. Member Introductions

Now is the time when each person may briefly identify themselves by first name and, if they so choose, may state the nature of their addiction, the length of their sobriety, and the steps(s) that they are currently working.  Please save any check-in for later in the meeting.  New members need not admit to a sex addiction.

(If newcomers present) As we have a new member tonight, 2-3 members may choose to share a brief history of the experiences that led them to SAA, in lieu of the usual introduction.

I’ll begin, and then I will pass to the next person who would like to introduce themselves.

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

7.)  Meditation

Who would be willing to read the meditation for today from Voices of Recovery?

8.)  Step, Tradition, Topic or Speaker Presentation

At this time in our meeting we read a step, tradition or personal story, or hear the presentation of a step, topic or personal story as prepared by a member. Members presenting a step may request feedback immediately following their presentation.

Week Topic

  1. Step
  2. Tradition
  3. Topic
  4. Speaker/Group Choice
  5. Group Choice

9.) Sharing

It is now time for sharing.

To keep the meeting safe, we do not engage in cross-talk, which means that we do not make direct comments about another person’s sharing.  We avoid the use of sexually explicit or abusive language.  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 Sex Addicts Anonymous, p. 11)

The meeting is now open for sharing. You can share about the readings and/or topic or just get current.

We strive for a ? PM closing.

10.)  The Promises

Who would be willing to read the promises?

THE PROMISES

(from Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 83-84)

 “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 God 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.”

11.)  7th Tradition/Planning

We have no dues or fees, but we are self-supporting through our own contributions.  You may make a donation to the ISO of SAA online at the SAA website (saa-recovery.org) or by texting the letters SAA to the number 91999 and you will receive a link to make a secure online donation to SAA. 

Does anyone have any announcements to make 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.  Would anyone like to suggest a topic from our literature, sign up to give a presentation, or volunteer to be next week’s Trusted Servant? 

12.)  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 join me in the “we” version of the serenity prayer.