“…S-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to recover from the effects upon us of another person’s sexaholism, and to help families and friends of sexaholics.”
Preamble to the S-Anon Twelve Steps
We are grateful for the growing awareness of sexaholism and its effects on families and friends, and many avenues of help are available outside the S-Anon program. We have found, however, that if we allow our meetings to drift into discussion of treatment theories, religious doctrine, other recovery literature, other Twelve Step programs, etc., no matter how helpful they may have been to individual members, our purpose becomes diluted (Tradition Six) and our unity is damaged (Tradition One). S-Anon is focused solely upon the Twelve Steps of S-Anon as a path toward recovery (Tradition Five), and when our meetings do not reflect that focus, newcomers and others may get a distorted picture of our objectives. We participate freely in many other activities as individuals and, outside of meetings, members freely share with each other helpful experiences that lie outside the realm of the S-Anon program. The guidelines below simply help to assure that our meetings present a strong and clear picture of S-Anon’s purpose and function.
Our Common Welfare
S-Anon meetings are the one place where we can be assured that the focus is solely on our common goal of recovering from the effects of sexaholism. In order for this to be the case, it is important that we focus on what we have in common – the ways in which sexaholism has affected us and the solutions that we learn through our literature, our meetings, and by using our program of recovery. Particularly for the newcomer, but true for many of us, it is important to feel that we “belong” in S-Anon. For example, discussion of specific religions may give the impression that S-Anon only provides recovery for people of that faith tradition. Discussion of occupations may lead some members to believe or think that their level of education and/or career choice is not sufficient to qualify them for S-Anon. Discussion or mention of another Twelve Step fellowship, particularly a program to which the spouse or partner of an S-Anon member belongs, may give the impression that S-Anon is more suitable for those whose spouse or partner belongs to that other fellowship rather than being inclusive, welcoming, and relevant to a family member or friend of any sexaholic/sex addict/sexually-addicted person (Tradition Three). Our recovery is strengthened and our groups grow when we focus on the S-Anon solution and all that we have in common while leaving our other identities outside the meeting.
We speak about and from the S-Anon point of view for some very good reasons. Terms used in outside professions, such as “codependent,” “co-sexaholic,” etc. can be distracting from our unity because the precise meaning of these terms is uncertain and they may perpetuate the tendency to focus on others rather than ourselves. Our recovery in S-Anon is strengthened when we identify ourselves as S-Anon members and focus upon the similarities in our experiences. We use only Conference Approved Literature during our meetings for the same reasons, including:
• It speaks directly to our recovery from the effects of sexaholism, based upon the experiences of other S-Anon members (Tradition Five).
• It focuses on the solution rather than the problem and explains the S-Anon Twelve-Step approach to recovery.
• It helps us avoid even the appearance of endorsing directly, or indirectly, any theory of sexual addiction or co-addiction, or particular therapeutic approach to recovery (Tradition Six).
S-Anon is a spiritual program. During S-Anon meetings we avoid mention or discussion of individuals or writings that are associated with particular religious traditions or denominations. Our meetings are open to all who have been deeply affected by sexaholism, whether or not they have any religious affiliation. We neither endorse nor oppose any other philosophies or spiritual programs. Therefore, the S-Anon name is not used to identify or publicize religious activities sponsored by others, such as “retreats” based in a specific religion, prayer groups, or meditation groups, even when most or even all of the participants are members of S-Anon. (This guideline does not apply to gatherings of S-Anons which may be labeled “retreats” in the general sense of the word, but which do not have a religious focus). Religious services and/or announcements of them are not appropriate as part of an S-Anon event.
Other Twelve Step Groups
While all Twelve Step programs use the Twelve Steps, each program has a unique interpretation of how to apply them. S-Anon is a program solely for recovery from the effects upon us of another person’s sexaholism (Tradition Three). For that reason, it is suggested that S-Anon members who are also members of other Twelve Step fellowships recognize that an S-Anon meeting is not the place to name another specific Twelve Step group or elaborate on other Twelve Step issues. Some groups ask those who are members of other Twelve Step programs not to break their anonymity in S-Anon meetings. In order to keep our focus clear and enhance the unity of the group, we speak about, and from the S-Anon point of view, telling how we have found help and hope by working the S-Anon program of recovery.
During our meetings we do not announce or discuss the activities of other Twelve Step programs. Similarly, S-Anon bulletin boards and newsletters should not be used for publicizing activities of other organizations or Twelve Step programs.
Therapy and Counseling
We do not discuss specific professional therapies or counseling methods or mention names of therapists during our meetings so we may concentrate solely on the S-Anon principles of recovery. S-Anon encourages members to seek any professional therapy or counseling they find helpful; however, this policy helps us to avoid even the appearance of endorsing any particular therapeutic method, treatment program, or therapist, no matter how helpful they may have been to individual members. S-Anon is non-professional (Traditions Three and Eight); it is not a therapy group. It is a fellowship of individuals affected by sexaholism who gather together to support each other through the sharing of experience, strength, and hope.
Outside Literature and Other Media
As mentioned previously, our meetings focus on the S-Anon approach to recovery. In the spirit of unity, during our meetings we avoid the mention of specific titles or authors, or discussion of any publications other than S-Anon Conference Approved Literature. This recommendation includes mention or discussion of specific television shows, movies, Web sites, books, magazines, articles, etc. Experience has shown us several other reasons for using only Conference Approved Literature during meetings.
Many outside publications on sexaholism, co-addiction, religion, and philosophy appeal to S-Anon members as individuals. Members are encouraged to read whatever they find helpful, but S-Anon cannot assume the responsibility for evaluating or recommending reading matter other than S-Anon Conference Approved Literature. Understanding of Traditions One and Four leads us to avoid the promotion or sale of outside literature at our meetings.
Last Updated March 2018