S-Anon is a program solely for individual recovery from the effects upon us of another person’s sexaholism (Tradition Three). This consideration remains vital when members participate in any type of S-Anon/S-Ateen group or meeting, closed or open. Our approved S-Anon meeting guidelines for sharing remind us to “leave our other identities outside the discussion,” and to speak solely “about and from the S-Anon point of view.”(Tradition Five) We share our experience, strength and hope gained from individual S-Anon recovery. This is the privilege and responsibility of each S-Anon member participating in an S-Anon meeting.
Closed Meetings – Registered S-Anon and S-Ateen meetings are considered “closed” meetings. “The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of sexaholism in a relative or friend.” (Tradition Three) At a closed meeting, all those present are seeking S-Anon recovery for themselves.
Open Meetings – In keeping with Tradition Four, it is within the autonomy of each S-Anon group to hold “open” meetings, where attendance is open to other people in addition to S-Anon members. Open meetings may be held at local marathons and international conventions, where attendance is open to S-Anon members, members of other fellowships and outside professionals. Examples of open meetings include:
• Potlucks, gratitude meetings, or Speaker meetings that local groups may host, and are open to relatives and friends of S-Anon members.
• Meetings hosted by a local S-Anon/S-Ateen group that invite members of the local professional community to learn about S-Anon and S-Ateen in the community.
• A couples meeting, where members of other fellowships are invited.
In any case, open meetings are not considered registered S-Anon groups, and are recommended to not be a replacement for attendance at regular S-Anon/S-Ateen group meetings.
Special Meetings – S-Anon Special Meetings focus on recovery from the effects of specific sets of experiences or other special situations or conditions related to sexaholism. They are held as a complement to, not as a replacement for, regular group meetings. Some S-Anon members have found it helpful to participate in meetings that focus on specific topics common to members’ shared experiences.
Special Meetings may include those for Men, Women, Gays & Lesbians, and any other special group that is in keeping with our Traditions (other than the specific Tradition Three membership requirements). Special Meetings may not be limited to members of a specific religious denomination, political group, organization, or institution, as that would not be in keeping with Traditions Three and Six.
Open Meetings and Special Meetings may not be registered as S-Anon groups, but they need to fill out a Listed Meeting Form at the WSO due to the S-Anon registered trademark, and permission to use the name is granted by the WSO only to the following:
· Closed meetings that complete a Group Registration Form
· Open and Special Meetings that complete a Listed Meeting Form
All Meetings are asked to complete either a Group Registration Form or Listed Meeting Form for the WSO’s records.
Only registered S-Anon groups (Closed Meetings) and Special Meetings that agree to not limit attendance in any way can be posted on www.sanon.org, shared by the WSO to inquirers, and published on websites linked to www.sanon.org.
The S-Anon Special Meetings posted on www.sanon.org are in keeping with all S-Anon Twelve Traditions, and welcome the attendance of all members of S-Anon. However, Special Meetings differ from regular registered group meetings, which focus on recovery topics applicable to all S-Anon members. Our common experience suggests that recovery does not depend on meeting with others who have had the same experiences or circumstances.
A meeting limited to members of a specific religious denomination, political group, organization, or institution would not be in keeping with Traditions Three and Six, and would not be considered an S-Anon meeting.
It follows that “dual member” meetings, that is, meetings planned specifically to address the issues of members who qualify for both S-Anon and any other Twelve Step program and who attend both fellowships are also not considered S-Anon meetings (Tradition Five and Six).
Electronic S-Anon /S-Ateen Meetings
While it is suggested that members attend face-to-face meetings if at all possible, members in areas with no local meetings may find electronic meetings helpful for their recovery. Some members who regularly attend face-to-face meetings use electronic meetings to complement their regular meetings, and lone members may gain helpful information on starting an S-Anon Group. It is wise and prudent for members who participate in electronic meetings to consider the level of anonymity such meetings provide. It is the responsibility of participating members to take whatever measures they deem necessary to maintain the same anonymity in virtual meetings as they do in face-to-face meetings.
• Phone Meetings – S-Anon telephone group meetings are available at various times on most days of the week. A telephone number and pin number allow access to the conference-call meeting. The WSO can put members in touch with a contact person who can provide more information.
• Online Platform Meetings – Online video meetings are similar in format to telephone meetings, but allow members to have a more intimate forum in which they may see each other’s faces. Note that Tradition Eleven prohibits showing of individual faces after identifying oneself as an S-Anon member at the level of public media. Online meetings and/or video meetings are private gatherings, so Tradition Eleven is being observed.
Please contact the WSO for the most current information regarding electronic meetings, as these contact names and numbers may change frequently.
S-Anon/S-Ateen Special Events
S-Anon events held in cooperation with any outside entity are considered separate S-Anon events that take place simultaneously with the other entity’s event. These events might be called marathons, mini-conventions, retreats (in the general sense of the word), or open speaker meetings. Typically the S-Anon portion of the event consists of S-Anon breakout meetings on particular topics, and/or meetings of all the participants where speakers address the group as a whole.
While S-Anon’s Tradition Six instructs S-Anon to cooperate with Sexaholics Anonymous, S-Anon groups are not prohibited by this or any of our other Traditions from cooperating with other entities, including institutions, the professional community, or, by extension, other Twelve-Step groups, in furthering our primary purpose, i.e., to help families of sexaholics. It follows that the types of S-Anon events described below may sometimes be held in cooperation with any of a number of other entities. The motivation for our cooperation with any entity is to bring information on the S-Anon program of recovery to all who want it. S-Anon is not limited to cooperating exclusively with any particular Twelve Step group or outside entity.
If you are planning to host an S-Anon event and would like suggestions on how to proceed, the WSO can put you in touch with the International Conventions Committee or other members who have previously hosted such events.
It is important to note that the distinctions between “open” and “closed” meetings as explained above also apply to events. If a meeting at an event is designated as being for “S-Anon,” Tradition Three would apply, and the meeting would only be open to those who have registered for the S-Anon program or, in some cases, who recognize during the event that they qualify for S-Anon membership. (Please check with the host committee about registering for S-Anon after the event has started.)
• Local or regional gatherings – These gatherings may be held either independently or in cooperation with SA or another entity. We encourage you not to schedule local or regional events that may conflict with the timing of the semi-annual international conventions described below. Convention dates are listed at www.sanon.org, and it is always a good idea to consult the S-Anon WSO calendar before scheduling a new event.
• International Conventions – Every six months S-Anon, traditionally in cooperation with SA, holds an international convention that starts on Friday afternoon and ends around noon on Sunday. The location is different for each gathering. S-Anon and S-Ateen members from the United States, Canada and all over the world attend to share their experience, strength and hope. These conventions are a wonderful opportunity to experience the strength and unity of S-Anon as an international fellowship. Conventions are open only to those affected by sexaholism and who have registered for S-Anon and/or S-Ateen.
During conventions, members make a special effort to help newcomers (those who have been in the program less than three months) feel welcome. There are always newcomers at conventions. Some may be attending their first S-Anon meetings the weekend of the convention. The convention agenda may list meetings considered especially helpful for newcomers and one-on-one sessions where temporary sponsors are available to talk to or answer questions. Other types of meetings held during the convention usually include:
• “Closed” S-Anon breakout meetings focusing on various topics (open only to those who have registered as S-Anon or S-Ateen members.)
• “Open” meetings where attendees from cooperating fellowships who have not registered as S-Anon members may attend.
• Panels consisting of members who share their experience, strength and hope on a planned recovery topic.
• Open joint speaker event where experienced S-Anon, S-Ateen and/or SA members share their recovery with the group.
• “Closed” S-Ateen breakout meetings for teenagers only (ages 12-19) who have been affected by sexaholism.
Professional Speakers at S-Anon/S-Ateen Meetings/Events
S-Anon recovery events are one form of expression of our community’s Step 12 work, therefore, it is not recommended to invite an outside speaker, that is, a speaker who is not an S-Anon member, to participate in an S-Anon/S-Ateen event for the following reasons:• While it may seem helpful to invite a speaker with professional expertise for a recovery event, Tradition 8 reminds us that we should keep our twelfth step work forever non-professional. Inviting an outside speaker implies there is someone who is more qualified than S-Anon members to speak about the effects of sexaholism. Any talk given by any professional would not be about or from the S-Anon point of view.
• The ideas expressed by a professional speaker may divert us from our primary spiritual aim and dilute the S-Anon/S-Ateen message of hope and recovery from the effects of another person’s sexual behavior. Our common welfare and unity would be affected if an outside speaker creates confusion or controversy.
• Working the S-Anon Program says on page 33, under Tradition Six,…”If we mentioned names of therapists, treatment centers, or self help books in our meetings or advertised them in S-Anon publications, we would seem to be endorsing them and associating the S-Anon name with them…” The same could be true of inviting outside speakers to participate in S-Anon events. The outside speaker may bring along promotional products, their own agenda, philosophy, etc which may imply endorsement and association.
The S-Anon/S-Ateen WSO maintains a list of members willing to speak at events. This list, called the Speaker Pool, can be accessed by calling or emailing the WSO at www.sanon,org.
If a group does decide to invite an outside or professional speaker to participate at an S-Anon/S-Ateen event, several guidelines should be carefully considered:
• The person should be knowledgeable about S-Anon and S-Ateen.
• The event or meeting would be considered an Open event or meeting, not a closed S-Anon event. Therefore, open to the public, open to anyone who wishes to attend, including those who do not qualify for S-Anon.
• It is suggested that outside speakers be made aware of our Sixth Tradition in advance, “S-Anon/S-Ateen is not affiliated with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization or institution.” This would be the responsibility of the S-Anon event committee.
• It is suggested that a disclaimer be included in some form, such as published on the event flyer, within the event announcements, and/or repeated before the speaker begins. Suggested wording is as follows: “The opinions expressed here are those of the individual only, and do not reflect the message of recovery in S-Anon or S-Ateen.”
Regarding the use of the S-Anon/S-Ateen name.
The S-Anon/S-Ateen name and logo are trademarked. The S-Anon WSO can grant permission to use the S-Anon/S-Ateen name, but the logo can only be used by the S-Anon WSO. The S-Anon/S-Ateen name cannot be used to identify or publicize retreats, marathons, meetings, professional speakers or activities sponsored by others, including any other 12 step group. This applies when most or even all of the participants are members of S-Anon/S-Ateen. In order to avoid any appearance of S-Anon/S-Ateen affiliation, it is important to keep promotion of such events outside of S-Anon/S-Ateen meetings and meeting locations, websites, email distribution lists, Inter group communications, social media blasts, announcements, flyers, etc.
S-Anon/S-Ateen may cooperate with SA and other Twelve-Step fellowships as long as S-Anon/S-Ateen plans its own program and holds its own meetings.
Updated January 2020
Traditions Considerations when Cooperating with Other Entities. The Traditions considerations listed below can guide S-Anon planning committees when we are cooperating with an outside entity to carry the S-Anon message.
• Tradition One: The S-Anon portion of the event is entirely managed by S-Anon alone. As practiced in all S-Anon meetings, only S-Anon CAL and Service Literature is used, and the S-Anon meeting format, anonymity, and all S-Anon principles and guidelines are observed. Even in “open” S-Anon sessions at events, it is still an S-Anon meeting.
• Traditions One, Two and Four: To promote the unity of the local group(s), the decision to cooperate with another entity in this manner is best reached by substantial unanimity among the groups involved. Before the final decision is made to cooperate with another entity, S-Anon groups in the local area are consulted. S-Anon cooperation with any local entity, when conducted in accordance with S-Anon Traditions, does not affect “…S-Anon as a whole.”
• Tradition Three: S-Anon is a spiritual program, open to anyone who qualifies. The event itself, and/or the S-Anon portion of the event, must be open to all who have registered for the event as S-Anon members or who recognize during the event that they qualify for S-Anon. (Please check with the host committee about registering for S-Anon after the event has started.)
• Tradition Five: If S-Anon Traditions and Principles cannot be observed in the context of full participation in an event, it is suggested we not participate, but rather consider making S-Anon literature and/or the local or WSO contact phone number or website address available.
• Tradition Six: When considering S-Anon participation in an event, S-Anon groups can cooperate with other entities, including institutions, the professional community, or by extension, other Twelve Step groups, in furthering our primary purpose, i.e., to help families of sexaholics.
• Tradition Seven: No S-Anon funds are used to support another entity, nor does S-Anon accept financial support from another entity. Separate Seventh Tradition collections are held, so that the S-Anon Seventh Tradition collection can be directed specifically to those who identify themselves as S-Anon members. It is important to hold a Tradition Seven collection at any event with S-Anon/S-Ateen participation to help support the local S-Anon community and the S-Anon WSO.
• Tradition Eleven: The fellowship of S-Anon is not meant to be anonymous. The reason S-Anon exists is to help the families of sexaholics.
Last Updated December 2017