Explanatory Notes: Meetings should open and close on time, but there is no rigid formula for an S-Ateen meeting. The meeting format is included as a convenient general outline for a new group, and can be particularly helpful if no one in the group has attended any Twelve Step meetings. Because S-Ateen groups are autonomous, not every group will choose to plan its meeting in this way. However, this is the S-Anon/S-Ateen International Family Groups Conference Approved format, which means that it reflects the experience of a wide variety of S-Ateen individuals and groups.
We suggest that you start with the format and adapt or vary it to suit the needs of your group. All included readings are Conference Approved. Keep in mind that “adaptation” of the meeting format does not mean substituting readings that have not been Conference Approved (Tradition One) or changing or altering any words in the S-Ateen Conference Approved readings. (Literature published by S-Anon, S- Ateen, SA, Al-Anon, Alateen and AA is considered Conference Approved for use in an S-Ateen meeting.)
S-Ateen meetings are conducted separately from those of S-Anon and are guided by adult S-Anon members serving as S-Ateen sponsors. S-Ateen sponsors take their turn during the meeting to share on the topic, Step, or Tradition along with the teens. The sponsors share from their “teen years” and what they may remember growing up. It is suggested that sponsors have one year in S-Anon, have completed or are working the Twelve Steps, and attend S-Anon meetings regularly. It’s also suggested that a sponsor not be the parent of a potential S-Ateen member. Even if the parent insists there are no family secrets, it can result in a teen not feeling free to share in the meeting. Most S-Ateen groups start with two S-Ateen sponsors. Some groups have four or more sponsors, and find a rotating schedule that provides for at least two sponsors in attendance at each meeting works well. This also gives the teens the opportunity to hear other members’ stories.
It is important to remember that the S-Ateen meeting belongs to the teens. It is for them, run by them, and the S-Ateen Sponsors act as “guides” to help make sure the Meeting Guidelines and Traditions are followed.
Further suggestions for successful meetings can be found in S-Ateen—Information about Sponsorship and Meetings and in the section of the S-Anon/S-Ateen Service Manual entitled “Suggested Readings for S-Anon/S-Ateen Meetings.” (The S-Anon/ S-Ateen Service Manual replaces the S-Anon Group Handbook.)
SUGGESTED FORMAT FOR S-ATEEN MEETINGS
[Note: Bold italic type in the meeting format below shows items to be read aloud.]
In keeping with Tradition One, our common welfare comes first. We ask members to turn off all pagers and cell phones or place them in silent mode during the meeting. If you must answer a call during the meeting, please step out of the room to do so.
1. Will all those who care to, join me in a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer.
2. Hi, I’m __________, your leader for this meeting.
3. Will someone please read The S-Ateen Welcome?
4. The S-Ateen Preamble to the Twelve Steps describes the purpose of our group.
[S-Ateen Preamble to the Twelve Steps may be read by the leader or another member.]
5. Here are the Twelve Steps we follow which are suggested for our recovery:
[The S-Ateen Twelve Steps are read. A group may choose to pass a copy of the Steps around the room so that each member has a chance to read one or more of the Steps, or one member may read all the Steps.]
6. Our group experience suggests that the unity of the S-Ateen Groups depends upon our adherence to the following Traditions:
[The S-Ateen Twelve Traditions are read. The group may choose to pass a copy of the Traditions around the room so that each member has a chance to read one or more of the Traditions, or one member may read all the Traditions.]
7. Newcomer Welcome
[At this point in the meeting, the group leader asks if newcomers are present and, if so, extends a welcome as decided by the group, assuring them that they are free to share or remain silent, as they wish. If a Newcomer Meeting is available, that information can be given at this point.]
8. Introduction by First Name
[Group members may introduce themselves by first name only. The group may instead wait until later in the meeting for members to introduce themselves and join in saying the Serenity Prayer, so that those arriving late can be included.]
[At this point the leader may read, or ask a member to read, one or more of the following:]
9. We are seeking recovery from our own progressive illness.
[The S-Ateen Problem may be read at this time.]
10. Our recovery depends upon our willingness to adopt new ways of thinking about ourselves and our problems.
[Keys to S-Ateen Recovery may be read at this time]
11. There are three Obstacles to Recovery in S-Ateen.
[Obstacles to Recovery may be read at this time.]
12. Meeting Guidelines
Because our common welfare comes first, here are the guidelines for sharing during our meeting:
We have been brought together by one common problem; let us concentrate on that. We leave our other identities outside the discussion, other Twelve Step issues, philosophies, religions, therapies, and occupations.
We resist the temptation to gossip and discourage it in others. Anything that is hurtful to one member takes away from the strength of the group.
There are no bosses or self-appointed leaders in S-Ateen; all members are equal.
We are patient with those who are slow to grasp the principles of the S-Ateen program. Each person must progress in his or her own way and time. We help each other by telling our experiences and how we have handled or solved similar problems.
We focus on the Twelve Steps during the meeting. Applying the Twelve Steps to our problems helps make our lives more peaceful and fulfilling. Let us not defeat our meeting’s purpose by wasting time socializing or complaining. We are here to share about the solution rather than the problem.
Each individual member has his or her own time to share without being interrupted. We share with the group as a whole rather than addressing comments or questions to individual members. We do not mention specific titles and authors of publications other than S-Anon Conference Approved Literature (SA, S-Anon, S-Ateen, Al-Anon, Alateen, and AA Literature).
This is a place where our feelings are honored. One way we do that is to keep our hands to ourselves during the meeting. After the meeting we can ask for a hug or handshake. We can also politely say no to a hug if it doesn’t feel right.
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program. This means we keep in confidence everything that is said at meetings as well as whom we see in meetings. When members are assured that their attendance and sharing at S-Ateen will not be revealed outside the group, trust is built and they feel encouraged to speak freely. Knowing that “you can tell anything” to fellow S-Ateens has rich rewards for all, so we are careful to observe the principle of anonymity.
Please read the following at any S-Ateen meeting where newcomers are present. It may be helpful to discuss this point in more detail.
S-Ateen is a safe place to share, but we want to inform all members that if any ongoing, unresolved sexual abuse of children that has not been dealt with previously is shared in the S-Ateen meeting, it is the legal responsibility of the Sponsor to report this to the proper authorities.
13. Leader Qualifies (optional)
[The leader may take about five minutes to “qualify” (talk about his/her membership in S-Ateen). This is particularly helpful if a special Newcomer Meeting is not available. The leader tells, from a recovery point of view, what he or she was like before S-Ateen, how his or her life has changed, and how he or she in general has come to terms with the family disease of sexaholism. For a newly founded group, this might be done by an S-Ateen sponsor for the first month or two before handing the responsibility to the teen members. The S-Ateen sponsors will remain in the room throughout the meeting to provide support and guidance.]
14. Meeting Opened for Sharing.
[Leader announces the topic of the meeting (for example, a Step, Tradition, slogan, or other topic from Conference Approved literature). When a newcomer is present, the group may choose to stay together for a First Step Meeting, or one or two members might meet separately with the newcomer for a special Newcomer Meeting.]
15. Our Seventh Tradition states that every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
[Pass a basket or envelope for collection of Seventh Tradition contributions. For the benefit of newcomers, the groups may say something like, “If this is your first meeting, we would like you to be our guest and not contribute.” Some groups choose to take two collections, one to cover group expenses and one to support S-Ateen Twelfth Step work such as a local S-Anon/S-Ateen Intergroup, a local contact phone line, or services provided by our World Service Office.]
16. Announcements and Reports
[Leader asks if there are any S-Ateen-related announcements, which might include a group Secretary or Treasurer’s report.]
17. Closing Reminder
[The leader reads the Closing Reminder.]
This is an anonymous program. We ask all members to respect our anonymity. The stories you hear are told in confidence and should not be repeated outside. The opinions expressed here were strictly those of the person who gave them. Take what you like and leave the rest. The stories are told so that we might better understand this program and ourselves, and to give encouragement and help to the newcomer, so we may keep what we have been given. Talk to each other, reason things out with someone else, but let there be no gossip or criticism of one another. Instead, let the understanding, love and peace of the program grow in you one day at a time.
18. Will those who care to do so, join us in the closing prayer.
[Leader asks someone to lead the group in saying the Serenity Prayer or other prayer from Conference Approved literature that is acceptable to the group.]