Sa meeting format

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SA MEETING FORMAT

LEADER READS: Good morning; my name is <First names only>, and I'm a gratefully recovering Sexaholic. Welcome to this meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous.
This is a closed meeting. Only those desiring their own personal sexual sobriety, please." Due to the nature of our addiction and the need for unity in the group, we ask that members speak, behave, and dress with modesty.

THE SA PURPOSE
Sexaholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober. There are no dues or fees for SA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. SA 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 stay sexually sober and help others to achieve sexual sobriety. We welcome Sexaholics of any sexual orientation who wish to do the same.
VISITORS: Is there anyone here tonight who is visiting from another group or out of town?
NEWCOMERS: Is there anyone here tonight who is attending their very first meeting of Sexaholics Anonymous?
<If newcomer(s) is(are) present, the Leader welcomes the newcomer(s), announces to the newcomer(s) that someone will after the meeting to discuss the SA program and present them with SA literature. Then two members with greater than 6 months (1+ year if present) take the newcomer outside to read “NEWCOMER READINGS” on page 6-7 before returning to meeting.>

INTRODUCTIONS: Let's take a minute to introduce ourselves by first name only and state our length of sexual sobriety. I'll begin, and well go around the room to my right.

"My name is, I'm a Sexaholic, and I've been sexually sober for "
Would you please join me in a moment of silence for the sexaholic who is still suffering followed by the serenity prayer: <Brief Silence>
SERENITY PRAYER: <All together> 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.


NEWCOMER MEETINGS: One, two or three sober SA members tell their stories, following the traditional outline of "what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now." Speakers must have had at least 6 months of sexual sobriety. Use of notes or prepared speeches is discouraged. It is better to speak from the heart. We don't "tell,” we "share."



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, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. 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 lust-cunning, baffling, and powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power--that one is God. May you find Him now. <Brief Silence>
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon. Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:


The 12 Steps

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over lust--that our lives had become unmanageable.

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.


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

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

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

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

  1. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to sexaholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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, that 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 personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:


(a) That we were sexaholics and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our sexahohism.



(c) That God could and would if He were sought!

THE TWELVE TRADITIONS OF SEXAHOLICS ANONYMOUS

LEADER ASKS FOR PERSON TO READ FIRST 3 AND TRADITION OF MONTH (if April – Dec):

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on SA unity

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

  3. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober.

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

  5. Each group has but one primary purpose--to carry its message to the sexaholic who still suffers.

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

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

  8. Sexaholics Anonymous should remain forever non- professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

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

  10. Sexaholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the SA name ought never be drawn in to 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, films, and TV.


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


DESIRE CHIPS: Is there anyone that wants a desire chip, indicating your desire to stay sober for the next 24 hours?
SOBRIETY DATES: Are there any sobriety dates to celebrate (weekly or monthly celebrations, or any annual birthdays)?
ANNOUNCEMENTS: Are there any SA-related announcements?

SEVENTH TRADITION: As indicated by our Seventh Tradition, "We have no dues or fees but we are self-supporting through our own contributions." Contributions are used to purchase new literature, tapes, CDs, & chips, cover administrative costs such as the voicemail line and website, and support SA International. The basket will be passed midway through the meeting.

MEETING FOCUS: In participation, we avoid topics that can lead to dissension or distraction. We also avoid explicit sexual descriptions and sexually abusive language. The emphasis is on honesty, recovery, and healing--how to apply the Twelve Steps and Traditions in our daily lives. No cross-talk, please. If someone feels another is getting too explicit, they may so signify by quietly raising their hand. When possible, we ask that only those with greater than 30 days of sobriety share initially so we set a tone of solution for the meeting, and that shares are limited to 3-5 minutes. NOTE: Do not share any felony for which you have not been adjudicated else we will be required to inform law officials to protect the injured.

MEETING SHARING: Leader begins participation or calls on someone else.


SUGGESTED FORMAT

BOOK- OR STEP-STUDY MEETINGS: We read from Sexaholics Anonymous (White Book). The leader then opens it up to discussion. The aim is to see how we can learn to apply the Step and use it in our own lives. We try always to see the difference between mere understanding and belief and actually putting that principle into action in all areas of our lives.



CONCLUSION: Anything you have heard at this meeting is strictly the opinion of the individual participant; the principles of SA are found in our Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. Remember that we never identify ourselves publicly with SA in the press, radio, TV, or films. Neither does anyone speak for SA. This is an anonymous program. Please keep the name, address, and phone number of anyone you meet or learn about in SA to yourself. And what we say here, let it stay here when we leave here.
<All Together> “Hear! Hear!”

LEADER ASKS SOMEONE TO READ EITHER “Sobriety Renewal,” “The 9th Step Promises,” and/or "A Vision for You.”

SOBRIETY RENEWAL
Let us renew our sobriety together today. I will read four questions; we will answer honestly together:


  1. Can you, with me, admit that you are utterly powerless over the impulses and fantasies of lust?

  2. And at the same time, with me, can you claim and own at this moment desire in your heart to spend the next 24 hours free from entertaining lust or acting it out?

  3. Are you willing to do whatever you need to do to protect this desire for sobriety by turning to your Higher Power when tempted, deepening it by reading literature, and strengthening it by reaching out to others when necessary as you are now?
  4. Finally, are you willing to hand over, just for these 24 hours, your will and life to the care of the Higher Power who has protected you from the full consequences of your lust?




THE 9th STEP PROMISES
<Everyone is invited to read along. 4 sentences per paragraph make it easier to memorize.>
(1) If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through. (2) We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. (3) We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. (4) We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
(1) No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. (2) That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear. (3) We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. (4) Self-seeking will slip away.
(1) Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. (2) Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. (3) We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. (4) We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises?
<All Together> “We think not!”
They are being fulfilled among us – sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.

(Alcoholics Anonymous, pp.83-84)



A VISION FOR YOU

We realize we know only a little. God will constantly disclose more to you and to us. Ask Him in your morning meditation what you can do each day for the man who is still sick. The answers will come, if your own house is in order. But obviously you cannot transmit something you haven't got. See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others. This is the Great Fact for us.

Abandon yourself to God as you understand God. Admit your faults to Him and to your fellows. Clear away the wreckage of your past. Give freely of what you find and join us. We shall be with you in the Fellowship of the Spirit, and you will surely meet some of us as you trudge the Road of Happy Destiny. May God bless you and keep you--until then.

(Alcoholics Anonymous, p.164)

MEETING CLOSING
<Stand in a circle and holding hands>
LORD’S PRAYER: <All Together>
Our Father, who art in heaven, Hallowed be thy Name.

Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done, On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses, As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation, But deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.

"KEEP COMING BACK! IT WORKS IF YOU WORK IT AND WE'RE WORTH IT!"



OPTIONAL PRAYERS

THIRD STEP PRAYER: <All Together> God, I offer myself to Thee – To build with me and do with me as Thou wilt. Relieve me of the bondage of self, that I may better do Thy will. Take away my difficulties, that victory over them may bear witness to those I would help of Thy Power, Thy Love, and Thy Way of Life. May I do Thy will always! Amen.

(Alcoholics Anonymous, pp.63)

SEVENTH STEP PRAYER: <All Together> My Creator, I am now willing that You should have all of me, good and bad. I pray that You now remove from me every single defect of character which stands in the way of my usefulness to You and my fellows. Grant me strength, as I go out from here, to do your bidding. Amen.

(Alcoholics Anonymous, pp.76)



NEWCOMER READINGS

LEADER ASKS FOR PERSONS TO READ THE FOLLOWING FOUR SELECTIONS:


WHAT IS A SEXAHOLIC AND WHAT IS SEXUAL SOBRIETY?

We can only speak for ourselves. The specialized nature of Sexaholics Anonymous can best be understood in terms of what we call the Sexaholic. The Sexaholic has taken himself or herself out of the whole context of what is right or wrong. He or she has lost control, no longer has the power of choice, and is not free to stop. Lust has become an addiction. Our situation is like that of the alcoholic who can no longer tolerate alcohol and must stop drinking all together, but is hooked and cannot stop. So it is with the Sexaholic, or sex drunk, who can no longer tolerate lust but cannot stop.

Thus, for the Sexaholic, any form of sex with one's self or with partners other than in a committed relationship is progressively addictive and destructive. We also see that lust is the driving force behind our sexual acting out, and true sobriety includes progressive victory over lust. These conclusions were forced upon us in the crucible of our experiences and recovery; we have no other options. But we have found that acceptance of these facts is the key to a happy and joyous freedom we could otherwise never know.

This will and should discourage many inquirers who admit to sexual obsession or compulsion, but who simply want to control and enjoy it, much as the alcoholic would like to control and enjoy drinking. Until we had been driven to the point of despair, until we really wanted to stop but could not, we did not give ourselves to this simple program of recovery. Sexaholics Anonymous is for those who know they have no other option but to stop, and their own enlightened self-interest must tell them this.


THE PROBLEM
Many of us felt inadequate, unworthy, alone, and afraid. Our insides never matched what we saw on the outsides of others. Early on, we came to feel disconnected from parents, from peers, from ourselves. We tuned out with fantasy and masturbation. We plugged in by drinking in the pictures, the images, and pursuing the objects of our fantasies. We lusted and wanted to be lusted after. We became true addicts: sex with self, promiscuity, adultery, dependency relationships, and more fantasy. We got it through the eyes; we bought it, we sold it, we traded it, we gave it away. We were addicted to the intrigue, the tease, the forbidden. The only way we knew to be free of it was to do it. "Please connect with me and make me whole!" we cried with outstretched arms.

Lusting after the "Big Fix," we gave away our power to others. This produced guilt, self-hatred, remorse, emptiness, and pain, and we were driven ever inward, away from reality, away from love, lost inside ourselves. Our habit made true intimacy impossible. We could never know real union with another because we were addicted to the unreal. We went for the "chemistry:" the connection that had the magic, because it bypassed true intimacy and true union. Fantasy corrupted the real; lust killed love. First addicts, then love cripples, we took from others to fill up what was lacking in ourselves. Conning ourselves time and again that the next one would save us, we were really losing our lives.


THE SOLUTION

We saw that our problem was threefold: physical, emotional, and spiritual. Healing had to come about in all three. The crucial change in attitude began when we admitted we were powerless, that our habit had us whipped. We came to meetings and withdrew from our habit. For some, this meant no sex with themselves or others, including not getting into relationships. For others it also meant "drying out" and not having sex with their committed partner for a time to recover from lust.

We discovered that we could stop, that not feeding the hunger didn't kill us, that sex was indeed optional. There was hope for freedom, and we began to feel alive. Encouraged to continue, we turned more and more away from our isolating obsession with sex and self and turned to God and others. All this was scary. We couldn't see the path ahead, except that others had gone that way before.

Each new step of surrender felt it would be off the edge into oblivion, but we took it. And instead of killing us, surrender was killing the obsession! We had stepped into the light, into a whole new way of life. The fellowship gave us monitoring and support to keep us from being overwhelmed, a safe haven where we could finally face ourselves. Instead of covering our feelings with compulsive sex, we began exposing the roots of our spiritual emptiness and hunger. And the healing began.

As we faced our defects, we became willing to change; surrendering them broke the power they had over us. We began to be more comfortable with ourselves and others for the first time without our "drug!" Forgiving all who had injured us, and without injuring others, we tried to right our own wrongs. At each amends, more of the dreadful load of guilt dropped from our shoulders, until we could lift our heads, look the world in the eye, and stand free.

We began practicing a positive sobriety, taking the actions of love to improve our relations with others. We were learning how to give; and the measure we gave was the measure we got back. We were finding what none of the substitutes had ever supplied. We were making the real Connection. We were home.


TO THE NEWCOMER – A CAUTION
We suggest that newcomers to Sexaholics Anonymous not reveal their sexual past to a spouse or family member who does not already know of it, without careful consideration and a period of sexual sobriety, and even then, only after prior discussion with an SA sponsor or group. Typically, when we come into the program, we want to share our excitement with those closest to us and tell all right away. Such disclosures might injure family or others and should be confined to the group of which we are a part until a wise course is indicated. Of course, if there is any chance we have put others in danger, we take immediate steps to try to correct that.

Few things can so damage the possibility of healing in a family as a premature confession to spouse or family where sacred bonds and trust have been violated. Unwittingly, such confessions can be attempts on our part to dump our guilt, get back into good graces, or make just another show of willpower. Great caution is advised here.



Amends to family must begin with a sexually sober, changed attitude and behavior on a daily basis. Then, as we grow in recovery, we will find how to make direct amends. Help from sponsor and group is indispensible here. There’s always a way, if we really want to make things right.

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