S-Anon is based on the 12 Step support model for recovery. This model is a widely used tool for spiritual and personal growth and can help current or former friends, family members, or spouses of sex addicts build the tools necessary to live healthy and happy lives. Through working the Steps, our members find the tools and resources to begin and maintain their recovery.
While there is no guaranteed way to help your loved one stop their compulsive behaviors, S-Anon can help you learn how to cope with the difficult emotions, challenges, and trials of dealing with a loved one’s sex addiction. Our program offers addiction support for families and friends of sex addicts to help them recover from their impact and build a support network to help each other find spiritual support for their healing process.
How S-Anon Can Help
While each person’s situation may be somewhat different, we all share a common connection with other S-Anon members: our lives and well-being have been affected by a loved one’s sex addiction.
S-Anon provides support to people who are living with or have lived with this experience. Those who love a person with sexaholism or have been affected by another’s sexual behavior face a unique set of challenges and obstacles to living a better life. Sexaholism affects more than the addicted person; it also affects friends, families, and entire communities.
By bringing together people who share this common experience, S-Anon can become a valuable fellowship for friends, partners, family members, parents, and spouses of sex addicts to share experience, strength, and hope as they work toward recovery.
While individual relationships with sex addicts may be different, sex addiction has similar effects on every member of S-Anon. Sharing with one another and learning how the principles of S-Anon have transformed members’ lives can benefit anyone who has lived with the sex addiction of another person.
The S-Anon Program
The S-Anon program offers several key tools to aid in your recovery: S-Anon meetings, S-Anon literature, the S-Anon 12 Steps, and passing recovery along to others. Making use of the addiction support for families and friends S-Anon offers has helped thousands of people live healthier lives despite their loved one’s sex addiction.
An S-Anon meeting is a great way to learn about the S-Anon program. There is no cost for attending these meetings. They provide a space for members to share about our common problem of being affected by another’s sex addiction and to hear the experience, strength, and hope of others.
Everything that happens in S-Anon meetings is strictly confidential. Anonymity is of the utmost importance, and it is one of S-Anon’s key guiding principles. We request that everyone you see and everything you hear in meetings stays in the rooms to maintain this principle of anonymity.
In-person meetings are held in cities across the United States, Canada, and several other countries. If there are no meetings available near you, or if you’d prefer to attend from home, phone and online platform meetings are available every day of the week.
A typical meeting lasts about an hour and provides a safe space for members to share without interruption about their personal struggles related to a loved one’s sex addiction. Each meeting is slightly different, but you can expect to learn more about the S-Anon 12 Steps at each one and hear how other members have applied these Steps to situations in their own lives.
S-Anon meetings usually focus on a different topic each week as decided by the group. For this reason, we recommend that newcomers attend at least six meetings before deciding whether S-Anon is for them.
The very essence of S-Anon is that the entire program is “suggested.” Therefore, we invite you to listen to what is shared at meetings, then “take what you like and leave the rest.” When you feel comfortable, you are free to share your own experiences. Many of us have found a greater level of empathy and understanding than ever before.
S-Anon literature represents the S-Anon point of view regarding our recovery and the effects of another person’s sex addiction. Our literature is written by S-Anon members and offers our common experience about recovery from the family disease of sex addiction. Our literature, including S-Anon Twelve Steps and Working the S-Anon Program, can be purchased from our online store, or found at a meeting near your home.
The S-Anon Twelve Steps
The S-Anon 12 Steps are the core of our recovery framework and serve as a recovery road map. While the Steps cannot change the behavior of your loved ones, they can help you to find strength, serenity, and personal growth, despite the actions of others.
Our steps are based upon the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which have helped millions of people worldwide achieve recovery from alcoholism.
S-Anon Twelve Steps*:
- We admitted we were powerless over sexaholism—that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we are wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
We have found that working these Steps, that is, putting the principles of the Steps into practice in our lives, brings about our recovery from the effects of living with the sex addiction of a family member or friend.
The S-Anon Steps and program are described and explained in depth in our literature, including S-Anon Twelve Steps and Working the S-Anon Program. You can purchase this literature from our online store or find it at a meeting near your home.
S-Anon Service Work
S-Anon has always been, and will always be, a completely free program that is self-supported by our own members.
We encourage members to carry the S-Anon message of recovery to others through service as suggested in Step Twelve. Acts of service could include setting up chairs or literature for a meeting, being a contact person, leading an S-Anon meeting, or sharing your experience of working the 12 Steps with other members. Taking action to serve others not only helps the group and S-Anon as a whole, but it also helps us to feel part of the group and boosts our own recovery.
Who Attends S-Anon
S-Anon’s doors are open to people from all walks of life. The only requirement for S-Anon membership is a problem of sexaholism in a family member or friend. S-Anon is for:
- Partners and spouses of sex addicts
- Friends of sex addicts
- Relatives of sex addicts, including siblings or parents
- Adult children of sex addicts
- Anyone who has been affected by the sexaholism of someone close to them such as a teacher, mentor, or boss.
We know how difficult dealing with the compulsive sexual behavior of a loved one can be, and we’re here to help you through it.
Note: There is also S-Ateen, a Twelve Step recovery program for young people ages 12-19 who have been affected by the sexual behavior of someone close to them.
A Place to Find Hope and Help
When a loved one is struggling with sex addiction, you might feel alone, isolated, ashamed, and afraid. Few people can truly understand the impact that another’s sex addiction can have on someone, and you might fear judgment, discrimination, or misunderstanding when talking about your struggles with others. Providing sex addiction support for families and friends gives them a safe space to heal and reflect.
In S-Anon, everyone has had similar experiences with a loved one’s addiction. Our group is one of the few places available to help people who have gone through this unique challenge.
Our members strive to be welcoming, empathetic, and supportive of those who are going through difficult times. We’ve been there ourselves—and have devoted our time to giving back to others.
S-Anon is a place where you can be heard, understood, and accepted as you are. Our community is growing every day, and we’d be happy to welcome you to our fellowship.
How Do I Get Started?
We encourage anyone seeking help with the effects of living with a sexaholic to download our Welcome Packet, which gives a brief overview of our program and principles, and can help you start the path to recovery.
When you’re ready, use our meeting finder to find an in-person meeting near you or a virtual platform or phone meeting that you can attend from the comfort of home. As a new member, we encourage you to attend several meetings to hear many members’ stories and discover how S-Anon can help you heal.
(*The Twelve Steps are reprinted and adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. Permission to reprint and adapt the Twelve Steps does not mean that AA has approved the contents of this work, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only. Use of the Twelve Steps in connection with programs which are patterned after AA but which address other problems does not imply otherwise.)
T H E T W E L V E S T E P S O F A L C O H O L I C S A N O N Y M O U S: 1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—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 Him. 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 Him 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 Him, praying only for knowledge of His 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 alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.