Welcome to S-Anon!
Let us assure you that no matter what feelings you may be having right now, other members of S-Anon have felt similar emotions. If this is your first contact with a Twelve-Step program, you may have some questions about what we do at meetings and how our group works.
Questions About Meetings
Meetings are a vital part of the S-Anon program, providing us with the opportunity to identify and confirm common problems and to hear the experience, strength, and hope of others. Read what some S-Anon members remember about their first meetings.
Before we went to an S-Anon meeting, some of us had some interesting or fearful ideas about who we might see there, but S-Anon members are people from all walks of life: wives, husbands, lovers, sisters, brothers, children and parents of sexaholics. We are simply people whose lives have been deeply affected by another person’s sexaholism.
While teenagers may attend S-Anon meetings, they are encouraged to join the S-Ateen Fellowship which welcomes young people, ages 12 to 19, who have been affected by the sexual behavior of someone close to them. Read more about S-Ateen.
Meetings provide a safe place to say what is in our hearts and on our minds, but there is no need to say anything about your situation until you feel comfortable doing so. You are free to just listen, especially at your first meeting.
- It is customary at most meetings to introduce ourselves by first name only.
- There will probably be some reading from S-Anon conference-approved literature, that is, material which focuses on the S-Anon approach to recovery. (Conference-approved literature includes only material published by S-Anon, Sexaholics Anonymous, Al-Anon or AA.)
- A topic will probably be introduced. Sometimes, the meeting leader will call on those who indicate they want to share. Other groups decide to have members share in turn by going around in a circle, or use other methods to give each member an equal time to share.
- We give each other the opportunity to speak without interruption, avoiding “cross-talk” (give-and-take discussion, or any comments directed at other members) or advice-giving. We share what is in our hearts, and focus on listening to others so we can gain insight into our own problems. We try to watch the length of time we speak so that everyone present will have an opportunity to share if they wish to.
- When the sharing is finished, the leader closes the meeting, and people usually stay for a few minutes after the meeting to talk with each other.
Not all you hear at any particular meeting will pertain to you. That is why we say “Take what you liked and leave the rest.” That is also why we suggest you attend at least six meetings before you decide whether S-Anon is for you.
The people you hear at meetings may not have the same set of circumstances as your own, but you will probably be able to identify with some of their feelings. In S-Anon we discover that there is hope for changing our own lives. We hear others, who were once in the same or even worse situations, tell how they are solving their problems and growing into the people they want to be. We learn from other members how they used the S-Anon program and principles to solve problems similar to those we are now facing. Whether or not our friends or relatives ever seek recovery, becoming aware of our own self-defeating behavior in a safe environment like S-Anon is a major step toward freedom and recovery.
It is very important to all S-Anon members to respect each other’s anonymity; it is the key to feeling safe to share whatever we need to share. We should not discuss who we see at meetings, or what is said there, even with our partners. In S-Anon we use first names and last initials only, unless it is our choice to tell someone our full name. We should never reveal the identity of another S-Anon member without that person’s consent.
No. Like all Twelve-Step programs, S-Anon is spiritual, not religious. It is spiritual in the sense that we come to depend upon a Power greater than ourselves – a Power that we are free to define as we wish – to help us to solve our problems and achieve peace of mind.
The Twelve Steps contain principles that are universal, applicable to everyone, so it is not necessary to practice any religion in order to put them into practice. S-Anon is meant to be helpful to everyone, regardless of their particular faith, so at meetings we avoid discussion of specific religious faiths, beliefs, and publications (such as the Bible, Koran, etc.).
All of us do, but we have group leaders or chairpersons who are chosen by the group for short periods of time to help things run smoothly. We do not have any authorities or experts, and no one person speaks for S-Anon.
There are no dues or fees to be a member of S-Anon. We pass a basket at meetings and people voluntarily contribute what they can afford. The money is used to pay rent for the meeting place, provide S-Anon conference-approved literature for the group, and to support the S-Anon World Service Office (WSO). We do not solicit or accept outside contributions.
Meeting locations can be found on our Meeting Locations page or by contacting the S-Anon International Family Groups World Service Office.