We understand that you may have questions. Responses to some common questions can be found below.  In addition, a more in-depth explanation of the S-Anon program and how to apply the principles of the 12 Steps can be found in our S-Anon literature, including the book Working the S-Anon Program and the newcomer booklet We’re Glad You’re Here.

Before we went to an S-Anon meeting, some of us had some interesting or fearful ideas about who we might see there. S-Anon members are people whose lives have been affected by another person’s sexual behavior regardless of sexual orientation, gender, denomination, or race, whether in a relationship or not, parents, children, relatives, friends, and others. S-Anon offers meetings for friends and family members of sex addicts, and is for everyone who believes they may find help here.

In fact, the only requirement for attending an S-Anon meeting is that a relative or friend struggles with sex addiction. If this applies to you, you are always welcome at an S-Anon meeting.

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.

S-Anon is open to anyone affected by another who has a problem of sexaholism, regardless of their particular compulsive sexual behaviors. If your loved one struggles with sex addiction, you are welcome in S-Anon.

No matter what manifestation of sexaholism you may have encountered in a relative or friend, let us assure you that you are not alone.  You may or may not have encountered any or all of the following: sexual affairs with women or men, sex with children in or outside of the family, sex with prostitutes or other strangers, telephone sex or other use of the electronic media, compulsive use of pornography or masturbation, fantasy, voyeurism, exhibitionism, masochism, sadism, sexual violence, withholding sex, or something else – we assure you that you are not alone.  When you talk with S-Anon members, you will find others who have lived with the same types of sexaholic behavior and have experienced similar feelings or reactions to sexaholism.  Even if you feel that your situation is unique when attending your first S-Anon meeting, you can be certain that someone in the S-Anon fellowship has also had similar experiences and feelings.

We encourage newcomers to S-Anon meetings to listen to the stories they hear from others and to hear the experience and hope that is shared, rather than focus on any specific behaviors mentioned. In S-Anon, we have come to understand that we are not responsible for the actions of others; our solution depends on focusing on our own personal path of recovery.

As a newcomer, sharing at an S-Anon meeting may seem daunting. There is no need to worry—everyone has been a newcomer at some point and remembers what it was like.

There is no pressure to share at your first meeting. In fact, many people find it beneficial to simply listen at their first S-Anon meeting rather than sharing right away.

At some meetings, there will be an opportunity for newcomer introductions during the meeting. This is as simple as stating you are new to the group and sharing your first name.

When you’ve attended a few S-Anon meetings and feel ready to share, it is requested that members focus on themselves and how they have been affected by another’s sexual addiction rather than on that person’s behaviors or acting out. In-depth sharing of specific details of our problems is usually best reserved for one-on-one conversations with another member outside meetings.

S-Anon shares many of the same principles and format of other 12 Step groups but is specifically a 12 Step group for friends and families of sex addicts.

S-Anon meetings provide a path to spiritual and personal growth for friends and family members of sex addicts.

If you’ve attended a 12 Step group before, you may notice a similar structure to our meetings.  We also use the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, but have adapted them to speak to issues addressed in S-Anon.

S-Anon is not a program for the sex addict, nor will it stop your loved one’s compulsive sexual behavior. Instead, our meetings are for the family members and friends of sex addicts.  S-Anon meetings focus on applying the principles of the S-Anon 12 Steps to our lives and recovering from the effects and challenges of living with a person who is a sex addict.

In S-Anon, we begin to realize and accept that just as we did not cause the sexaholic’s acting out, we cannot cure it either.  We are powerless to change the behaviors of others. This is inherent in Step One of S-Anon. Until we accept that we cannot change our loved one’s behaviors, we cannot begin the work of finding healing and serenity for ourselves.

Your loved one needs to find their own path to recovery. In S-Anon, we learn it is not our job to keep the sexaholic sexually sober.  Instead, it is our job to manage our own lives, whether or not the sexaholic chooses recovery.

In-person S-Anon meetings are held in cities across the United State, Canada, and several other countries.  Most S-Anon groups meet weekly, but some may meet more or less often—each group decides what works best for them.

If you can’t find a meeting near you that works for your schedule, or if you’d prefer to attend from home, phone and online platform meetings are available every day of the week.

S-Anon has several resources available for the relatives and friends of people who are struggling with sexual addiction. Resources include S-Anon meetings as well as a wide range of S-Anon recovery literature.

Some of the suggested literature for understanding and working with the S-Anon program includes:

Working The S-Anon Program Book

Working the S-Anon Program outlines how S-Anon members “work” the program by examining attitudes and past actions, putting the principles of the S-Anon 12 Steps and 12 Traditions into practice in their daily lives. It describes the tools we use to begin and enhance our personal recovery and stay focused on the path to healing and serenity.

This book also contains sharing from S-Anon members on their experiences of healing and recovery in their relationships using healthy communication, trust, honesty, and healthy sexuality.

S-Anon Twelve Steps Book

The S-Anon Twelve Steps book shares how S-Anon members have put the principles of the 12 Steps into practice. This book includes Step descriptions, member stories, and specific ways members have worked through some of their recovery issues.

In addition, each chapter has questions suitable for individual writing and reflection or discussion with others.

S-Anon Twelve Traditions Book

The S-Anon Twelve Traditions book explains the spiritual guidelines that foster harmony and unity within our groups, throughout our worldwide S-Anon fellowship, and in all our relationships. This book includes Tradition descriptions, member stories, and specific examples of how members have put the principles of the Twelve Traditions into practice.

In addition, each chapter has question suitable for individual writing and reflection or discussion with others.

Reflections of Hope Book

The Reflections of Hope book contains daily meditations and readings for anyone affected by another person’s sexual behavior. It provides a brief reading for every day of the year and embraces the many diverse voices of S-Anon. The collection of readings reflects the hope that comes from putting the principles of the S-Anon 12 Steps and 12 Traditions into practice, resulting in a new understanding of ourselves and a new perspective on the disease of sexaholism. This book includes readings on various topics such as abstinence, boundaries, compulsive behavior, healing, trust, a Higher Power, and self-care.

Welcome Packet Download

The S-Anon Welcome Packet is a free resource offered on this website and can serve as a valuable tool for people new to the S-Anon program and S-Anon meetings. It provides information on the 12 Steps of S-Anon and also outlines how you can start attending S-Anon meetings today.

We’re Glad You’re Here…Helpful Information for the Newcomer Booklet

This booklet contains helpful information for the newcomer, including an explanation of S-Anon and the S-Anon Meeting Readings used at S-Anon meetings.  In addition, this booklet answers questions about how S-Anon meetings and S-Anon groups work.

All the S-Anon literature is written by S-Anon members and is published by S-Anon International Family Groups.

Definitely. S-Anon members are people, of any sexual orientation, in a relationship or not, from all walks of life: wives, husbands, partners, sisters, brothers, children, parents, relatives, friends and others affected by another person’s compulsive sexual behavior. Our common thread is that sexaholism can affect anyone.

S-Anon 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 S-Anon 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 S-Anon meetings before you decide whether S-Anon is for you.

The people you hear at S-Anon 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.

Members can achieve this recovery by attending S-Anon meetings, working the 12 Steps of S-Anon, and connecting with other people who share in the common challenges related to living with a person with sexaholism.

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 S-Anon 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.

We ask that people in S-Anon respect this tradition and not talk about what they see or hear in an S-Anon meeting with anyone else outside of the meeting. This keeps our members safe, allows them to share openly, and ensures that our fellowship can continue on the path to helping people toward personal growth and recovery.

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.

S-Anon meeting locations can be found on our Meeting Locations page or by contacting the S-Anon International Family Groups World Service Office.  S-Anon meetings are available around the world and are offered at all times of the day and week. If you cannot attend a meeting in person, virtual and phone meetings are also available to help people find recovery.

Yes!  Phone support is available; please email [email protected] for the Phone Support List of S-Anon men and women willing to speak with you.

There is a path to serenity. Here are things we have found helpful to start the journey.

We understand as perhaps few can, and we know how much courage it takes to make that first phone call or attend your first meeting. Know that you are not alone and whatever feelings you may be having now, some of us have had them, too. We welcome you to our fellowship.


You are now leaving the official website for S-Anon International Family Groups, Inc. This link is made available to provide information about local S-Anon & S-Ateen groups. By providing this link we do not imply review, endorsement or approval of the linked site. Thank you for visiting www.sanon.org. We hope that you have found the information you were seeking.

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