ATTRACTION/PROMOTION – Where do we draw the line between them?

The comments below were given by various members of the Conference Steps, Traditions, and Concepts Committee and do not represent a group conscience of the entire committee. The opinions expressed here are solely that of the person giving them. Take what you like and leave the rest.

The Question:
What is attraction?  What is Promotion?  Where do we draw the line between them?


Tradition 11 speaks to the fact that our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion… In order to be attracted to something we need to have some knowledge of what it is. We can easily use anonymous means to increase the attraction for S.L.A.A. These can be through outreach mailings sent out to the professional, religious and legal communities with general information regarding S.L.A.A. These people can be a great asset in providing us with new members coming into our meetings. We can also use things like Craig’s List or even public notices in publications which would be targeted to various areas of the population of our areas. We also have the electronic medium of websites, which can be valuable in getting the word out to those who are in need of recovery. We do not have to go out and purchase announcements; providing spokespersons or identifying ourselves as members of S.L.A.A.

Another way that we can use attraction is in our practice of Step 12; “practice these principles in all areas of our lives.” If we are living Step 12, those around us will notice because we are living in a different manner than we used to live. There are those with whom we come in daily contact who might be suffering from this addiction and knowing that we used to be involved with it and now seeing the changes which have come into our lives, they can be attracted and even ask us what is different.

We do not need to resort to glitz and hype in order to attract members, we just need to go about living our lives in a sober manner and people will be influenced.

The simplest part of this question to me is how we deal with family, friends, co-workers, etc. in our lives who seem to have a sex and love addiction problem. It would be promotion to give them pamphlets, or to talk about how much S.L.A.A. helped you even though that person had never confided in you about his/her problems, and you were working on gossip only.

Attraction is, first of all, living a life based on the spiritual principles of the program. When and if the subject of that person’s misadventures in the sexual and romantic arena came up in conversation you can identify, and perhaps share an example or two about your own addictive history, and express gratitude for the change in your life today, again giving a concrete example or two. If that person asks how you did it, you can talk about S.L.A.A. and the program of recovery.

Promotion in the media is using attractive actors to “sell” people on trying the program with promises or examples of recovery, and pictures of people enjoying withdrawal in luxury. Attraction is giving true (but anonymous) stories of people who have recovered, or numbers of people across the world who have found recovery, with true statements about the difficulty of recovery, but the help S.L.A.A. can give in terms of support, etc. while people go through the difficult process of turning their lives around.

Promotion is using famous people in recovery as media spokespersons. Attraction is one person making themselves available to invite people to a meeting, and using their own story as a way for the other person to identify.

Attraction is twelve step work with humility, one on one. Promotion is twelve step work designed out of ego and “bragging” about the advantages of recovery to others who may or may not have a problem.

I think the line is drawn based on information. If something is done or said to educate others about our program, I don’t think that is promotion. Promotion is like a commercial, it tries to sell something. A person has to understand S.L.A.A. before he or she can be attracted to it, so anything we do genuinely to inform more people has a basis in attraction. However, we cross that line when we push the program or “sell” it, if you will. A campaign ad (ugh) promotes, but a documentary gives us information and may or may not attract us.


What do you think?
The CSTCC is a group of volunteers, some of whom were ABM delegates, and others who volunteered out of interest. We do not represent a group conscience of S.L.A.A., but are committed to bringing thoughtful discussion and study of 12 Step Fellowship literature and experience to the questions that are brought to us. We offer this summary as the results of our discussions. We present the major points of concern in the hopes that wider discussion in the Fellowship will help us evolve our customs and practice of the S.L.A.A. program of recovery to better represent the loving guidance of a Higher Power. Always, we affirm the autonomy of each group and the need for each individual to follow her/his own conscience. No decision of this group, or any other, is ever forced upon another, even when we believe a practice is clearly in conflict with the Steps, Traditions, or Concepts.