COMBINED MEETINGS-Can we combine an S.L.A.A. meeting with a Co-S.L.A.A. meeting?

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.

Question:
Since we have Chapter 3 in our Basic Text, “Living with the Sex Addict” (and I would like to add in our present culture – Anorexic), could not a Chapter 3 S.L.A.A. meeting be recognized as an S.L.A.A. meeting? [This would include the loved ones and members attending meetings together. This would amount to having a combined S.L.A.A. – CoSLAA meeting.]


Many of our meetings are open meetings. That means to me that anyone may attend, whether a sex and love addict (to me that term includes anorexic members) or not. In the spirit of Tradition 4 that groups are autonomous it does not seem contrary to the traditions to me to create a ‘Chapter 3’ focused meeting so long as the meeting is for members of S.L.A.A. Remembering that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of Sex and Love addiction and those groups consist of two or more S.LA.A. members (Tradition 3) it seems to me that such a group could be within our Traditions.

I would caution members of the group that if the purpose becomes other than carrying the message to the sex and love addict who still suffers, then the group may no longer be an S.L.A.A. group (Tradition 5).

I recently attended a conference co-sponsored by S.L.A.A. and a Co-S.L.A.A. group. I attended a Co-SLAA meeting at the conference for couples and found it really refreshing to hear couples discussing issues related to their partnership from both the S.L.A.A. perspective and the Co-S.L.A.A. perspective. From a boundaries perspective though, I think the meeting organizers always need to be clear whether it is an S.L.A.A. meeting or a Co-S.L.A.A. meeting and I’m doubtful that it could be both at the same time because of Tradition 6.

The concept of a combined meeting with the addict and his/her significant other is something about which I had never given any thought, until this question was asked.

Could such a group exist and call itself an S.L.A.A. group? I believe that a couples meeting could very well exist in light of Tradition 4, because each group is autonomous, which would make it free to set up its own format and even close the meeting to non-couples. No one has the right to dictate to another group as to what sort of meeting it should be. Within the Traditions of S.L.A.A. (or those of Co-SLAA, as far as I know) it could definitely work, but should identify itself as one or the other. To combine the two programs could come into conflict with Tradition 3 in that there should be no other affiliation.

My personal preference for this sort of meeting would be that it be an additional meeting which would be limited to couples, only. I can see it as being a meeting which would strengthen relationships as both members of the couple work on their personal addictions and co-dependent issues.

The meetings in my city are all closed except to “those seeking help for their own sex and love addiction.” So essentially, they are closed meetings. This decision was made based on a group conscious decision of each meeting. In that vein, it seems to me that according to Tradition 4, each group is autonomous and able to decide whether or not to have an open or closed meeting.

Any group who opens up to those who are not sex and love addicts, however, would hopefully keep in mind Tradition 5, that our primary purpose is to carry the message to the sex and love addict who still suffers.

To me, a combined SLAA meeting and a Co-SLAA meeting falls in the same category as special interest meetings: a woman’s only, gay and lesbian, people of color. While these meetings are not for everyone, they do exist and meet specialized needs. When I talk to sponsees about these meetings, I encourage them to NOT make these special interest meetings their only meeting since their focus is by their very nature is narrower than a regular SLAA meeting.


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.