There is an S.L.A.A. meeting in my area which announces at its daily meeting that it has its own website and PO Box. The website is clearly the opinion of one person, written, purchased and funded by one person, and clearly not S.L.A.A. material. It appears to violate at least one of the Traditions, Do you have any suggestions?
Additionally, his sobriety definition is on the website and is read at the meetings. We have a Group Conscience scheduled regarding this. The meeting is a good one, held daily at noon and attracts 12 – 18 people. Do you have any suggestions?
Having a group conscience about the practices described is one excellent action.
It is also appropriate for at least 2 of the regular members to approach the individual immediately and advise him/her that individual websites and other forms of communication, and readings, unless chosen and voted upon by group conscience, should not be used in meetings. Meetings should use S.L.A.A. conference approved materials only, in order to not confuse newcomers, and to honor both the 12 Traditions, especially Tradition 1, and long held customs about meeting formats. The individual can be told that announcements about his/her website and writing can be made at the end of the meeting after announcements about S.L.A.A. as a whole, but should be clearly identified each time as owned by that individual.
This is an important issue, I believe, and even if the individual does not honor the guidance of at least two members immediately, direct action is indicated. In that case, the chair or another member present should question the source and appropriateness of reading and promoting an individual’s ideas during a meeting. The individual tolerance we should show to everyone can be honored by suggesting that if the individual wanted to invite people to ask him/her about how to access writing representing the individual ideas, that they should do so.
To allow this practice to continue without a gentle, respectful, but firm challenge is the same thing as endorsing the practice. It should be addressed immediately.
For myself, I don’t have any experience with this kind of things, but I know that we are usually very careful about outside endeavors, even if they are 12 Steps related. I think that the 6th Tradition strongly applies here in this case especially relating to personal prestige or control. I also think that a group conscience should be held quickly in connection with Tradition 2, to decide what the group wants and how to go about it. If the group conscience decides to accept that the site be “publicized” in the group, then there should be a specific mention about the fact that this site is not part of S.L.A.A. and does not engage the fellowship. However, out of integrity for the fellowship, I do not think that such situation should be encouraged within the meeting whether or not the material supports recovery.
A local group, Intergroup or individual, for that matter, is certainly free to have a website or P.O. Box which can be used as an outreach tool to reach the sex and love addict who still is suffering. There are certain guidelines for websites which have been posted and should be observed by anyone or any group which plans to have a website representing S.L.A.A. in their area. This is within the scope of Tradition 4 regarding autonomy of groups.
The website in question appears to be run by an individual as is expressed on its homepage and elsewhere in the website. In fact there is a disclaimer statement on the home page which disassociates the website from any organization. If this is, indeed, an S.L.A.A. associated website there should be a logo which is not present. This website seems to mix the recovery programs of several fellowships with religious principles. There are a couple of extravagant claims made within the website regarding the author having been invited to become a BOT member and distribute his writings through
S.L.A.A. While he might have been invited to be appointed to the BOT or even run for the BOT at the ABM, distribution of his literature would have to follow certain guidelines, not the least of which is to sign over ownership of the literature to FWS and then have the literature go through the literature process prior to going to the conference for approval. If the groups who claim to operate this website are using the sobriety definition in their meetings, it should be prefaced with a statement that this is not a Conference Approved definition.
What does trouble me is that some local groups are reported to be claiming in their meetings that this is their website. The first problem is the sobriety definition which is not found anywhere in S.L.A.A. literature. We define our individual sobriety based on the nature of our addiction. In order for us to recovery we have to all be united and speaking from the principles of S.L.A.A. as found in the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions; we must have unity (Tradition 1). For a group to endorse this website and its contents would appear to be a violation of Tradition 6 which speaks to lending the S.L.A.A. name to any outside enterprise. There could also be a problem with Tradition 10 because there are some outside issues (religion and other 12 Step Programs) discussed within the website.
individual to do as he pleases. However, if it begins to claim to be an S.L.A.A. website it would affect other groups or S.L.A.A. as a whole which would then be a violation of Tradition 4. Since there is no S.L.A.A. Police Department we cannot force the person to comply. The most that could possibly be done would be a letter from the BOT asking that the website be in compliance with S.L.A.A. recovery and within the website guidelines regarding copyright, use of the 7 Core Documents of S.L.A.A., etc.
Tradition Six-An S.L.A.A. group… ought never endorse, finance, or lend the S.L.A.A. name…. if it’s not conference approved this individual is borrowing the S.L.A.A. name for his/her own purposes…and Tradition Two- there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God…our leaders are but trusted servants — sounds like this meeting might want to vote in a new leader. I got a chance to work on my co-dependency when we did this in one of our meetings– the leader was voted out and two years later the meeting closed but was replaced by a meeting on that night that has a huge attendance.
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.