I recently received an email announcing a new telephone meeting proposed to combine S.L.A.A. literature with literature of a religion based spiritual program. I love the course which was listed, but don’t feel that the appropriate place to bring it is as an S.L.A.A. meeting. I’m looking for guidance here. Can you give me some feedback on the best way to approach this with the meeting coordinator? We want to discuss the issue at the next telemeeting intergroup meeting.
(Editor’s note: the name of the spiritual program is not listed for sake of anonymity and knowing that similar questions might come in at a future date we make every attempt to keep the inquiry anonymous. Also, an instructor with that program has referred people to S.L.A.A.)
The Conference Service Manual contains two motions that were approved by the Conference at ABMs. I think one was in 2002 and one in 2004. My memory is that they allow the use of outside literature in S.L.A.A. meetings if it is clearly labeled and presented as outside literature and not misrepresented as S.L.A.A. Conference Approved Literature.
Tradition 4 tells us that each group is autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or S.L.A.A. as a whole. While an individual group may decide for themselves what format of meeting that they might hold and what local practices they might observe, there seems to be a problem in that this seems to be an attempt to meld the practices and teachings. This, to me presents a problem since it seems to be an attempt to alter the message which is presented in the Basic Text. Any group may decide to use outside literature in their meetings; however, it needs to always be noted that this outside literature is not Conference Approved Literature.
The course could be a direct conflict with the thoughts of Tradition 3, “…may call themselves an S.L.A.A. group, provided that as a group they have no other affiliation.” While individual members of any meeting might decide together to participate in such a course, it should definitely be done in an outside setting so that those members desiring recovery from their sex and love addictions might be able to get the help that they need from the sharing of the experience, strength and hope of S.L.A.A. message rather than being distracted by another school of thought.
Tradition 6 states “An S.L.A.A. group or S.L.A.A. as a whole ought never to endorse, finance or lend the S.L.A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise…” The use of this course would seem to signify an endorsement of the course. This would set a very dangerous precedent for S.L.A.A. in that it would seem to bind us to an unrelated organization.
According to the information which I was able to scan through by doing a quick online search of this course, it would seem to be a controversial school of thought which would violate Tradition 10; “…the S.LA.A. name ought never to be drawn into public controversy.”
If such an announcement was distributed to members of either on-line or phone meetings who have listed their contact information or if it was distributed from member to member within people’s personal contacts, then there should be no problem with such an announcement. However, if it was distributed to a confidential list of delegates and committee members, it would be a violation of the anonymity Traditions 11 and 12.
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.