The S-Anon International Family Groups World Service Office grants permission for the following materials, or precise translations thereof, to be posted on group or intergroup websites. Postings must acknowledge S-Anon by including a credit line, both in English and in the language of translation if applicable, as follows: “Reprinted with permission of S-Anon International Family Groups, Inc., Nashville, TN. Compliance with S-Anon International Family Groups, Inc.’s copyrights and trademarks is required.”
What is S-Anon?
The S-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of the relatives and friends of sexually addicted people who share their experience, strength and hope in order to solve their common problems. Our program of recovery is adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous and is based on the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. There are no dues or fees for S-Anon membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
S-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; it does not wish to engage in any controversy; nor does it endorse or oppose any causes. Our primary purpose is to recover from the effects upon us of another person’s sexaholism and to help the families and friends of sexaholics. We do this by applying the Twelve Steps of S-Anon to our lives and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of sexaholics.
The S-Anon Checklist
- Have you felt hurt or embarrassed by someone’s sexual conduct?
- Have you secretly searched for clues about someone’s sexual behavior?
- Have you lied about or covered up another person’s sexual conduct?
- Have you had money problems because of someone’s sexual behavior?
- Have you felt betrayed or abandoned by someone you loved and trusted?
- Are you afraid to upset the sexaholic for fear that he or she will leave you?
- Have you tried to control somebody’s sexual thoughts or behavior by doing things like throwing away pornography, dressing suggestively, or being sexual with them in order to keep them from being sexual with others?
- Have you used sex to try to keep peace in a relationship?
- Have you tried to convince yourself that someone else’s sexual thoughts and behavior shouldn’t bother you?
- Have you felt that sex plays an all-consuming role in your relationship?
- Have you doubted your attractiveness, your emotions, and your sanity?
- Have you felt responsible for the sexual behavior of another person?
- Have you felt angry and/or stupid for not knowing about someone’s sexual acting out behavior?
- Have you engaged in uncomfortable, unwanted, or physically dangerous sexual behavior?
- Have you ever thought about or attempted suicide because of someone’s sexual behavior?
- Has your preoccupation with someone’s sexual thoughts and behavior affected your relationships with your children, your co-workers, and/or other friends or family members?
- Have you neglected your physical and/or emotional health while in a relationship?
- Have you helped someone get out of jail or other legal trouble, or feared legal action as a result of his or her sexual behavior?
- Have you blamed other people, such as friends or sexual partners, society in general, his/her job, religion, or birth family for someone’s sexual behavior?
- Have you felt confused about what is true when talking with someone about his or her sexual thoughts or behavior?
- Have you avoided painful emotions by using drugs, alcohol, or food or by being too busy?
- Have you ever felt that someone was inappropriately attracted to you or your children?
- Have you felt alone or too ashamed to ask for help?
If you can answer “yes” to some of these questions, you may find help in S-Anon.
Is S-Ateen For You?
IS S-ATEEN FOR YOU?
- Do you feel you are living in a home with secrets? Do you feel it is your responsibility to keep those secrets?
- Has someone shared adult information with you that made you feel uncomfortable?
- Have you felt hurt, embarrassed, or ashamed by someone’s sexual behavior?
- Do you feel no one would believe you if you shared what is going on in your home or other areas of your life?
- Do you hide or isolate? Are you afraid or embarrassed to bring friends home because of what is happening in the family?
- Are you concerned with someone’s improper use of the Internet, text messaging, or other media?
- Do you hesitate to speak to a family member or friend about problems you are experiencing because they seem to have their own problems, or you think they won’t understand?
- Do you find it difficult to recognize how you are feeling and how to express those feelings appropriately?
- Do you feel angry, lonely, fearful, and/or depressed?
- Do you feel you should be able to control other people’s behavior, or you should be able to do something to help them?
- Do you lie or make excuses to yourself about another person’s behavior? Do you sometimes lie to cover up your own mistakes?
- Have you felt confused about what is true and what is not true when talking with the sexaholic, or another person associated with the sexaholic?
- Has a family member or friend ever been in jail or other legal trouble because of his or her sexual behavior, or do you worry this could happen in the future?
- Do you have problems keeping up with schoolwork or other responsibilities due to problems at home?
- Do you stay in unhealthy friendships or dating relationships?
- Do you hide your feelings, or pretend you don’t care if you are sad, lonely, fearful, or angry?
- Do you ever try to escape from your feelings by using alcohol, food, drugs, social media, computer games, or other activities?
- Do you feel responsible for the safety or happiness of family members or friends?
- Are you always looking for someone’s approval or praise or feel the need to be perfect?
- When things are calm at home, do you anticipate or wait for problems to start again?
- Do you feel you have too much responsibility for someone your age?
- Do you tell yourself that what is going on with your family or friends isn’t that bad and is probably normal?
- Have you lost love and/or respect for one or both of your parents or other authority figures?
- Do you think if only your family members and friends acted differently, then you would be happy?
- Do you believe you are alone in your problems?
If you can answer “yes” to even some of these questions, you may find help in S-Ateen.
✔ S-Ateen is a fellowship of young people who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other so that they may solve their common problems and help others to recover. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of sexaholism in a relative or friend. The term sexaholism covers a variety of behaviors that stem from someone’s powerlessness over lust. Sexaholism is an addiction, similar to alcoholism. Sexaholism is a family disease because it affects all the members of the family emotionally, spiritually, and sometimes physically. Growing up with
sexaholism, you may experience feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and anger. Many of us don’t know what to expect on a dayto-day basis when we are around people who have the disease of sexaholism. In S-Ateen we find hope and help, and we are no longer facing our problems alone.
✔ S-Ateen is for you and about you. S-Ateen is not a program to help you fix your parents, siblings, or friends. S-Ateen is for young people, ages twelve to nineteen, who have been affected by someone’s inappropriate sexual behavior. This may involve inappropriate activity on the Internet, or inappropriate relationships with other people. S-Ateen will help you understand the family disease of sexaholism and help you find healthy ways to cope with your problems.
✔ S-Ateen is a program where you can learn about healthy relationships. Even if you think you are not affected by the problems in your home, many of the choices you make in friendships and dating relationships are influenced by living within a family that is spiritually and emotionally ill. Perhaps you have been affected by someone’s sexual behavior outside of your home. The sexaholic in your life may be a family member, classmate, friend, teacher, coach, pastor, or other authority figure.
✔ S-Ateen meetings are led by S-Ateen members. There are two adult S-Anon members in each S-Ateen meeting. These adults are there as S-Ateen group sponsors. The S-Ateen group sponsors serve as guides for the meetings; but not as therapists or parent substitutes. If the meeting is new, the S-Ateen group sponsors may lead the first few meetings, but after that the teens lead the meetings themselves. The group sponsors do not give advice or tell S-Ateen members what to do. They share on the meeting topic from their own point of view and from their experiences when they were teenagers.
✔ S-Ateen uses the S-Ateen Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous, which are suggested for our recovery. Working the S-Ateen program is not easy, but it has rich rewards. You can find serenity and even happiness, whether or not the sexaholic or other family members are in recovery.
✔ S-Ateen is an anonymous program. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program. This means we keep in confidence everything that is said
in meetings as well as who we see at meetings. Anonymity also means we are all equals in S-Ateen; no one is a boss or an expert. This principle of anonymity helps everyone feel safe in the meetings.
S-ATEEN IS NOT…
✘ S-Ateen is not a program for young people seeking recovery from sexaholism themselves.
✘ S-Ateen is not a religious program. S-Ateen does not discuss or support any particular religion, so we refrain from making references to specific faiths. S-Ateen is a spiritual program which follows spiritual principles to help us recover, whether or not we practice a religion. You may hear the term Higher Power or God used, to refer to a power greater than ourselves.
✘ S-Ateen groups are not counseling or therapy groups. We do not give advice. The S-Ateen group sponsors at meetings are not professional counselors. They are S-Anon members working their own recovery program, who offer guidance and support, as the S-Ateen members learn to support each other. S-Ateen members may also seek out the assistance of professional helpers like therapists, clergy, or doctors to help deal with crisis situations or to focus in depth on personal issues.
✘ S-Ateen meetings are not a place to complain, gossip, criticize, or stay stuck in our problems. Each S-Ateen member is given time to share in the meetings. You will have the support of other S-Ateen members, as you learn to focus on the solution, rather than the problem.
HOW WILL S-ATEEN HELP YOU?
In S-Ateen, you will no longer feel alone in your problems. You will discover you have choices. When you hear how other young people have worked through situations by using the S-Ateen program, you can find hope for your own situations. Even though your story may be different from other S-Ateen members, the feelings are the same. You will have the opportunity to develop healthy friendships with other teens in the meetings. You will learn about the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which you can apply to all relationships and situations in your life. You will learn how to make good choices for yourself and to set healthy boundaries. You will learn what it means to “focus on yourself” rather than on family members or friends.
S-Ateen Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS S-ATEEN?
S-Ateen is a fellowship of young people, ages 12 to 19, whose lives have been affected by sexaholism in a family member or friend. S-Ateen members focus on principles of recovery founded upon the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of S-Ateen.
WHEN DID S-ATEEN BEGIN?
The first face to face S-Ateen meeting was held in Clinton Township, Michigan, on November 1, 1996. There were three teenagers and two adult S-Ateen Group Sponsors at that first meeting. The S-Ateen Online Community went live October 2015 and is hosted on a secure, private server. This interactive site continues to evolve with the growth of the S-Ateen fellowship, nationally and internationally, offering S-Ateen members from across the globe access to weekly meetings, S-Ateen readings, daily meditations, an S-Ateen Step Study meeting format, a weekly topic for discussion,
HOW DOES S-ATEEN RELATE TO S-ANON ORGANIZATIONALLY?
According to the S-Anon World Service Charter, “The term S-Anon includes S-Ateen.” While S-Ateen is a separate fellowship from S-Anon, both fall under the umbrella of the S-Anon International Family Groups. The Charter continues stating, “Therefore, the above Charter applies to all registered groups, including S-Ateen.”A copy of the S-Anon World Service Charter may be found in the S-Anon/S-Ateen Service Manual (SSSM). The SSSM is a
helpful resource that explains how groups work, service structures, meeting formats, and Conference Approved readings. S-Ateen members began attending S-Anon International Conventions in 1997. They have shared during unrecorded and recorded speaker sessions at local recovery events, regional and International Conventions. S-Ateen shares have also been included in S-Anon literature such as S-Anews issues, Working the S-Anon Program, and Reflections of Hope.
WHO ATTENDS S-ATEEN MEETINGS?
Sexaholism affects all family members, including children. S-Ateen offers age-appropriate meetings designed to offer healing and recovery for young people, ages 12 to 19, in a safe and consistent environment. To ensure compliance with S-Ateen Safety Guidelines as well as S-Ateen Service Literature (L-12ST and L-22ST), whether face to face or via the S-Ateen Online Community, only S-Ateen members and certified S-Anon Members in S-Ateen Service (SMISS) are welcome to attend S-Ateen meetings. SMISS are trained and screened, including personal references and background checks, for this specific type of service work.
ARE S-ATEEN MEETINGS CONSIDERED CLOSED MEETINGS?
S-Ateen meetings are age-appropriate Twelve Step recovery meetings designed specifically to address the needs of young people, ages 12 to 19, no matter their race, religion, gender, or other categorical identity. The only requirement for membership is that the S-Ateen member has been affected by sexaholism in a relative, friend, or other individual. S-Ateen members as well as S-Ateen Group Sponsors (SMISS) speak only to and from the S-Ateen point of view. As such, S-Ateen meetings are considered “Closed Meetings.“ Those wishing to learn more about S-Ateen meetings are welcome to attend Open S-Ateen Information meetings and/or Open Meetings specific to S-Ateen and family recovery. Another good resource on S-Ateen meetings is the booklet “What It’s Like To Be Me” (P-9ST) written completely by S-Ateen members on what it is like for them “before and after” attending S-Ateen meetings.
CAN S-ATEEN MEMBERS ATTEND S-ANON MEETINGS?
S-Ateen members may attend S-Anon meetings provided they are seeking their own personal recovery from the effects of sexaholism in a relative or friend. S-Ateen members have been attending S-Anon meetings since 1996, as well as S-Anon meetings at local recovery events, regional and International Conventions since 1997.
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES FOR S-ATEEN
Free downloads of additional S-Ateen Service Literature can be ordered from www.sanon.org.
What is Sexaholism?
If this is your first contact with a Twelve Step program, we ask that you try not to analyze, diagnose, or label another person’s behavior. The most important thing for us to know, as S-Anon members, is that sexaholism is an addiction just like any other addiction – with the same elements of loss of control, tendency to continue the damaging behavior despite negative consequences, and the need to do more of the behavior to get the same result. Also, like other addictions, sexaholism affects the whole family.
No matter what manifestation of sexaholism you may have encountered in a relative or friend, we assure you that you are not alone. We have included a partial list of behaviors that other S-Anons have been affected by over the years. The list is meant to offer newcomers a way to know they are not isolated in the problems of living with or having lived with active sexaholism. 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, sex with animals, 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 behaviors. Even if you feel unique in your local S-Anon group, you can be certain that someone in the S-Anon fellowship has also had similar experiences and feelings.
In S-Anon we consider sexaholic behaviors to be symptoms of a disease – unacceptable actions taken by sick people who are powerless over lust. Through working the S-Anon program, many of us have overcome powerful feelings, which are not ours to carry, of shame or guilt that arose out of being so closely connected to this “shameful” disease. We have come to understand and accept that we are not responsible for the actions of others and that those burdens of shame and guilt are not rightfully ours to carry. Our solution depends on keeping focused on our own personal path of recovery and allowing the sexaholic to do the same.
The above may be reproduced, reprinted or posted on group/intergroup web sites in its entirety without alteration, solely for the purpose of carrying the S-Anon message. Reprints/postings must use the following credit lines: “Reprinted with permission of S-Anon International Family Groups, Inc., Nashville, TN. Compliance with S-Anon International Family Groups, Inc.’s copyrights and trademarks is required.”
Further information regarding the use of the S-Anon Name, Logo, and Registered Marks can be found in S-Anon’s Trademark Policy.