The S-Anon Board of Trustees (BOT) has implemented a new policy requiring all S-Anon groups to provide an anonymous, generic email address when registering with the World Service Office (WSO). This email address will be published on the S-Anon website, ensuring that newcomers, inquirers, or current members can easily reach out to the group with requests for support, questions about the S-Anon program or what to expect at the meeting, or for the meeting location or access information.

Why the change?

The BOT’s decision stems from ongoing challenges at the WSO in connecting inquirers with S-Anon groups. Currently, groups that do not list direct contact information on the website rely on the WSO to facilitate communication, often leading to delays that can prevent timely access to meetings. This policy change is driven by compassion for newcomers, who often face confusion and isolation. The BOT hopes this streamlined communication process will help newcomers access the support they need more easily, as well as help facilitate Area Delegate and Regional Trustee elections, for which email responses are needed.

How was this decision made?

This decision was made with careful consideration in light of S-Anon’s Twelve Traditions and Concepts of Service and included requesting an advisory opinion from members of the World Service Conference and the Policy and Service Communications Committee. Although the BOT ultimately made the decision, the aim was to ensure a democratic process by incorporating a wide range of perspectives and opinions, enabling the BOT to make a well-informed choice.

When will this policy go into effect?

This policy is now in effect. The S-Anon Group Registration Form has been updated to reflect this policy, and groups may begin submitting updated information now or wait until the Annual Group Verification process begins in July. The WSO will be working with groups over the coming months who may not have an anonymous email address; the WSO will not remove any active groups that have communicated with the WSO within the last two years.

Creating an Anonymous Email Address

When creating an anonymous email address, we recommend considering using text that references S-Anon, the group’s city, group name, or other recovery-related topics. Avoid using personal names to maintain anonymity. The WSO will publish any email address that is from the S-Anon point of view and does not have a member’s name in the address.

To assist groups who may experience challenges setting up an email account, the WSO has a list of members available to provide support creating an email address. If you need help, do not hesitate to reach out.

Email Management Best Practices

The Public Information and Outreach Committee has compiled experiences in this reference document describing how many groups have utilized emails to welcome and communicate with newcomers. Some suggestions in this document include:

• Setting up an automated email response with a welcoming message.
• Answering all inquiries in a timely manner.
• Automatically forwarding emails to a personal account to shorten response time if a member is available to handle inquiries promptly.
• Sharing the email account password among trusted group members to ensure continuity and establish a protocol for transferring email access during group service rotations.

In Conclusion

This policy change underscores our commitment to welcoming newcomers warmly and ensuring they can easily access the help and support offered by S-Anon. By providing direct communication avenues, we reduce barriers for those seeking assistance and enhance the overall effectiveness of our fellowship.

This decision and the steps outlined here are designed to support our primary purpose of helping those affected by the disease of addiction, and we appreciate group participation and support as we navigate this new policy. To find the most current information we have on file for each group, visit the Find a Meeting page and enter your city, state/province or zip/postal code.


 June 14, 2024

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