In January 2022, the S-Anon Board of Trustees approved a motion authorizing the World Service Office to develop a process to distribute information for Special Meetings that adhere to Tradition Three. This article provides more information on this updated policy, how this decision came to be made, and what to expect in the coming months as implementation goes into effect.

Since the early years of the S-Anon program, a number of S-Anon members have gathered based on specific life experiences, in addition to being affected by another person’s sex addiction. The S-Anon S-Ateen Service Manual (SSSM) categorizes these gatherings as Special Meetings. Over the years, these Special Meetings have formed for men, women, singles in recovery, those affected by the legal consequences of a sexaholic, etc.

According to the SSSM, Special Meetings are essentially defined as meetings that restrict attendance based on specific topics, experiences, or special circumstances, but conversations over the last seven years have indicated that many Special Meetings, in fact, do not limit attendance regardless of the indicated topic, focus, or audience. There are Special Meetings that adhere to Tradition Three by welcoming all S-Anon members, although the SSSM currently does not note this distinction.

Tradition Three is a spiritual principle that makes S-Anon available to all who need help. This Tradition reminds us that all deserve and should have access to S-Anon, without making it difficult to join our program. You are a member when you say you are a member — no application or approval needed, no dues or fees — the only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of sexaholism in a relative or friend. All are welcome and deserve recovery regardless of our various circumstances. Tradition Three reminds us that we do not all need to share the same circumstances in order to achieve recovery, but some members have indicated a desire to meet and recover with others who personally relate to specific experiences.

The SSSM currently states, “Only registered S-Anon groups (Closed Meetings) can be posted on www.sanon.org, shared by the WSO to inquirers, and published on websites linked to www.sanon.org.” This distribution policy reflects the value of Tradition Three to the fellowship — S-Anon must always be available and accessible to all; the SSSM does not address distribution of information for Special Meetings that adhere to this spiritual principle.

In 2021, a motion submitted to the World Service Conference sought to address the current distribution policy that limited the WSO in its ability to share meeting information for Special Meetings that adhered to Tradition Three. The motion and its subsequent four attempts to bring this motion to a vote were deemed out-of-order and referred to the S-Anon Board of Trustees. The last two versions of the motions were:

  • Motion that the WSC adopt a policy that lists S-Anon Special Meetings that focus on specific topics, set of experiences, or any other special circumstance, yet adhere to Tradition Three and welcome all members of S-Anon to attend. In addition, this policy will allow for Special meetings to be published on www.sanon.org, and shared by the WSO with inquirers.
  • Motion that the WSC recommend that the BOT adopt a policy that lists S-Anon Special Meetings that focus on specific topics, set of experiences, or any other special circumstance, yet adhere to Tradition Three and welcome all members of S-Anon to attend. In addition, this policy will allow for Special meetings to be published on www.sanon.org, and shared by the WSO with inquirers.

In October 2021, seven members of the BOT decided to revisit this referred motion and modify it for submission to the BOT. After several meetings and rounds of edits, the following motion was submitted to the BOT in January 2022:

  • Move that the BOT approve the S-Anon WSO develop and implement a process to make available to members a separate list of S-Anon Special Meetings that focus on S-Anon recovery from the effects of specific topics, set of experiences, or any other special circumstance. These meetings would be in keeping with Traditions Three and Five and would welcome all members of S-Anon to attend. The separate list of these meetings would explain their difference from registered Groups.

The BOT approved this motion unanimously.

In February 2022, all Area Delegates and Special Meetings were contacted about this updated policy which is anticipated to go into effect June 2022. As a result of this approved motion, many actions need to take place before full implementation, such as updating the SSSM, Open and Special Meeting Form, Website Linking Policy, and creating a space on the Find a Meeting S-Anon website page to distribute information for Special Meetings that adhere to Tradition Three.

What are some example topics or focus of Special Meetings?

Some S-Anon members have found it helpful to complement their regular group meetings with Special Meetings that focus on specific member topics common to their shared circumstances. Special meetings might focus primarily on recovery topics from the perspective of men, women, parents, adult children, young adults, and those who identify with other gender identification/sexual orientation (for example, LGBTQIA). Special Meetings might also include those who have similar relationship experiences and are affected by the impact of situations such as sexual avoidance, legal consequences, or being single in recovery.

The S-Anon Board of Trustees reserves the right to review requests for meeting focus topics to ensure they adhere to the Twelve Traditions. Our common experience suggests that as a spiritual program, it is not necessary to recover with those who have had the same or similar experience as ours. Many members have found great insight by listening to and understanding others to whom we thought we could not relate. This is one of the reasons Special Meetings that focus on a specific topic would be open to all S-Anon members.

Will this make Special Meetings more accessible to the fellowship?

This updated policy will make information about Special Meetings that adhere to Tradition Three more accessible. Until this point, Special Meetings have been found through word-of-mouth. Now, the WSO will be able to publish information about these meetings as long as each meeting is open to all who qualify for the program.

Will the WSO be forcing Special Meetings to be open to all?

The WSO will not force Special Meetings to be open to all who qualify for the S-Anon program. Each meeting has the autonomy to choose whether or not it adheres to Tradition Three and if so, whether or not the meeting access information will be published on www.sanon.org.

In short, this motion does not affect Special Meetings which limit attendance to a particular set of individuals. These Special Meetings will carry on as usual, and the WSO will not distribute information for these meetings.

Have more questions?

Additional questions may be directed to your local Area Delegate or Regional Trustee, and if your Area currently doesn’t have a trusted servant in these positions, questions can be directed to [email protected]


 April 18, 2022

You are now leaving the official website for S-Anon International Family Groups, Inc. This link is made available to provide information about local S-Anon & S-Ateen groups. By providing this link we do not imply review, endorsement or approval of the linked site. Thank you for visiting www.sanon.org. We hope that you have found the information you were seeking.

Deny