The SA Home Group
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What is an SA Home Group?
The SA group whose meetings we attend regularly is usually referred to as our Home Group. Most SA members first experience the benefits of sexual sobriety in their Home Group, where we begin our personal journey in recovery. Our first interactions with fellow SA members are with those who are actively participating in the day-to-day functioning of their Home Group – the member who answered our phone call, members who facilitate meetings, members who give lead shares, members who collect donations to cover group and Central Office expenses, members who set up program literature, and of course, the member who offers to be our temporary sponsor.
The first reading we hear in our Home Group is usually the SA Preamble, which is a synopsis of our 12 Traditions. It is at our Home Group that we learn there is but one requirement for membership – a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober – but that requirement applies to all, regardless of how long we’ve been attending. We learn we are self-supporting, that the time and effort we devote to service counts as much as our financial contributions. It is at our Home Group, therefore, that we learn we are part of a larger Fellowship; that the primary purpose of our association is to help one another solve a common problem that we couldn’t solve alone, that to preserve our Fellowship we must carry the message of our recovery to sexaholics still in their addiction.
The Home Group is where we volunteer for service positions, sustain friendships, and develop a sense of loyalty to a new extended family. To this end, most meetings provide voluntary contact sheets for members to list their names and phone numbers; some sheets have additional boxes for members to note sobriety date and Home Group affiliation. Listing our Home Group lets others know where we do our primary service work, regardless of how many other meetings we support. It is at our Home Group that we attend business meetings to make sure the group is healthy and functioning in accordance with our Traditions.
The Home Group is a Spiritual Entity
A group is more than the meetings it supports. The long form of our Fifth Tradition states that each group “ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose – that of carrying its message to the sexaholic who still suffers.” From this we learn that a group is first and foremost a spiritual entity.
Spiritual entities live outside of the confines of a meeting. We also learn that the message we carry is a spiritual message. In short, a group is a spiritual entity which carries the SA message to addicts still in their addiction. A meeting plays a vital role in keeping the group healthy and growing, and in practical terms, most groups are identified by the meeting they attend.
Do I Have to Join a ‘Home’ Group?
The only requirement for SA membership is a desire to stop lusting and become sexually sober, in accordance with Tradition Three. One of the biggest benefits of recovery, however, is that we learn to identify and surrender selfish thinking and behavior and instead practice being of service to others. For most of us, this process begins in the Home Group. We care about the individuals in the group, and over time, care about the health of the group itself. As we discover the benefits of sobriety and recovery, we become genuinely grateful that others are there, and realize that this gift should be passed on. The Responsibility Declaration says it best: "I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of S.A. always to be there. And for that: I am responsible." Service to the Home Group is one of the first tangible ways we begin this life-long process of learning responsibility and giving back.
Common SA Home Group Issues
Like members of other 12-Step fellowships, SA members generally are grateful for opportunities to serve our Home Group and are willing to make the sacrifices necessary to ensure its functioning in accordance with the 12 Traditions. In this respect, however, SA is sometimes faced with challenges not experienced by other fellowships. For example, it may not always be prudent for SA groups to publish the times and locations of meetings. This applies to all fellowships whose members seek personal anonymity, but anonymity can be especially prized by newcomers to SA. When the decision is made to make meeting times and locations public, therefore, it is done only by informed group conscience and with the knowledge of all participants. Similarly, SA Intergroups and websites respect the decisions of groups that do not wish their times and locations to be made public.
The decision whether or not to declare the meeting “Open” or “Closed” is also made in accordance with an informed group conscience. An open meeting is open to anyone who is interested in finding out about the concept of sex and lust addiction, or about the meeting itself. Oftentimes family members and helping professionals are invited to open meetings. Most regular SA meetings are closed, however.
That means they are open only to those seeking their own personal sexual recovery. It also means that no one who declares they are seeking sexual sobriety for themselves may be refused admittance. Many groups provide breakout or info-meetings to orient newcomers. During these sessions, sober members inform newcomers of SA’s requirement for membership and give newcomers the opportunity to talk about what brought them to SA and their desire for sobriety, if they wish.
What is my Role in the Group?
Every member has a role, either explicitly or implicitly. Our regular attendance at meetings and sharing honestly about our day-to-day struggles in recovery from lust and sex addiction is in itself a spiritual contribution that benefits us and the entire group. As we grow in recovery we serve as group secretaries, treasurers, literature chair persons, Group Service Representative (the elected member who acts as the group voice at Intergroup), newcomer greeter, as well as room set-up and cleaning (See the list of service positions below). If newcomers feel at home and are “encouraged to continue,” they will gratefully assume service positions when they are eligible. We are a spiritual fellowship, like a family, and gradually become aware that our Higher Power works with our weaknesses as long as we adhere to the principles of our program.
Group Business Meetings
Issues affecting the group, such as deciding which SA or AA Program literature to read during meetings, are decided during regular business meetings. We use Discovering the Principles for invaluable guidance in conducting business meetings and reaching and keeping new members. Practical Guidelines for Group Recovery offers much wisdom on how to keep groups focused on recovery and aligned with the Traditions. Other issues, such as group finances, are addressed during business meetings. Are two collection baskets passed – one for local expenses and one for the upkeep of the SA Central Office? If there are funds leftover after group expenses are paid, how is this money best disbursed?
Many SA groups adhere to the suggested meeting format outlined in the SA White Book, pp. 197-199. Will the facilitator or secretary call on members to share? Is the facilitator obliged to acknowledge raised hands? Will the group require a minimum period of 30 days of sobriety to share in the first half of the meeting, as suggested in the White Book? For the good of the group, secretaries may caution members to silence cell phones and pagers during meetings, dress appropriately, avoid abusive language and explicit sexual descriptions in their shares. We present chips to acknowledge milestones of sexual recovery.Much experience has already been accumulated on these issues; each group is encouraged to make this input available to its members for their deliberations, in accordance with the Traditions.
These are just some issues that a Home Group will face, and with the help of a Higher Power, good solutions can always be found which meet the group’s unique needs.
At our Home Group, we are also are made aware of the availability of the Essay, the quarterly newsletter of SA, often referred to as the Fellowship’s “meeting in print.” The Essay is a proven source of appropriate group discussion topics and provides a complete list of upcoming local, regional and international SA get-togethers and conventions. Groups obtain discounted group subscriptions for their
Fundamentally, the most important contribution an individual can make to a group is to get and stay sober, show up to meetings on time, and humbly serve where service is needed. We participate. We volunteer. We read and learn the Traditions. We bear in mind that as members of a Home Group, we are part of a spiritual entity and we endeavor to communicate this to longtime members and newcomers alike. We remember our primary purpose: to carry the message of our recovery to the sexaholic who still suffers.
The Group and its Representative to the Intergroup (GSR)
For most of us in SA, our Home Group is where we discover sobriety and recovery. It is the meeting that feels like home – in fact, some of our members say they are more comfortable at their Home Groups than they are at home!
The Home Group is also where we first learn to give back to others through service. Service at the group level connects us with our fellow members and expresses our gratitude for recovery. As we say in SA, “Service is gratitude in action.”
Becoming a member of a group carries the responsibility of service to the group. In fact, the Secretary may make that connection explicit by announcing: “In this group, being a Home Group member means that you attend on a regular basis, take a service position, and attend the monthly business meeting.” Service positions are usually rotated every six months or yearly.
The group decides what trusted servants it needs. It may expand the list of service positions as its membership increases. (SA 174-176, summarized below).
Trusted servants may include:
- Is responsible for starting the meeting on time. Leads the meeting or delegates this office.
- Acts as liaison between the group and the administrator of the facility in which the meeting is held, or delegates a responsible member of the group to this role.
- Reports concerns from the group to the landlord, and from the landlord to the group.
- Reports changes of meeting place, time, etc., to Integroup Meeting List Coordinator. Where there is no Intergroup, reports changes to SAICO.
- Acts as default Group Service Representative (GSR) to Intergroup when no GSR is available.
- Calls regular business or group conscience meetings, usually once a month. Leads the meeting or delegates this office.
- Ensures information on upcoming SA conferences and events is available to the group.
- Passes collection baskets at meetings and records income.
- Keeps group funds secure.
- Ensures rent or agreed donations to the facilities in which the meeting is held is paid on time.
- Pays all group expenses, including rent, refreshments, sobriety chips, etc.
- Makes a financial report to the group at the monthly business meeting.
- Sends group contributions to Intergroup, Regional Assembly, and SAICO.
3. Literature Chair
- Maintains a well-stocked literature table at every meeting.
- Sells books, pamphlets, etc., to members.
- Orders literature as needed from SAICO and SA Publications.
- Prepares a report for the monthly business meeting.
4. Sobriety Chip Servant
- Offers chips for SA anniversaries.
- Replenishes stock as needed.
- Reports at the monthly business meeting.
5. Recording Secretary
- Takes notes at monthly business meetings.
- Prepares minutes for distribution at next business meeting.
- Keeps an archive of minutes so that they may be consulted as needed.
- Keeps a list of voluntary contact information for Home Group members, including sobriety
- Arrives early to make coffee.
- Provides refreshments and cakes for Home Group anniversaries
- Replenishes stock as needed.
- Reports at the monthly business meeting.
7. Audio Librarian
- Responsible for quality recordings of meetings agreed by the group.
- Makes recordings available to members.
- Keeps an archive of recorded talks.
8. Essay Rep
- Maintains group subscription of Essay magazine.
- Makes copies for distribution to the group.
- Encourages members to submit articles to Essay.
- Reports at monthly business meeting.
- Welcome members at the door. A standard greeting is, “Welcome to SA!”
- Introduce newcomers to the other members.
- Invite newcomers to have coffee, peruse the literature table, etc.
The Group Service Representative to the Intergroup (GSR)
The GSR is the primary link between the Home Group and the SA Service Structure. The GSR connects the group first to the Intergroup, and then through the Intergroup to the Regional Assembly, and through the Regional Delegate to the General Delegate Assembly.
The GSR represents the group conscience of the Home Group at the Intergroup meeting, and brings back information from the Intergroup to the group. This two-way communication is essential to the formation of an informed group conscience.
In SA’s service structure, each meeting is represented at the Intergroup level with one GSR, and each GSR gets one vote. However, if a group meets several times a week at the same location with many of the same members, it may elect one GSR to represent the group. Local Intergroups have the freedom to determine who should be allowed to vote.
Qualifications of the Group Service Representative (GSR) to the Intergroup
- The sobriety requirement and length of term to serve as GSR is determined by the group; a minimum of six months’ sobriety is recommended. Intergroups may require that GSRs have 90 days’ sobriety in order to vote.
- Attends Home Group meetings regularly. It is recommended that a candidate be a member of the group for at least six months before serving as GSR, and have given prior service at the group level.
- Has a working knowledge of the Twelve Traditions and their applications in group affairs.
- Has the confidence of the group, and can keep an open mind regarding differing points of view.
Duties of a Group Service Representative (GSR) to the Intergroup
- Attends Intergroup meetings, usually on a monthly basis.
- Represents conscience of the group at Intergroup meetings.
- Gives report of Intergroup meeting at the monthly business meeting of the Home Group.
- Keeps informed of issues that affect the group, Intergroup, Region and SA International.
- Is willing to accept an Intergroup service position
Term and Method of Election for a Group Service Representative (GSR)
Most groups elect GSRs for a period of six months to a year. This honors the principle of rotation of leadership. However, any member may attend Intergroup meetings, even if not currently serving as GSR, in order to stay informed about issues and to continue to be of service on the Intergroup level.
In some groups, members volunteer for service positions at the annual or semi-annual rotation meeting. Alternatively, candidates may be nominated for a position, and voted in by the group. “The group conscience determines the length of sexual sobriety required before a member can vote at a meeting.” (SA 182). Thirty days sobriety is the usual requirement at the group level.
For more information about group conscience meetings, see “Group Conscience Meetings and the Twelve Traditions” (p.1) and “What’s a Group Conscience?” ( p.7) in Discovering the Principles.
The Twelve Steps of Sexaholics Anonymous
- We admitted we were powerless over lust – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to sexaholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Twelve Steps and Traditions are adapted with permission of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. ("AAWS").
Permission to adapt and reprint the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions does not mean that AAWS has approved the contents of this publication, nor that AAWS agrees with the views expressed herein. AA is a program of recovery from alcoholism only. Use of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions in connection with programs that are patterned after AA, but which address other problems, or in any other non-AA context, does not imply otherwise.
If you think you may have problems with sex or lust addiction, we invite you to join us at an SA meeting. Look for Sexaholics Anonymous in your local phone directory, call SA International Central Office toll free (in the USA) at 866-424-8777, or visit our web site at http://www.sa.org. Online meetings and remote contacts are also available.
Additional copies of this pamphlet and a literature list can be ordered from:
P.O. Box 3565
Brentwood, TN 37024-3565
I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere reaches out for help, I want the hand of SA always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.
Copyright © 2012 by Sexaholics Anonymous. All rights reserved.