SA Meetings: What to Expect

The idea of attending his or her first Sexaholics Anonymous meeting is almost always very intimidating to the newcomer.  Many of us were very reluctant to attend our first SA meeting.  Often, we had preconceived notions about what to expect there: we expected to encounter stereotypical “low-lifes” who we wouldn’t want to associate with.  Sometimes, we were convinced that we weren’t “that bad” and could just stay stopped if only we really gave it a good effort this time.  We found ourselves repeating this cycle again and again.  To our relief, we realized that, in SA, there were many people, just like us, who had tried, in futility, the same thing we had.  But, now, they had found a practical solution to live sexually sober.

Sexaholics Anonymous is based on the principles of Alcoholics Anonymous.  Our meetings are conducted in a similar way to AA, yet, generally on a smaller and more intimate scale.  What we say at meetings is held in confidentiality; and the anonymity of every participant is assured.

SA meetings in the lower mainland follow a similar routine.  Our meetings are lead by a volunteer leader, on a rotating basis each week, according to a meeting script.  We sit in a circle and are invited by the leader to introduce ourselves by first name (only), to share a brief description of the nature of our addiction, and to state the length of our sexual sobriety.  The meeting begins with several readings of SA-approved literature.  Then members are invited to share.  Sharing usually consists of reflections on the reading, a “check-in” of current struggles in sobriety, and a description of how this member is applying the 12 Steps and Traditions in his daily life.  Members are free to share whatever they want, so long as it pertains to there recovery from sexaholism in some way, directly or indirectly.

During the sharing portion of an SA meeting, each member has a chance to share.  In participation we avoid topics that can lead to dissension or distraction. We also avoid explicit sexual descriptions and sexually abusive language.  We do not share about illegal activity that has not yet been adjudicated in court.  The emphasis is on honesty, recovery and healing and how to apply the Twelve Steps and Traditions in our daily lives.  No cross-talk is permitted during sharing by members, unless we are celebrating a sobriety milestone. Cross-talk includes interrupting, speaking directly to another member, and making comments about or repeating specifics of what someone has shared.  We refrain from direct or implied criticism, advice giving, preaching, debating, or belittling.  We speak in the “I”, not the “we” or the “you”, speaking from our own experience about our own issues.  If we want to relate to what another member has shared, we do so by speaking about how it relates to our own recovery.  Keeping the focus on ourselves helps us to recover by looking at ourselves.  It also creates a meeting where everyone can speak freely without fear of being shamed or judged.  If someone feels another is getting too sexually explicit or is engaging in cross talk, they may so signify by quietly raising their hand.

There are no dues or fees for SA membership.  We are self-supporting through our own, voluntary contributions.  During the sharing portion of the meeting, the leader will pause the meeting for collections and to ask for SA-related announcements.

Meetings generally conclude with the Lord’s Prayer.

You are welcome to read this sample Sexaholics Anonymous Meeting Format to get a clear sense of how a meeting proceeds.  Absolutely nothing is required for participation in an SA meeting.  You can sit absolutely silent for the duration and not say a word.12 step recovery vancouver


We suggest that you attend at least six meetings to be able to get a feel for things and decide if SA really is or isn’t for you.  You are welcome to read this sample Sexaholics Anonymous Meeting Format to get a clear sense of how a meeting proceeds.