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What should I expect to encounter at one of the meetings? In other words, what exactly goes on at these meetings?

Meetings vary but the ones in Claremont are fairly similar. The first 15 minutes are often devoted to readings we do every week, for example, the Steps, the 12 Traditions, "How It Works", "The Addiction", "The Solution", etc. Then, if it's a book study, we read from the book Sex Addicts Anonymous for about 15 minutes. After the readings, we have open sharing. Whoever wants to share about what brought them to SAA or what's going on with them now in terms of the addiction and what steps they are or are not taking to overcome it etc. There is no "crosstalk". That is, one member shares at a time and the other members listen respectfully. It's not a time to ask questions or give advice to others; rather, it's a time to get honest about our life and try our best to submit ourselves to the recovery process. The shares are usually about 3-4 minutes and they are timed so that no one dominates the meeting. Finally, we have 2 or 3 more regular readings and we say the "Serenity Prayer" at the end (it's a spiritual but not a religious program). After the meeting members can chat and exchange phone numbers or just leave. It's very informal. While we have a leader, no one holds power over other members. We are all in this together and no one member has any special authority over others.

Do I have to share (i.e. talk) in the meeting?

No, you do not have to share. However, if you feel comfortable talking about what made you come to SAA or about current feelings and struggles regarding this addiction, you are welcome to do so. We use a timer in all of our meetings, so just be sure to finish your share when the timer rings. The leader will explain how much time you have to talk. Be careful not to "cross talk." Another important concept to observe when you are sharing is "1st person singular." That means that it is almost always suggested that members share about their own experience using "I" instead of "you," "they," or even "we". That way, the person sharing can focus on his or her own issues, struggles, or hopes for recovery, rather than generalizing to others. However, observing this principle is in no way required; it is merely a suggestion.

What is cross talk?

Cross talk is defined, at minimum, as talking while another person is sharing. It also refers to asking questions and expecting answers from others while you are sharing. It's better just to share about what's going on with you and then you can ask someone questions after the meeting. In short, don't ask questions during your share or you will be engaging in a form of cross talk. Another form of cross talk is to respond to another person's share during your share. Most of the time, it's okay to do this. Nevertheless, it's a lot better to agree or relate to someone's share than it would be to refer to their share as a way of giving them advice or disagreeing with that person.

How big are the meetings?

The meetings in the Claremont area vary in size with the Tuesday night meeting generally being the largest at about 15 to 30 members, depending on the weather and the season. The Thursday and Friday night meetings are usually a little smaller with 8 to 16 members in attendance on any given night.

Can my spouse or partner come along with me to the meeting?

All of the Claremont meetings are closed, meaning that only those who are or might be sex addicts can attend.

Where can my spouse or partner go to get help?

Your spouse or partner can attend COSA, a program for co-sex addicts. Just click the word COSA for their website and a list of meeting locations. In fact, there is a COSA meeting on Monday nights at the Claremont United Church of Christ at 7:30 PM. See below for COSA contact information:

Women only
When: Mondays
Time: 7:30 PM - 9:00 PM
Location: Claremont United Church of Christ
233 W. Harrison Avenue
Claremont, CA 91711
Room: Upstairs Room 206

Contact Angela P. for Questions:

What should I bring to the meeting?

The most important 3 ingredients for anyone to bring to the meeting are as follows:
1) honesty,
2) open-mindedness,
3) willingness

Honesty about your struggles with the addiction, for example. Open-mindedness because many people suffer from varying degrees of this addiction and act out in different ways. It's a good idea to keep this in mind before judging that the program will or will not work for you. The issue is powerlessness in the face of addictive triggers and the unmanageability our acting out creates. Some or sicker than others but we all meet in a spirit of love, tolerance, and helpfulness. Willingness is essential because SAA is a program of action and it takes most of us some
consistent and persistent effort to recover from this illness. Other than that, newcomers do not usually need to bring anything else to the meeting.

How do I know if I really am a sex addict?

No one but yourself can tell whether or not you are truly addicted to sex.
However, you can decide for yourself by doing some of the following:

1) Attend 6 meetings of SAA with an open mind. Listen to others share about their powerlessness and problems that were caused by their inability to control their sexuality. Look at your own problems with sex and ask yourself honestly if you can control it on your own, without outside help

2) Answer the "Am I a Sex Addict" questions

3) Read all of the SAA literature that you can find

4) Share your problems around sexuality with others in SAA and ask what they think

5) Try to stop on your own and see if you can do it for any extended period.