SLAA Anorexia Meeting Last revised: 1/12/11 Wednesday 6 PM Pacific Time Hello and welcome to the ―SLAA Wednesday Night Anorexia Meeting ‖. My name is __________ and I am a __________. This is an SLAA meeting with a focus on sexual, social, and emotional anorexia. Since the materials on Sexual Anorexia are still being developed, in this meeting we read from non-conference approved literature. We hope that you will find in this Fellowship the help and friendship we have been privileged to enjoy. Let's open the meeting with a moment of silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer. ―God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.‖ Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous is a Twelve Step, Twelve Tradition-oriented fellowship based on the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous. The only qualification for this meeting is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sexual, social or emotional anorexia. S.L.A.A. is supported entirely through the contributions of its membership, and is free to all who need it. To counter the destructive consequences of sexual, social or emotional anorexia we draw on five major resources: 1. Sobriety. Our willingness to stop acting out in our own personal bottom-line addictive behavior on a daily basis. 2. Sponsorship / Meetings. Our capacity to reach out for the supportive fellowship within S.L.A.A. 3. Steps. Our practice of the Twelve Step program of recovery to achieve sexual and emotional sobriety. 4. Service. Our giving back to the S.L.A.A. community what we continue to freely receive. 5. Spirituality. Our developing a relationship with a Power greater than ourselves which can guide and sustain us in recovery. As a fellowship S.L.A.A. has no opinion on outside issues and seeks no controversy. S.L.A.A. is not affiliated with any other organizations, movements or causes, either religious or secular. We are, however, united in a common focus: dealing with our addictive sexual and emotional behavior. We find a common denominator in our obsessive/compulsive patterns which renders any personal differences of sexual or gender orientation irrelevant. We need protect with special care the anonymity of every S.L.A.A. member. Additionally, we try to avoid drawing undue attention to S.L.A.A. as a whole from the public media. Our 7th Tradition states that every SLAA group ought to be fully self supporting, declining outside contributions. Announcements: This group holds a monthly business meeting on the last Wednesday of the month immediately following the regular meeting. All are invited and encouraged to attend. Are there any other SLAA announcements? Would someone please read the Characteristics of Sexual Anorexia? (Found on pg 3 of this packet) Would someone please read the 12 steps? (Found on pg 4 of this packet) Are there any newcomers? If so, will you please introduce yourself by your first name only? Now is the time that we introduce ourselves. Hi, my name is ________ and I am a ________. Sponsorship and co-sponsorship are especially important tools for recovery from anorexia. If you hear someone whose recovery you like, contact them after the meeting. ---------- Page 2 ---------- This meeting has a rotating format: Week 1 is the Anorexia Step Study that corresponds to the given month. (See pg 6 & 7 of this packet) Week 2 we read from the Patrick Carnes’ book Sexual Anorexia – Overcoming sexual self hatred. (See page 8 of this packet. Jan=Nurturing, Feb=Sensuality, March=Self Image, etc…) Week 3 we read the Capacities for Intimacies. (Found on pg 9 of this packet) Week 4 we read the Anorexia Tools. (Found on pg 10 of this packet) If there is a 5th week, it is the chairperson's choice. It is week _______. We will now read ______________ [see above]. [ Do the reading. After the reading...........] 7th Tradition Break: Our 7th Tradition states that every SLAA group ought to be fully self supporting, declining outside contributions. Is the treasurer present? Announcements: This group holds a monthly business meeting on the last Wednesday of the month immediately following the regular meeting. All are invited and encouraged to attend. Are there any other SLAA announcements? We do not interrupt one another or engage in discussion—this is called “crosstalk.” While we encourage expressions of identification with, and appreciation for speakers, we also do not judge or comment on what people say, or tell them what to do—this is called “feedback.” Please be aware that some of us can be triggered by the use of sexually explicit and/or abusive language. The meeting is now open for sharing on the topic _____. [ Sharing ends ] Thank you for sharing. If you did not get a chance to share, please stay on the line and talk to someone after the meeting. In closing - Many of us who have united for the common purpose of recovery from anorexia have begun to experience new and awakened lives. We have seen the miraculous removal of ancient blocks and previously unquestioned habits. We have opened ourselves to life—our own and each other’s. We have found social communion, relationship, marriage, closeness and friendship. We have found true affiliation with a wide and unexpected variety of people in the SLAA community. We are also discovering how to live healthy lives alone, yet without being anorexic. But more than this, we continue to find our own way to a serenity of spirit that is a surprise and delight to ourselves and to people around us. We will now close with the Serenity Prayer. ―God, Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.‖ . ---------- Page 3 ---------- Characteristics of Sexual Anorexia 1. Sexual anorexia can be hidden underneath extreme behaviors, like sexual promiscuity, compulsive eating, compulsive cleaning, alcoholism and codependency; and/or deprivation behaviors like hoarding, compulsive saving, compulsive dieting, food anorexia and phobic responses. 2. Sometimes our distorted thinking has been influenced by culture, social or religious groups that view sex negatively. 3. Fearing sexual pleasure, we have rigid and judgmental attitudes about sex behaviors. Fearful of being discovered, we become socially and spiritually anorexic. 4. Preoccupied and obsessed with others being sexual, we have a vivid fantasy life. 5. We sometimes have a morbid and persisting fear of sexual contact; therefore, we obsess and are hyper-vigilant around sexual matters. 6. We can cycle from sex addiction to sexual anorexia out of deprivation and isolation but feel safer in sexual anorexia. 7. We have distorted perceptions of our body appearance. We sometimes fear being noticed at all and want to disappear. 8. We can have extreme loathing of body functions to avoid anything connected with sex. 9. We sometimes obsess, get depressed and/or have self-doubt about sexual adequacy. 10. We sometimes have excessive fear and preoccupation with sexually transmitted diseases. 11. We sometimes feel grandiosity from avoiding sex but still worry and obsess about the sexual intentions of others. 12. We sometimes have shame and self-loathing over sexual experiences and will react with self-destructive behavior to limit, stop, or avoid sex. ---------- Page 4 ---------- SLAA’s Twelve Steps 1. We admitted we were powerless over sexual, social, and emotional anorexia – that our lives had become unmanageable. 2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over the care of God as we understood God. 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. 5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. 6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character. 7. Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings. 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. 10. Continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with a Power greater than ourselves, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out. 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to anorexics, and to practice these principles in all areas of our lives. ---------- Page 5 ---------- SLAA’s Twelve Traditions 1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon SLAA unity. 2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority – a loving God as this Power may be expressed through our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern. 3. The only requirement for SLAA membership is the desire to stop acting out a pattern of sex and love addiction (or anorexia*). Any two or more persons gathered together for mutual aid in recovering from sex and love addiction (or anorexia*) may call themselves an SLAA group, provided that as a group they have no other affiliation. 4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or SLAA as a whole. 5. Each group has but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the sex and love addict (or anorexic*) who still suffers. 6. An SLAA group or SLAA as a whole ought never to endorse, finance, or lend the SLAA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems or money, property, or prestige divert us from our primary purpose. 7. Every SLAA group ought to be fully self supporting, declining outside contributions. 8. SLAA should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers. 9. SLAA as such ought never to be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve. 10. SLAA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the SLAA name ought never be drawn into public controversy. 11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, film, and other public media. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all fellow SLAA members. 12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. *The anorexia references were added for the purpose of this meeting and are not in the original version of the SLAA Twelve Steps/Traditions or the SLAA Preamble. ---------- Page 6 ---------- Week 1 - ANOREXIA STEP STUDIES 1. We admitted we were powerless over sexual, social, and emotional anorexia, that our lives had become unmanageable. The first step asks us to let others care for us and to learn to take care of ourselves. This means giving up control, letting go, and trusting others. Key concepts: powerlessness, trusting others, letting go. (Chairperson may add additional step 1 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity. The 2nd step reminds us that an awareness of little things helps us to trust that there are larger forces at work in our lives. A sense of wonder emerges if we are present to our lives. Key concepts: sanity as vulnerability, coming to trust, wonder. (Chairperson may add additional step 2 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over the care of a Higher Power as we understood that power. The third step underlines the leap of faith necessary to believe in ourselves and to trust that our life is connected to the guidance of a Higher Power. The time-honored ―act as if‖ principle assumes a Higher Power who made us loving and lovable, fully alive human beings. Key concepts: leap of faith, our decision, who is our Higher Power. (Chairperson may add additional step 3 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves. The fourth step asks a fearless inventory of who we are which demands a more honest expression of our needs, vulnerabilities, and strengths. This is the first step toward becoming visible. Key concepts: honesty, fearlessness, visibility (Chairperson may add additional step 4 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 5. Admitted to our Higher Power, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs. The 5th step helps us to be fully known by others, including all of our ―dark side‖. This helps us to be comfortable to integrate those parts of ourselves we used to hide. Key concepts: fully known, dark side, admission. (Chairperson may add additional step 5 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 6. Were entirely ready to have our Higher Power remove all these defects of character. The sixth step encourages us to look deeper for areas that need work in our life, and to be open to change and being changed. Key concepts: readiness, openness to change and being changed. (Chairperson may add additional step 6 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 7. Humbly asked our Higher Power to remove our shortcomings. The seventh step allows us to take another leap of faith that we will be shown how to grow and move through these more difficult issues. Seeing the ways our Higher Power leads us to change, and the ways we are taught to work out these issues, adds to our spiritual growth and life experience. Key concepts: humility, request, removal. (Chairperson may add additional step 7 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) ---------- Page 7 ---------- Week 1 - ANOREXIA STEP STUDIES (Continued) 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all. The eighth step demands a rigorous honesty which becomes central to healthy relationships. This honesty within ourselves makes relationships more durable and authentic. Key concepts: willingness, responsibility, honesty, authentic relationships (Chairperson may add additional step 8 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others. The ninth step is the actions step that requires us to do what we can to keep our relationships in order. That means to use all means that we can and to make amends for those areas in which we have not done enough. The ninth step is our part of building a bridge toward healing past wrongs; the outcome belongs to our Higher Power, and is one more way we open to the possibility of grace in our lives. Key concepts: direct amends, safety, action, building bridges (Chairperson may add additional step 9 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it. The tenth step builds on the principles of the previous nine and asks that these principles be practiced in our lives on a daily basis as a way to greater self-awareness and deeper commitment to honesty with others. Key concepts: daily, commitment to honesty and awareness (Chairperson may add additional step 10 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with our Higher Power as we understood this power, praying only for knowledge of his/her will for us, and the power to carry that out. The eleventh step encourages us to constantly improve our spiritual consciousness--our closeness and trust in our Higher Power. In this way, we remember our connectedness and purpose. Key concepts: closeness and trust in Higher Power (Chairperson may add additional step 11 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) 12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to other anorexics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs. The twelfth step asks that we bear witness to our experience with others. This creates the opportunity for us to become conduits for our Higher Power at the same time that it deepens our connectedness and our own healing. Key concepts: bearing witness, practicing principles, connectedness (Chairperson may add additional step 12 readings if they chose - Example: SLAA basic text or AA literature) ---------- Page 8 ---------- Week 2 - Readings from the book Sexual Anorexia – Overcoming sexual self hatred January: Nurturing Read page p.121 (Issues) – p.129 (stop at Planning). (Skip SEAN AND MARGIT, p.125) February: Sensuality Read page p.148 (Issues) – p.154 (stop at Planning). March: Self Image Read page p.171 (Issues) – p.174 (stop at In Your Journal). April: Self Definition Read page p.188 (Issues) – p.192 (stop at Planning). May: Sexual Comfort Read page p.205 (Issues) – p.214 (stop at Planning). June: Knowledge Read page p.235 (Issues) – p.244 (stop at Planning). July: Relationships Read page p.262 (Issues) – p.267 (stop at Planning). August: Partners Read page p.289 (Issues) – p.297 (stop at Planning). September: Nongenital Sex Read page p.313 (Issues) – p.316 (stop at Planning). October: Genital Sex Read page p.324 (Issues) – p.331 (stop at Planning). November: Spirituality Read page p.342 (Issues) – p.345 (stop at Planning). December: Passion Read page p.357 (Issues & Tasks). ---------- Page 9 ---------- Week 3 - Capacities for Intimacy Initiative. To be intimate, one has to risk being first. Calling, reaching out, expressing interest or care, inviting others to share activities or problems, revealing needs and wants—all characterize initiative. Initiative never stops. Without it, mutuality cannot exist. Its opposite is the passive, isolated stance of an anorexic terrified of abandonment, or the seductive person who has to rely on others to maintain their emotional connections. Recovery requires connection with others. Presence. To say someone is emotionally present means that their feelings are available, that the whole person is totally engaged. People who are present listen and pay attention. They notice what happens and express their reactions. They are willing to spend time with no other goal than to be present. They seek and accept the presence of the other. The opposite of this is the shame-based person who deflects the attempts of others to connect, since any affirmation is felt to be undeserved. Recovery works to reduce shame through affirmation of the group, so that presence becomes safer. Completion. Trust builds when people finish things, including interpersonal transactions. A person who acknowledges care and outreach lets others know they have been heard so the message does not have to be sent again and again. Working for closure on problems, responding to others needs and wants, and expressing appreciation for others’ completed efforts all create a sense of safety and reliability. Addicts try to leave things unfinished to keep their options open; co-addicts set low levels of accountability because they are afraid of abandonment. Needs and wants here remain unheard. Recovery comes through the 8th and 9th steps as the interpersonal bridge is rebuilt. Vulnerability. When people are vulnerable they share their thoughts and feelings. They talk to others about their dilemmas and involve them in their decisions. People who are vulnerable allow feedback. They reveal parts of themselves, including fears and inadequacies. Anorexics, however, keep everything secret and private, often from fear or shame. By hiding their internal dialogues, they often strive to appear fearless and invulnerable, not knowing that owning up to powerlessness and need is normal and human. Nurturing. Nurturing involves caring for other people. People who are nurturing express care for others, empathize with their pain, and affirm their value. They support, encourage, and offer suggestions. They do things to help others, taking care not to diminish them in any way. They touch and allow themselves to be touched. Anorexics, on the other hand, often involuntarily withdraw from people who have needs, afraid of engulfment or intimacy. They are uncomfortable with intense feelings, and have trouble listening to others. They can be critical of judgmental when others need help because they are afraid of losing themselves. Recovery comes from compassion and honesty engendered by the group experience. Nurturing of others can become the norm, as fear is replaced by feelings of safety. Honesty. When people are honest, they are able to claim both positive and negative feelings. They are clear about their priorities and values. Honest people are specific about disagreements, provide feedback when asked, and admit flaws and mistakes. Those with whom they are intimate know them fully. Anorexia is a disease of silence, in which significant feelings remain unexpressed and disagreements are not resolved. Manipulation, passive-aggressive behavior, and avoidance can take the place of honesty, because anorexics fear conflict or have been unable to identify what they feel and think. The program’s focus on rigorous honesty and on meditation help to heal the gulf created by silence. ---------- Page 10 ---------- Week 4 – Anorexia Tools: Meetings: Attending meetings to learn how the program works is important for all addicts. For anorexics, it is especially important to establish a home group—a group attended every week—in order to be known. Doing service in this group is also important. In addition, it is essential for anorexics to attend regular SLAA meetings, where a large pool of diverse recovery and deeper community exists. Co-Sponsorship: All sponsorship is essential to learning both the spirituality and the skills offered by the program. In co-sponsorship, those of us who come from abuses of power find a way to establish mutuality in learning the program, working the steps, and being connected and supported, by both giving and receiving feedback within a timed and regular structure. Telephone: Many of us have found the regular use of the telephone on a spontaneous basis is especially difficult. Because of this, some of us have created a pattern of committed and scheduled phone calls on a weekly basis. This allows us regular support, accountability when calls are missed, and the opportunity for knowing other members of the program more deeply over time. Bottom Line: We establish, first, a bottom line around acting out behaviors, so we can work more deeply on our anorexia and avoidance. For avoidance behaviors, bottom lines are formed in connection with our sponsors or co-sponsors. For example, we may establish a bottom line that canceling scheduled phone calls without notice or rescheduling is breaking a bottom line. Top Line: The top line is especially important for anorexics, because top line behaviors are goals, things we want to start doing—and recovery from anorexia is about creating new positive behaviors. The top line is a guide for self-care, and may cover all aspects of life—connecting with others, learning to play, creating a spiritual practice, learning to be sexual, participating in community, building or keeping friendships. Step Groups: For anorexics, working the 12 steps in a group format is incredibly helpful. The group itself allows us to come out of isolation, and the steps teach us to ask our Higher Power to heal our anorexia. For people who tend to do everything by themselves, these groups can be truly transforming, an experience of both safety and deep spirituality. Writing: We anorexics use writing to stay connected with ourselves. Writing helps us to clarify thoughts and feelings, so we break the cycle of numbness and invisibility that keeps us stuck. From here, we can connect more authentically with others. Action Plan: An action plan is a plan for specific steps toward accomplishing some top line goals. This plan can come from discussion with a sponsor, from calling together two other members of the fellowship in an action group, or from feedback within the community. Action plans for healing sexuality, for example, might include gentle steps that include exercise, body work, exercises within a partnership or alone, but with the support of a sponsor. Guided Meditations: Like writing, guided meditations help us to break our blocks in connecting with ourselves. By using our own intuitive visioning power, we can find inner guides, create an internal safe place, integrate our shadow side and deepen our experience of the steps. Gratitude List: Anorexics use negativity, blame and shame as a way to distance ourselves from others. To counteract this we make a gratitude list. When we have gratitude to express, we have in some sense been lifted from a place of lack or need to a place of well-being and abundance. The more we look at what's right instead of what's wrong, the more change actually occurs.
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