Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous
S.L.A.A. (sometimes written SLAA) was founded in Boston, Massachusetts in 1976, by a member of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Though he had been a member of AA for many years, he repeatedly acted out and was serially unfaithful to his wife. He noticed a correlation between his powerlessness and unmanageability with alcoholism and with recurring sex and love issues. He founded S.L.A.A. as an attempt to stop his compulsive sexual and romantic behavior. S.L.A.A. was the first of several 12 Step programs to focus on sex addiction, together called the "S" fellowships, that all emerged independently on separate coasts in the late 70s. In cities with few meetings, different "S" programs occasionally work together by sharing resources.
S.L.A.A. is sometimes known as the Augustine Fellowship, because early members saw many of their shared symptoms described by St. Augustine of Hippo in his work Confessions. Also the first meeting place in a church in 1976 discouraged them from using the name Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous on church records for fear of controversy among the congregation.
The Board of Trustees of the Augustine Fellowship, Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (S.L.A.A.), Fellowship Wide Services, Inc. (F.W.S.) was established seven years later in 1983. The first annual Conference of S.L.A.A. was held January 14, 1984 at the Grace Episcopal Church in Newton, Massachusetts. The Business Meeting was opened with eighteen people in attendance.
About the Program
As of 2012, there were over 16,000 estimated members with 1200 meetings in 43 countries including Brazil, China, India, Israel, New Zealand, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Uruguay and most of Europe. COSLAA is another twelve-step fellowship created to support the family members and friends of sex and love addicts.
S.L.A.A. encourages members to identify their own "bottom-line behaviors" with the guidance of a sponsor. The organization identifies these behaviors as "any sexual or emotional act, no matter what its initial impulse may be, which leads to loss of control over rate, frequency, or duration of its occurrence or recurrence, resulting in spiritual, mental, physical, emotional, and moral destruction of oneself and others." Maintaining "sobriety" in the S.L.A.A. program requires abstaining from one's bottom-line behaviors. However, these behaviors are never set in stone and may change as S.L.A.A. members continue in the program. Examples of bottom line behaviors might include sexual or romantic activity outside the scope of monogamous relationships, anonymous or casual sex, compulsive avoidance of intimacy or emotional attachment, one-night stands, compulsive masturbation, obsessive fantasy, compulsive attraction to unavailable or abusive partners, and a wide variety of addictive sexual, romantic, or avoidant behaviors. Other areas of the addiction include addiction to Fantasy and Sexual/Emotional Intrigue.
Many of those practicing the S.L.A.A. recovery program develop the ability to engage in a healthy committed relationship. S.L.A.A. encourages recovery from sexual anorexia, emotional anorexia and social anorexia, three related areas of self-deprivation that lead to isolation and often accompany patterns of addictive behavior. As in AA and other 12-Step programs, members are encouraged to find recovery through Sponsorship. Members work with a sponsor who is also a member of S.L.A.A. who guides the sponsee (member) through the Twelve Steps of recovery. Many members and sponsors feel that recovery is not achievable without active sponsorship.
S.L.A.A. publishes the book Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, it is approved by the organization for use in their fellowship. This book, also known as the Basic Text, was first published in 1986 and provides insight into the problem of sex and love addiction, information on working the 12 steps of S.L.A.A., the history of Sex & Love Addicts Anonymous, and personal stories from members of the program. The book is available for purchase through their online store at their official website and through the worldwide F.W.S. Office based in San Antonio, Texas. S.L.A.A. publishes the Journal, a bi-monthly magazine. A free issue for newcomers and healthcare professionals is available at the official website. There are seven Core Documents of S.L.A.A.:
- The 12 Steps of S.L.A.A.
- The 12 Traditions of S.L.A.A.
- The S.L.A.A. Preamble
- Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction
- 40 Questions for Self-Diagnosis
- Signs of Recovery
- Recommended Guidelines for Dealing with the Media
- Hypersexual disorder
- List of twelve-step groups
- Sex Addicts Anonymous
- Sex and Love Addiction
- Sexaholics Anonymous
- Sexual Compulsives Anonymous
- Griffin-Shelley, Eric (1994). Adolescent Sex and Love Addicts. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-94681-9. OCLC 29843754.
- Griffin-Shelley, Eric (1997). Sex and Love: Addiction, Treatment and Recovery. Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. ISBN 0-275-96065-X. OCLC 22662376.
- Irvine, Janice M. (Winter 1993). "Regulated Passions: The Invention of Inhibited Sexual Desire and Sex Addiction". Social Text 37 (37): 203–226. doi:10.2307/466269. ISSN 0164-2472. JSTOR 466269.
- Terry, Jennifer; Urla, Jacqueline (1995). Deviant Bodies: Critical Perspectives on Difference in Science and Popular Culture. Bloomington: Indiana University Press. ISBN 0-253-20975-7. OCLC 42854482.
- Augustine Fellowship (June 1986). Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Augustine Fellowship. ISBN 0-9615701-1-3. OCLC 13004050.
- Handout at 2013 USJT Conference on Sex and Love Addiction in Brooklyn
- Carnes, Patrick J.; Moriarity, Joseph (1997). Sexual Anorexia: Overcoming Sexual Self-hatred. Center City, Minnesota: Hazelden. ISBN 1-56838-144-1. OCLC 45733339.
- Official Website: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Fellowship-Wide Services
- Local Website: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous San Francisco - East Bay
- Local Website: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous Los Angeles
- Local Website: Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous UK
- Local Website: Palm Beach County Florida
- COSLAA for partners and family members of sex and love addicts
- Works by or about Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous in libraries (WorldCat catalog)
- The 40 Questions of SLAA: 40 Questions for Self-Diagnosis