Dear ISO representatives and fellow SCA members,
Responding to the Covid-19 Pandemic
was the primary challenge for the SCA fellowship this past year.
The vast majority of SCA meetings and events have taken place remotely, mainly through various
teleconferencing platforms or simply via the telephone. A handful of in-person meetings have started up
again, though this trend may gain momentum in the months ahead.
SCA NY Experience
I live in New York and (primarily) attend SCA NY meetings, though I occasionally have—thanks to
Zoom—joined SCA meetings in other places. At the time of the March 2020 lockdown, we suddenly
had no access to in-person meetings. The Technology team initially set up a Callbridge™ account to
hold daily phone meetings. However, Callbridge™ quickly proved unsatisfactory for the membership,
so we switched over to Zoom on March 20th last year. At first, the NY intergroup offered daily 8 am and
6:30 pm meetings, for a total of 14 per week, but it quickly re-established existing meetings held at other
times and gradually formed new meetings. SCA NY, which had 23 in-person meetings before Covid,
now has 32 Zoom and one in-person meeting.
To protect the meetings from outside disruptions, the Technology committee set up a password system
whereby members could submit a short form on the local website to access the NY meetings. Over the
past 12 ½ months, we received 913 such applications (not including duplicates), of which 438 were from
newcomers (as of March 21st, 2021). This list comprises members from 172 different US/Canada area
codes and 18 countries. Members living in 4 or 5 different time zones commonly attend SCA NY
meetings. Members who live hundreds or thousands of miles from New York and who may never have
attended an in-person SCA NY meeting are doing service as meeting chairs, sponsors, and committee
While these figures show the need for recovery from sexual compulsion, fulfilling this need also
presents challenges. Conditions may change as we gradually work towards a return to in-person
meetings. People who live in areas where there are no SCA meetings are now attending regularly,
working with sponsors, and are an integral part of this fellowship. Ideally, we would love to see such
members starting physical meetings in places where they live, such as Australia, Brazil, Italy, Russia,
Spain, the UK, etc. Creating such meetings will take courage, hard work, and patience from these
members, most of whom are new to the fellowship. But SCA continues to welcome those who live in
places with no meetings, embracing them and including them in our fellowship. We might take practical
measures such as creating “hybrid” meetings —in person with teleconferencing, as well as maintaining
our Zoom presence. Some European members have already established a Monday evening Zoom
meeting in the ISO Zoom room. As conditions change, the Inreach committee (Gary S., Chair) will face
challenges to update the International Meeting List.
Literature Development Progress
Over the past four years, SCA has considerably expanded its literature. Starting with Sponsorship in
SCA (2018), ISO has approved significant pieces of literature, including Commentaries on the Twelve
Traditions (2019), Commentaries on the Twelve Steps (April 2020), and Porn, Apps & Internet
Addiction (Oct 2020). ISO also approved the creation of its Twelve and Twelve (Oct 2020), The Gifts of
Recovery (April 2020), and 13 individual recovery stories (2019-2020). This conference will now
consider SCA’s most ambitious literature project yet—the third edition of SCA: A Program of Recovery
(a.k.a. The SCA “Big Book”). The draft version, which was submitted to the ISO on January 15th this
year, really is a “big book”: 271 PDF pages, which roughly equals 500 printed pages, if produced in a
cloth-bound 6×9 (“pocket-book”) size. This new edition contains 28 chapters, seven of which are new
material, including the long-awaited Commentaries on the Characteristics Most of Us Seem to Have in
Common, plus 15 additional individual recovery stories. ISO will consider the newly written pieces
before it reviews the draft Recovery Book.
Much of the “Big Book” preparation has taken place over the past two years, particularly during the past
12 months. Dan W’s Recovery Book sub-committee met weekly while numerous project teams focused
on individual chapters. These teams met even more frequently, sometimes several times a week. The
RBSC considered and approved each chapter and then the book as a whole by Group Conscience. The
entire project was a real collaboration: team spirit and patience (with one another) enabled us to
overcome many obstacles to revise and update virtually all of SCA’s existing literature and produce new
work. The third edition contains approximately 139,000 words (compared to 30,000 in the “Blue Book”
From time-to-time ISO members have expressed concern about the cost of printing a full-sized SCA
recovery book. Such a project would require a large initial outlay. We will talk about projected income
and expenses in more detail during the discussions this afternoon. The Fiduciary Chair, David N., will
present some numbers. However, ISO’s finances have never been healthier than they are today. The
Covid restrictions, which forced such changes to our meetings, also increased our membership and 7th
Meanwhile, our expenses have dropped sharply. This year’s conference will be the third one conducted
remotely, and this has saved an estimated cumulative total of $11,000 in conference expenses. Just think
of all the copying and notebook assemblage that we escaped, not to mention those airline/hotel
reimbursements and continental breakfasts! Therefore, I believe ISO has never been better situated to
make this commitment than it is presently.
ISO will need to produce and distribute literature in the future. Current literature sales patterns have
changed due to Covid. There is little current demand for printed material, as there are so few in-person
meetings to distribute them. Instead, readers have migrated to e-books, and members have also been able
to take advantage of ISO’s decision to offer the Steps and Traditions commentaries–also The Gifts of
Recovery–on our website free of charge (in “read-only” format). However, a new recovery book may
well generate a demand for a print version and an e-book production. The same would hold for our
Twelve & Twelve. ISO may wish to make different decisions about older SCA literature, most of which
we have revised as part of the recovery book project. Once those printed inventories are depleted, would
we print the revised version of individual pieces, such as “Moving Through Withdrawal?” Or should we
update those pieces in e-book format only, trusting that the printed Recovery Book would satisfy the
demand for printed versions?
Membership Development and Survey follow-up
SCA will face other challenges over the next several years, such as the need to expand our outreach in
various new directions. The virtual meeting environment has given us an awareness of the global
demand for 12-Step “S” fellowships. We should consider capitalizing on the influx of new members,
asking them to spread the word about SCA. We might commit to a stepped-up presence at professional
conferences, such as IITAP and SASH. We could engage well-known speakers at some of our panels,
increase our contact with other “S” fellowships, and reach out to various 12-Step programs associated
with cross-addiction. We also ought to be mindful of maintaining the connection with our roots in the
This time last year, we heard the final report from our Fellowship Inventory Committee, which had
surveyed SCA members worldwide during the autumn of 2019. That committee’s report recommended
actions that might be taken by SCA service boards, including individual meetings, intergroups, and the
ISO (the report also suggested efforts that individual members might take). The suggestions to each
service body–including ISO –addressed the top six (6) areas of concern expressed by the survey
respondents. They are:
(1) Not enough focus on the Steps
(2) Low or shrinking attendance
(3) Fellowship not welcoming enough
(4) Not enough outreach or visibility to the public
(5) Not enough safety in the rooms
(6) Need for better, additional, and updated literature
What actions have we taken, collectively at ISO, at intergroups and meetings?
First of all, Covid has altered the way we conduct meetings. We can’t easily quantify the changes we
have made, but we can mention some developments. There has been more focus on the steps, including
establishing new meetings devoted entirely to step work. Last year’s Commentaries on the Twelve Steps
have been extensively read aloud at many other meetings. Making valid attendance comparisons has
been especially difficult over the past year. Still, the growth in the number of Zoom meetings –some of
which have 30-40 members regularly attending—is an encouraging sign.
We can apply these developments to address concerns about the fellowship not being welcoming
enough. Given the particular difficulties that affect virtual meetings (the absence of sharing physical
space), I believe that our fellowship has worked hard to be welcoming over the past year, especially to
newcomers. I see this taking place in meetings—both in and outside New York. Brand new members are
also encouraged to ask for help, whether to get someone’s phone number to make a program call or to
find an interim sponsor. The sense of community is still there, is growing, and it is now a global one.
ISO approved its inclusivity and diversity policy last October and sent this to all intergroups and
meetings, posting it on our website. Many meetings have also included specific language to affirm our
fellowship’s commitment to diversity and inclusivity. It shows in our Zoom meeting attendances. We
have many new younger members, many new members who self-identify as People of Color, and many
who self-identify with various genders and sexual identities. The average age of the 2019 survey
respondents was 53.4. My guess that the average membership age has dropped by 4-5 years over the
past 12 months. We are no longer the overwhelmingly gay, white (older) male fellowship we used to be.
The suspension of physical meetings, conferences, and public events has restricted SCA’s outreach and
public visibility. However, our website is an essential help to people looking for recovery. The meeting
lists and the free literature, including the downloadable PDF combining our Four-Fold with For the
Newcomer, are valuable resources, and they are immediately available. Some intergroups and meetings
focus their attention on safety in the rooms. The SCA/ISO Diversity and Inclusivity Policy has provided
some guidelines and talking points for the entire membership. Meanwhile, many meetings have added
welcoming language to their scripts, and some intergroups have attempted to address the issues
surrounding boundaries and room safety.
As for the sixth area of concern identified by the survey, I have already described the explosive growth
in SCA literature development that has taken place over the past few years.
This conference concludes my five-year stint as the ISO chair, an unexemplary record, given ISO’s
stated commitment to leadership rotation. This conference will need to elect my successor and an
Outreach Chair to succeed Rich K., who has also faithfully served for the past five years. When I
became Interim Chair, less than two weeks before the 2016 ISO Conference, my first goals were to
encourage (1) the roll-out of the (then) projected new and improved website; (2) make further progress
towards an eventual SCA Recovery Book —a fuller version of our current “Little Blue Book,” and (3)
implementing the Out-of-Meeting Sponsorship program. ISO reached that first goal in the summer of
2017. The revised www.sca-recovery.org website was completed and installed, and it has been running
smoothly under the guidance of our webmaster (Greg I.). The Out-of-Meeting Sponsorship program was
also established that year and has expanded, given its new importance as a resource for those attending
SCA meetings remotely. For instance, nearly half of those requesting SCA NY Interim sponsors via the
local website application over the past year live outside the NY area. Last year’s survey showed that
only 55 % of the respondents had a sponsor, and only 45.6% of members with more than 90 days on
their SRP had sponsees. I believe those numbers have grown considerably over the past year—again,
partly due to the connections made via virtual meetings.
The Recovery Book goal: I won’t rehash what I said in earlier paragraphs, except to note that the 2019
survey asked the following question: What outside literature has been important for your recovery?
Well over 100 books and pamphlets were listed by the respondents. The top 12-step publications were:
AA Big Book
AA 12& 12
SAA Green Book
Perhaps SCA’s Recovery Book will one day be on someone else’s list of valuable outside literature. I
certainly hope it will be near the top of SCA’s list of our program literature.
Thank you for allowing me to be of service as ISO Chair for the past five years.
Mutual respect and acceptance for all have always been central to maintaining safety within
the SCA fellowship. With the greater awareness of differences within the SCA community,
the time has come to make these precepts more explicit.
As stated in Tradition One: “Our experience shows that it is essential that SCA meetings be
places where members feel accepted and free to share their experiences with sexual compulsion
honestly and openly, without fear of being shamed or judged.” Self-acceptance and acceptance
of others are fundamental to recovery in SCA. SCA unity depends on the practice of this
Rather than reference a list of identities entitled to this respect, acceptance, and tolerance, we
affirm that these practices apply to all who seek sexual recovery under our Third Tradition:
“The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop having compulsive sex.” We further
encourage non-judgment in all matters relating to others, as we wish to be free of judgment
ourselves. Personal recovery depends on SCA unity.
Diversity and inclusivity are essential to welcoming all people into the rooms. If people of
marginalized groups feel welcome, they can start to reduce their shame: not just the shame of
their compulsive sexual behaviors, but the shame of feeling “other.” The eradication of shame
is critical for mental health and recovery over time.
Like other 12-Step groups, SCA takes no position on outside issues. However, when any
language or practice supporting inclusivity benefits the recovery of its members, it is
appropriate to encourage or suggest that these be adopted at the meeting level, recognizing that
each meeting is autonomous and can choose whether or not to do so.
SCA is committed to safe and productive meetings for all members. Members are encouraged
to be inclusive, respectful, and kind to all others. We affirm that discrimination,
microaggression, and harassment have no place in SCA meetings. The trusted servants of any
meeting are encouraged to firmly but gently flag disrespectful conduct. They may respectfully
take other actions as deemed necessary to maintain safety within the group, recognizing that
awareness of these issues is often lacking.
The founding of the SCA fellowship came about, in part, because of the lack of acceptance or
tolerance of different sexual orientations by others. Creating a safe space for diversity creates
an environment for members to make themselves vulnerable by getting honest. Trust in the
fellowship is a crucial component for recovery
SCA is here to support you and has added a second ISO Zoom room, which will be available exclusively for SCA recovery meetings. The recording system has been disabled for the new room. Therefore, SCA should not hold any of its business meetings on this channel.
Please be aware that this room was created specifically to enable new meetings to access Zoom, wherever they happen to be. If you or someone you know wants to start a new meeting, it is very important that they contact Gary S., the Inreach Chair at firstname.lastname@example.org to coordinate meeting times, and to allow us to list the meeting on our international website.
The ISO Recovery Book sub-committee wants your input!
SCA’s International Service Organization (ISO) will hold a series of Saturday afternoon workshops to read and discuss the recently submitted draft commentaries on The 14 Characteristics Most of Us Seem to have in Common.
These drafts have not yet been considered by ISO to become Conference-approved SCA literature. All members of the fellowship are welcome to attend any or all of these sessions. These workshops will be held every Saturday from October 31st through December 12th. The intent is to read the commentaries on two (2) characteristics at each session, followed by open sharing and a short, simple survey to obtain feedback. Each session will also include a reading of the Prologue and Epilogue, the chapters that introduce and summarize the commentaries.
These workshops will take place on Saturday afternoons, beginning October 31st at 3:00 pm USA Eastern Time in ISO Zoom room #2. Contact Gary S. at email@example.com for the Zoom room number and password, then use the link below:
We look forward to your participation and hearing your comments on the proposed literature.
The ISO has voted to conduct a special conference entirely on the Zoom platform on Saturday, October 24th, 2020 Noon – 5pm, and Sunday Noon-4pm [Note: all times are EDT= GMT- 4:00].
The primary focus of this conference is to consider specific pieces of new literature and other items of SCA business.
Please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org for the Zoom meeting ID (phone access code) and password.
Since our retreats have been cancelled (for the time being) you may want to attend the
St. Louis “S” Retreat: https://stlouissrecoveryretreat.wordpress.com/
Please announce to your groups and members that the following SCA literature is now available on Amazon Kindle, Google Books and Apple iBooks:
Sexual Compulsives Anonymous: A Program of Recovery
Avoiding Common Pitfalls on the Road of Recovery
Avoiding Common Pitfalls on the Road of Recovery
Q&A: A Guide to Newcomers to Sexual Compulsives Anonymous
Sponsorship in SCA
El Librito Azul (Spanish Edition)
What About Masturbation?
Secret Shame: Sexual Compulsion in the Lives of Gay Men and Lesbians
Additional “read-only” literature can be found on: http://scalosangeles.org/covid-19/ and https://www.scany.org/literature
SPONSORS–Calling all sponsors!
“Sponsorship is two people with the same problem helping each other to work the program. It can provide a framework for a sexual recovery plan and for doing the Twelve Steps, and can bring emotional support at difficult times.”
BE OF SERVICE,
BE AN OUT-OF-MEETING SPONSOR!
The Inreach Committee of the SCA International Service Organization (ISO) is setting up an out-of-meeting sponsor pool for SCA members worldwide who are in need of sponsorship. This is a great way to do service and carry the message to those members who are in countries, cities and places where there are limited or no face-to-face SCA meetings, or to loners and isolated meetings. Contact can be by telephone, mail, email, Skype and internet messaging services!
If you are interested in providing distance sponsorship and helping another member to work the program, please supply the following information:
- First Name and Last Name Initial
- City and Country of Residence
- Postal address and/or email address
- Phone number (optional) – indicate best time to call/restrictions
- Languages – spoken or written, plus degree of fluency
- Background details – time in recovery, areas of familiarity e.g. sexual anorexia, internet addiction etc., other recovery programs, will sponsor men, women or both, preferred method of communication, other pertinent details.
- Any questions that you may have.
Send details by email to: email@example.com
OR by mail to:
SCA Inreach Committee
P.O. Box 1585, Old Chelsea Station
New York, N.Y. 10011
NOTE: Your contact information will only be given to SCA members that request a sponsor via the SCA Inreach Committee Sponsor List. SCA members worldwide are welcome to put their names on the list and become an out-of-meeting sponsor.
“Service is a way of helping ourselves by helping others.”