Last Updated on 19 February 2023
Roles and Responsibilities
Service is an essential part of recovery in SLAA. Most of us would never have found recovery if not for the work of members who came before us. Now free from active addiction, we too can serve the fellowship. SLAA service begins in the groups, which carry the message directly to still-suffering addicts. This piece describes a few basic group service positions. The Group Booklet is another helpful resource for SLAA groups.
The main function of SLAA groups is to hold meetings where addicts can share the message of recovery with each other. The strength of each group depends on its trusted servants and regular members. The trusted servants lay the groundwork for a strong atmosphere of recovery. Members who attend regularly and share a strong message of recovery build on that foundation. The work necessary to make our meetings happen varies from one group to another, but the trusted servant positions are similar in many places.
Function, Not Form
These descriptions are suggestions based on common practice and existing service materials. Groups often do things a little differently. Every group is free to create other positions to share the workload or to accomplish tasks that are not covered here. Groups may choose members for specific duties, such as setup or clean-up person, speaker coordinator, literature person, coffee person, greeter or online roles. These depend on the size and needs of the group. Some positions are ideal ways for newcomers to get involved. Each group can look for creative ways to establish a warm and attractive atmosphere. When we focus on our primary purpose, group service has profound effects on the lives of many addicts.
Tradition Three describes a SLAA Group: “The only requirement for SLAA membership is a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction. Any two or more persons gathered together for mutual aid in recovering from sex and love addiction may call themselves a SLAA group, provided that as a group they have no other affiliation.”
For many members of SLAA participation in a Group is essential to sobriety. In a Group, members accept service responsibilities; learn to set boundaries and to build friendships. It is suggested that one SLAA Group be chosen as the home group. This is where GC meetings are attended and the right to participate and vote as part of the group conscience (Tradition Two) of the Fellowship is exercised. All members have the right to vote in a Group Conscience [GC] on issues that affect the meeting regardless of the length of sobriety.
Group service positions may include set-up, secretary, treasurer, literature coordinator, chair and Intergroup Representative and are usually the way members first experience service.
Mentorship and Continuity, Alternate Positions
To remain fresh and vibrant, groups typically rotate trusted servant positions on a regular basis. Trusted servants generally move on to different roles or other levels of service when their terms end. Alternate positions for these service positions help members learn the roles before they take on responsibilities. Alternates work with their counterparts to better understand the position. They also fill in for their counterparts in the event of absence. This helps the group cultivate leadership skills in members who might otherwise not have service positions, and it allows members to learn their positions in advance.
As Our Members Grow, So Grows the Group
The SLAA group is responsible for sustaining one of the front lines in our effort to carry the message to the addict who still suffers: the SLAA meeting. Being a member and serving a group are important roles in the growth and stability of SLAA as a whole. When we make a commitment to our group, we take personal responsibility for the primary purpose of SLAA. The newcomer we welcome to SLAA today could go on to help countless other addicts. We carry a message and help addicts find a home in SLAA, and our service reaches much further than we can imagine. As we serve and grow together, we begin to make our groups feel like home. That feeling can be the attraction that brings newcomers back.
The Group Secretary [GS] plays a key role in making meetings happen. The secretary is usually the liaison between the group and the meeting facility. That means ensuring that the facility is opened and closed at the proper times before and after each meeting and working with the group treasurer to make sure that rent is paid in a timely manner.
The atmosphere of recovery in a meeting often depends on the meeting format and on the members chosen to lead, chair, or speak. In some places, the secretary arranges for a leader, speaker, or chairperson for the group’s meetings. In addition, the secretary and IR often work together to plan or conduct group business meetings. The secretary can either take notes or lead group discussion in these cases.
The Group Treasurer [GT] handles the money that members contribute to the group. This involves keeping records, paying for group expenses (literature, rent, Zoom account, etc.), reporting group financial activity at GC meetings, and sending group contributions to Intergroup. The treasurer can play an important role in raising group awareness about the importance of self-support (Tradition Seven). When selecting a treasurer, the group should look for members who are trustworthy, are financially responsible, and have good basic maths skills. The group may also want to consider a treasurer who is willing and able to help members understand our shared responsibility for funding SLAA services.
The treasurer provides accurate information to the group in business meetings to help members make good financial decisions. This trusted servant ensures that all group funds are used in line with our traditions and concepts, and according to the group conscience. Some groups have lost funds because of carelessness, misuse, and theft. This can often be avoided by selecting members with good organisational skills and a strong program of recovery.
The Leader or Chairperson [LC] is the SLAA member who guides the recovery meeting according to the meeting format. The leader, often a different person each week or each month, often sets the tone for the rest of the meeting. Some groups invite members from other groups to lead their meetings. The leader’s tone helps establish a positive atmosphere of recovery. This might include keeping order in the meeting. Kindness and calmness go a long way in preserving the atmosphere of recovery. An LC who can be both loving and firm can keep the meeting focused on carrying the message of recovery.
The Intergroup Representative [IR] is the link between the Group and the wider SLAA fellowship. The IR represents the group conscience, reporting to the monthly Intergroup meetings.
Experience shows that many IRs have been active in Group, Intergroup, or other service and have encountered situations in which the Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts have been used to solve problems. IRs have time available and the confidence of the Group, plus the ability to listen to all viewpoints. Length of time in the program may also help Group members decide on the best IR for the Group.
When meetings have both physical (in room) and online (usually Zoom) participants, the meeting is best served by having one or two Online Secretaries [OS]. The role of the OS is to host the Zoom meeting. Where there is a waiting room, the OS will admit participants. The OS will monitor the meeting and mute participants who are not sharing. Where necessary, they will remind participants of the group requirements. They provide the text of any readings that are used during the meeting in the chat window. They may moderate the chat if required. They provide any meeting links in the group chat.
Some meetings additionally have a group chat using Signal or similar messaging app. The OS will copy any phone numbers that were shared during the meeting for outreach or sponsorship and provide them in the group chat.
The OS will keep a record of who has shared at the meeting and provide that to the Meeting Servants chat.
The literature person ensures that the group has any necessary literature and supplies. This might involve working with the Intergroup Representative or Group Treasurer to buy literature from the Intergroup or SLAA Fellowship Wide Services.