Helping Others By Showing Up

Helping Others By Showing Up

I am part of the duo that welcomes newcomers in an SA email group called SA Net. SA Net currently has over 1,000 members where the majority transition to meet on Zoom leaving few to actively participate on email. I am one of the few and have found great recovery in not only participating in SA Net but also in doing service.

To participate on SA Net, a member shares their experience, strength, and hope by sending an email to the entire group. Every week there is a topic that is suggested by members whose services are to suggest weekly topics. I like being part of SA Net because prior to joining SA, I would exchange emails with men I had found on some “friendship” websites. What I used to feed lust then is now being used to experience and share recovery. What a miracle!

We welcome newcomers at SA Net by sending them an “initial email” which is a brief introduction of SA Net followed by five questions. The first question is asked to find out if the newcomer is an adult. This is because SA Net is a fellowship of adults suffering from sexaholism so one must be above 18 years. I have had a few situations where people as young as 16 years have reached out and I have halfheartedly been forced to reject their request and refer them to seek help from counselors or adults they trust or S-Ateen.

The second question seeks to find out if the person is a newcomer. We sometimes have situations where a person was once an SA member but left the Fellowship. In such situations we treat these people as newcomers. The third question seeks to find out if the newcomer has a desire to stop lusting which is in accordance with SA’s Tradition 3—the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop lusting.

The fourth question asks whether the person is male or female because the next process is to connect the newcomer to a 12th-stepper. 12th-steppers are men and women who are there to share their experience, strength, and hope with the newcomer, and answer any question they may have about SA or SA Net. The rule is a male 12th-stepper guides a male newcomer and likewise with a female newcomer.

Once this process is over and we have confirmed that the newcomer’s email address is private for the purposes of anonymity, the 12th-stepper sends an email to let the Join Coordinators know that the newcomer is ready to join SA Net. From there we share some newcomer resources which includes recommended SA literature, SA podcasts, an infographic that has summarized information about the SA and SA Net sharing guidelines and links to the Zoom, telephone, and face-to-face meetings. We encourage newcomers to complement their recovery on SA Net by using other meetings like Zoom or face-to-face. Personally I use SA Net, Zoom and my Kenyan face-to-face meetings which have really boosted my recovery and offered me different fellowship connections.

Tradition 5 and Step 12 requires me to carry the message to the sexaholic who still suffers. In my initial months of recovery, I was convinced I could save all newcomers and would nag every one of them to go to meetings, get a sponsor, and generally work the program. After a while, I realized I could not work other people’s program nor save them because I am truly powerless.

So my way of helping newcomers to stay in SA, is to sponsor some, show up, and be there for them—whether on SA Net, Zoom, or my Kenyan fellowship. My physical presence in my local fellowship helps some women stay and some men learn how to practice recovery around women. I participate actively in meetings where I carry the message of my experiences so that they can be encouraged to keep coming back. While some leave, it is always a joy to see those who stay and become sober.

Kawy W., Nairobi, Kenya

Discussion Topic

How are you and your home group welcoming and keeping newcomers?

Kawy shares how her way of helping newcomers to stay in SA is by sponsoring some, showing up, and being there for them in different ways.

She goes into great detail to explain how SA Net goes about welcoming and keeping its newcomers.

What is your home group’s procedure of dealing with newcomers? Has it been successful?

Have you given serious thought on how to improve your initial email or phone contact? On how to welcome them at their first meeting?

What (spoken and unspoken) message is conveyed by the culture of your group? Is it one of hope, sobriety, and joy? How do you follow up on your newcomers? How do you welcome members who left SA and show up again?

You may use this topic in a discussion meeting, or send a story of your own recovery journey to essay@sa.org

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