Recap of SIM 2020 & What’s Next

Over 2500 sexaholics from 80+ countries around the world came to experience for themselves that God is surely for each one of us. That was more than twice the 1200 people who even registered for last year’s event.

Some people brought the SIM broadcast into their normally scheduled meetings. One attendee in the US reportedly “joined on Zoom but passed the numbers on to several members of my group who do not have access to the internet. It was awesome. I wish I could have seen more of the event, but the three meetings I attended were very very good.

In prior years, when there wasn’t a pandemic, there were not many options for online recovery meetings. We needed to stand out from innumerable Zoom meetings that are now available. This is, in part, why the SIM planning team made an active appeal for our mailing list to amplify our reach. We published testimonials on the website and in the newsletter, and we incorporated feedback that pointed out where we needed to improve the process.

We worked very hard to capture attention at a glance, to come up with a design concept that would feel welcoming, even to skittish newcomers who might have been concerned about anonymity. We maximized visual information, created several Zoom background images, and provided promotional pictures.

Numerous volunteers worldwide played a role, even while some personally battled COVID or were caring for sick relatives. They gave generously of their time, talent, and creativity. One participant commented, “there was a very rich international contingent. This is a human problem. It shows up in all cultures. Which means we are not alone.

Multilingual talent collaborated with our very talented graphic designer to produce flyers in almost a dozen languages. Speakers and panelists from past SIM events, as well as newer members of the fellowship took time to advise us on strategies to increase outreach. Various moderators of phone, zoom, and in-person meetings regularly announced the event.

From newbies only 2-3 weeks in SA, all the way to others with 30+ years in the program, everyone knew that the 2020 SA Internet Marathon was the place to be. A new fellow from Australia said, “I am a new attender of an Australian group, so it was nice to see faces and hear more of their stories. Then I heard the young adult panel, and it was so nice to see others in the program around my age.

During various sessions on all channels, SIM volunteers encouraged participants to make a 7th Tradition donation to SAICO. The membership responded, and we raised $2,600 USD to help ensure the future of this and other outreach events.

The opportunities to interact with speakers and panelists were extremely valuable according to survey results and conversations overheard in the SIM Cafe.

One UK resident recounted her experience: “I was impressed by how well organized the whole event was. The hosts were so warm and welcoming, and the speakers were incredible. A speaker talked about choosing a sponsor who you are afraid of so you can’t manipulate them. Another panelist spoke of his respect for old-timers who continue to lead with their weakness and work the Steps.

The SIM Cafe WhatsApp group grew around 300%, as members of various SA groups spread the word, and as people joined from the link in the weekly newsletter. People obtained information about other meetings, sponsorship, and other resources. Best of all, it provided a sense of community to continue making the real connection.

There was a bit of competition about who would miss the most sleep in order to consume as many sessions as possible. Some got by on minimal sleep–only a few hours. Extreme? Maybe. But hadn’t we been extreme at times in our disease also? Thankfully, we have recordings! The vast majority of speakers have already given their consent to share their talks. SIM Cafe was the first to get the link, and more recordings are being added as we speak.

Some favorite quotable quotes attendants reported were:

Inventory my day instead of judging my day.

The Steps keep me from committing suicide. The Traditions keep me from committing homicide. The concepts keep me from committing genocide.

I don’t get the First Step…It gets me.

Forgiveness is when you carry the weight of what someone else did to you without expecting anything from them.

An early survey responder, who would have liked to be considered as a speaker, suggested that we cast a wider net for next year’s speaker search. Another person who filled out the survey saw SIM as a potentially good service opportunity for their sponsees. Dozens more volunteered to be part of the extended SIM planning family next year. Our team intends to reach out to them right away, to strike while the iron is hot.

A speaker from Channel B was very moved by the opportunity, and said, “It brings tears to my eyes to know I have been chosen to be a part of this. Sober or not, every one of us are part of something great and miraculous.

SAICO trustees who participated in the SIM planning meeting a week after the event were pleased with the turnout and the effort that this team put together over the course of 12 months.

They had special words of appreciation for the team, as had one member from the midwest who said, “I feel close to my S.A. fellows and grateful. Congrats everyone for SIM, for sobriety, and for another day sober. And thanks to the beautiful HP who keeps us all sober and helps us get well.” Isn’t that the transformation we are truly after? Not only having sobriety for its own sake, but to see the proof in our lives that we can go from unmanageability to being well.

As soon as the SIM2020 broadcast ended, our team immediately started changing our communications to reflect planning for SIM2021. This year’s turnout held a lot of lessons for future planning, which will include having more members of the fellowship participate.

In the words of one of our speakers in Europe, “SA is maturing,” and he felt a lot of joy at the mix of presentations that ranged from conversations with oldtimers, archive material, young people in recovery, and more women being heard.

We want to acknowledge Gene T. for his service in chairing the SIM Planning Committee these last three years. A new chair and vice-chair will now lead the team, but we will all remain of service while making room for more committee members. And again we want to acknowledge everyone who chose to set aside other commitments and activities to be a part of the event.

We look forward to another great event next year!

In grateful service,

Rina R., New Jersey, USA — Head of SIM2020 Publicity

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