There Is Value in Co-ed As Well As Women-only SA Meetings

When I entered the room of my first SA meeting in September 2018, I was the only female. I sat down at a table with five men of varying ages and I felt very alone and fearful. What would these men think of me? It wasn’t until the meeting progressed and these men around me started sharing their thoughts and feelings about working their SA program that I began a slow journey towards being able to view men as people rather than as objects.

I spent most of my life in active SA addiction and objectified men from a young age. Boys around me at school and church, my brother’s friends, my dad’s co-workers, my teachers, peers, etc. They were all simply a target to me. It has only been through the blessing of SA and the meetings I attend that I’ve been able to learn to view men in a different light. I can now see them for the imperfect humans they are. Humans with feelings, emotions, struggles, successes, addiction, and sobriety. My vulnerability in meetings is my greatest strength because it allows me to open up. When I see others being vulnerable, it shows me they are human, just like me. They are no longer objects of lust.

For me, a great SA meeting has three key elements. 1) Everyone in the meeting is there for their own sobriety and the meeting’s FOCUS is on sobriety. 2) Each member of the group works towards keeping the meeting productive and keeps the meeting alive and going. 3) Members volunteer for service and volunteer to share their story. If all of these elements come together, it yields a great meeting. When I’m in a meeting, I try to volunteer to keep time or read, and I always try to share, even if I don’t feel like it. As our White Book says, take the action and the feeling will come.

During COVID, several new women-only meetings have sprung up. Women from all over the world come together and share about their SA journey. By joining in these meetings, I have learned that other women share my same struggles of objectifying men and seeing them as “things” rather than people. I’ve also learned that there are some deeply held secrets among female SAs that they only feel comfortable sharing with other females. I value their shares and I applaud their openness with their SA sisters.

I’ve come to realize that there is value in co-ed SA meetings as well as women-only meetings. I get different takeaways from each and I am able to grow in sobriety in different ways.

Emily J., Idaho, USA

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