Guidelines used in approving stories
The public information committee uses seven guidelines for evaluating submissions. Our experience has shown that literature embraced by the fellowship of SAA adheres to the following guidelines:
- SAA literature respects and reflects the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of SAA.
- SAA literature carries the SAA message of recovery. It is derived from SAA experience and addresses SAA concerns.
- SAA literature is needed by the fellowship. It has a clear purpose and an identifiable audience.
- SAA literature is plainly and clearly written. It is easy for our members to read and translates readily into other languages.
- SAA literature does not contain offensive or sexually provocative language. When discussing acting-out behaviors or life in addiction, clinical language is used rather than slang. We do not glorify acting out.
- SAA literature is inclusive of all our members. It uses language that is sensitive to: gender, race, religion, region, culture, and sexual orientation. Our literature invites identification with and acceptance of other sex addicts.
- SAA literature reflects how most SAA member groups practice the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. It strives to represent a consensus of the principles practiced by SAA groups around the world. SAA history, including spoken tradition, is treasured and honored whenever practical.
The first two guidelines recognize the heritage of SAA. The SAA program, which has been adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous, is the Twelve Steps of SAA. While we strive to be sensitive to and articulate the aspects of addiction and recovery that are specific to our experience as sex addicts, we also acknowledge that there is much to be gained from the experience of those who have gone before us in practicing the Twelve Steps. Similarly, the Twelve Traditions, also adapted from AA, establish the principles by which we operate as groups and as an international organization.
The second guideline advises us to remain faithful to the message of SAA and not to mingle it with outside issues or causes, in adherence to the Fifth, Sixth, and Tenth Traditions. The second guideline also means that SAA literature should be written by members of the SAA fellowship, who have experienced recovery and sobriety in the SAA program. While SAA literature may quote or refer to the foundational texts on the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, we must be careful never to violate copyright laws, to plagiarize, or to summarize without proper attribution.
The third guideline means that all of our literature should serve a purpose for the fellowship. We publish literature to carry the message of recovery. When we review literature, it is good to identify who will be served by it and how. We evaluate the piece, in part, by how well it serves the identified audience. Identifying an audience is essential for publishing a piece of literature.
The fourth guideline is about writing clearly. We want our message to reach sex addicts regardless of reading ability or native language. Most newspapers are written at the ninth-grade level and we should target this level in our literature. We should avoid overly long sentences and uncommon words. Our literature may include some difficult words, such as “unmanageability,” so long as the words are commonly used in our fellowship and essential to understanding the program. Our literature should be clear and succinct.
The fifth guideline reminds us that the purpose of our literature is to educate and is never a platform for glorifying our acting out. SAA literature avoids offensive and overly descriptive language. It avoids explicit descriptions of persons or places associated with acting out. When we write about our addiction and sexuality, we are careful to use appropriate language, which is not sexually explicit or graphic.
The sixth guideline tells us that our literature should, in so far as possible, speak to all of our members and alienate none. As sex addicts, we tend to believe we are unique. Our literature should dispel this belief with inclusive language and examples. We need to use language that doesn’t assume anything about the gender, country of origin, profession, sexual orientation, religion, or acting-out behavior of the reader. The examples we cite should reflect our diversity. We may write for a particular audience, such as women, so long as our audience is identified in the publication. Also, when we print a member’s story, that addict’s unique point of view is maintained; yet it is identified as a specific member’s experience and not the voice of the fellowship.
The seventh guideline comes from our First and Fourth Traditions. SAA literature speaks for the whole fellowship. Literature published under the SAA name affects every group and SAA as a whole. Therefore, our literature needs to reflect how SAA member groups practice the principles of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.