History of Sexual Compulsives Anonymous in Toronto, Canada

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Sexual Compulsives Anonymous in Toronto was started by two members who were looking for a different approach to "S" recovery from that of another "S" program. Colin K. recounts: "David M. and I were members of Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) for several years and, in the summer of 2000, we talked about bringing another 'S' fellowship to Toronto.  I believed that this was necessary at the time because I wanted to reclaim my sexuality in a healthy way, and there was not a lot of experience, strength and hope that would suggest that our fellow SLAA members were doing this - particularly for those of us who were single."

"David M. and I met for coffee and looked over the literature we had received from SCA and another fellowship that dealt with sexual compulsion, namely Sex Addicts Anonymous  (SAA). I liked the tools that SCA had to offer. In particular, I liked the concept of the Sexual Recovery Plan and the fact that SCA was founded by gay men, and inclusive of all sexual orientations (David and I were both gay).  The Sexual Recovery Plan was very appealing - sobriety was self-defined as before by listing the behaviors to be avoided, however, on the other side, there was a list of the things that were to be added to make recovery worthwhile.  This could include actions that would result in attaining a healthy sexuality. Sexual Recovery Plans differed from member to member, and were based on personal history and circumstances."

"The Sexual Recovery Plan was like a breath of fresh air.  There were a couple of additional factors that swayed us - the term 'sexual compulsive' was a bit easier to swallow for newcomers who may have had difficulty with the term 'sex addict,' as well as the fact that the preamble stated that the intent was not to repress our God-given sexuality.  We were sold on SCA, and agreed to move forward with our plan and bring SCA to Toronto.  We initially decided that two meetings per week would be held. In a subsequent coffee meeting, we used the SCA Blue Book to draw up the format for our meetings. The basic format was this - we would read from SCA material then share on the reading, followed by a 'getting current' sharing segment (also known as 'open sharing'). This basic format has survived to the present day, although some additional wording has been included and minor changes have been made to it along the way." 

"In August, 2000, we commenced a search for meeting locations.  We approached local churches and institutions, such as hospitals and community centres.  We decided on the Women's College Hospital at 76 Grenville Street as a meeting place due to its central location, good conference room, close proximity to the Church-Wellesley gay village, and 'pay what you can' approach to rent.  There were no other Twelve Step groups meeting there at the time, and it was felt that this would give the group a new and fresh start. Also, scheduling of the meetings was easier at the hospital, as the other potential locations were already hosting a number of community groups, and scheduling our chosen meeting days would therefore have been more difficult elsewhere."

The first meeting of SCA in Toronto took place at the beginning of October, 2000. Meetings were held on Sunday evenings and Thursday nights. SCA in Toronto celebrates our founding anniversary on the First of October.

Colin K. continues:  "Our first meeting consisted mainly of SLAA members who knew us. These people continued to attend, but most did not want to leave SLAA.  We soon realized the need for community outreach in order to carry the message and to build our membership. We approached the LGBT newspaper 'Xtra!' in order to obtain an Xtra phone extension.  Xtra was the most widely circulated free gay newspaper in the city, and provided groups that served the LGBT community with an extension to their main phone number.  The names and extensions were published in Xtra's weekly paper, and this service was free to non-profit community groups such as ours. We signed with Xtra for our 'Xtension Agreement' on October 12, 2000. Our introductory message with group information was then recorded, consisting of the SCA preamble and the times and location of our two weekly meetings.  This was updated from time to time until the creation of our local website."

The summer of 2002 brought changes to the Toronto fellowship. Women's College Hospital had been undergoing considerable transition, and gave notice that the rent for the meeting room would be raised to a level the group could not afford. Additionally, there were tensions and divisions among a number of the members.

In September, 2002, Colin K. decided to establish another SCA meeting on Fridays. He relates: "At the time, it was thought that attending a meeting at the start of a weekend would give members enough strength to last through the weekend.  An application had been submitted to the local LGBT Community Centre (The 519 Church Street Community Centre) in September, 2002, however, we did not hear back from them for some time. As a result, St. Luke's United Church at 353 Sherbourne Street was approached in early October, 2002.  The church was agreeable to hosting our meetings.  Our first meeting there took place on Friday, October 18, 2002.  The group met here until December 27, 2002.  At that point, we were informed that the board of the 519 Church Street Community Centre had finally approved our application for the use of their space.  The meeting never really took off at St. Luke's and so the members decided to move to The 519.  Another issue was that the 7th Tradition collections could not cover the $75 per month fee that St. Luke's United Church was requesting."

"It was hoped that the gay village location and popularity of the 519 Church Street Community Centre would attract more newcomers.  Also, there was no set room rental fee at the community centre, and this was very helpful until such time as we were able to 'get on our feet' financially. Meetings at The 519 began on Friday, January 3, 2003."

The Women's College Hospital meetings closed in October, 2002. David M. and Tony I. set up a new meeting at St. Peter's Anglican Church, 188 Carlton Street on Tuesday evenings. Initially, this was an SCA meeting and attended by many of the members from the Women's College Hospital meeting along with the other new meeting at the 519 Church Street Community Centre. Some weeks later though, David M. and Tony I. explored the Sex Addicts Anonymous fellowship, contacting their International Service Organization, and the Tuesday SCA meeting at St. Peter's was converted to an SAA meeting. This represented the founding of SAA in Toronto. 

SCA in Toronto therefore continued with one meeting per week, on Fridays at the 519 Church Street Community Centre, from 2003 until 2006. The Friday meeting gradually became popular and the group had a reasonable number of members so, with group agreement, Kevin B. decided to establish another meeting. There was a search for a suitable and affordable meeting place for a couple of years, and eventually the group also started meeting on Tuesday evenings at St. Andrew's United Church, 117 Bloor Street East from Tuesday, September 26, 2006 onwards.   

The group had discussed outreach strategies at a series of business meetings from 2005 on and, with the prevailing changes in publishing and the ongoing development and expansion of the internet, a significant area of focus was the need for a website to carry the SCA message of recovery in the local area. The group set up a basic website in September, 2006.  

The two weekly SCA meetings gave members more stability and structure in which to recover, and the new website attracted more newcomers. Slowly, the Toronto fellowship grew.

SCA Toronto had had various routine dealings with SCA's International Service Organization over the years, for literature orders and problems with literature shipments mostly, but we reached out to ISO in July, 2007 for more significant assistance with a website misdirect that meant people looking for SCA were encountering SAA locally instead. We contacted ISO again in July, 2008, when our members were ambushed after a meeting by a notorious pick-up artist who was filming a documentary. This contact led to Toronto having an ISO Representative at the Annual ISO Conference for the first time by telephone in February, 2009. SCA Toronto members then became involved in ISO Inreach Committee service work, part of which was to reach out to the former SCA group in Montreal, Quebec, which was found to have converted entirely to an SAA group. It was determined that Toronto was the only remaining city in Canada with a physical SCA presence, Ottawa meetings that we knew to have been in existence around 2003 and 2004 also having folded.

Frank H., an SCA founder from New York, visited Toronto and attended meetings for roughly a year from 2009 to 2010. Frank H. later sent us a copy of a letter dated April 1, 1985 which was part of an exchange between him and individuals of a group called "Obsessive and Compulsive Sexual Behaviour" in Toronto. This group had written to SCA in New York about sexual recovery and the SCA program. We were not aware of that group or what became of it, and to our knowledge SCA as such was not present in Toronto before October, 2000, although both the fellowships of Sexaholics Anonymous (SA) and Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) were.

With the advent of some new members with experience in other "S" fellowships and different Twelve Step programs, and a solid core group attending the two existing Toronto SCA meetings around 2010, Eugene S. started a third weekly SCA meeting on Wednesdays. The noon meeting at St. Basil's Church Parish Office at 50 St. Joseph Street in downtown Toronto began taking place on Wednesday, March 16, 2011.

SCA Toronto hosted the Annual ISO Conference in Toronto from April 20 to 22, 2012, representing the first time the ISO Conference had been held outside the United States of America. SCA Toronto has had in-person representation at ISO Conferences subsequently.

As of this writing, SCA in Toronto continues to hold three weekly meetings, on Tuesdays at 6:15 p.m., Wednesdays at 12:00 p.m. and Fridays at 6:30 p.m. respectively. Over the years, our membership has waxed and waned, but our meetings nevertheless persist. SCA Toronto is a small fellowship, but perfectly viable. All those with a desire to stop having compulsive sex and to work the SCA program of recovery from sexual compulsion can find the framework, resources and support to do so in our group!

Submitted by Colin K. and Kevin B.,

SCA Toronto, October 1, 2015.

SCA Toronto Celebrates 15 Years

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October 1, 2015 marks the fifteenth anniversary of SCA meetings in Toronto.

The Toronto group decided to celebrate this occasion by having a potluck dinner and cake after the regular meeting on Friday, October 2, 2015.

The group will provide the cake, and members are requested to bring along a dish or some form of food or drink (non-alcoholic) for the potluck.

We have booked a room from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. for this purpose. The meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. as usual.

Anyone who has attended an SCA meeting in Toronto in the past is welcome to join us for this celebration. We hope to see as many members as possible there!

To mark this occasion, the group will shortly be publishing a summary history of SCA's presence in Toronto, in line with the ISO drive of a few years ago for individual cities to compile and submit their histories to ISO.

Happy Anniversary Toronto!

Los Angeles Steps Two and Three Workshop

The above will be held on Saturday, September 12th at the Plummer Park complex in West Hollywood. Check out the flyer for more info.

New York Late Summer Retreat

SCA New York will be holding one of its semi-annual retreats in mid-September.  Full information is here, and online registration is here.

The next SCA LA workshop, on starting or re-starting one's program, will take place Saturday, August 8th at Plummer Park.

Check out this flyer for more info.

New York Intergroup News June 2015

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(Not exactly) hot off the presses, but better late than never, here it is.

Los Angeles Pride Outreach Recap

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SCA Los Angeles performed a weekend of outreach at the LGBT Pride festival in West Hollywood 6/12/15 - 6/14/15.

At the Pride festival, there was a special area that orgaziners had set up for fellows in recovery to celebrate in a safe sober space.  This area, #Sizzle, included a DJ and ten carnival games/booths which were supported from various outreach groups supporting recovery and/or prevention in the LGBT community.

This was our first time doing outreach at Pride and it was a great success.  Fellowship volunteers worked shifts to cover the booth and interact with festival attendees. 

We are also following up our outreach to newcomers with a workshop and discussion panel on July 11, 2015 from 10am-12pm at Plummer Park.  This workshop will offer newcomers the opportunity to ask questions and learn about meeting formats, 12-step work and other tools of the program.  Members are being encouraged to attend to offer support and interim sponsorship.

The Outreach Committee handles a number of vital functions, such as our 800-number, PO Box, and email account. Ongoing projects include the sponsor-by-mail prisoner outreach. The committee's leadership has undergone several turnovers in the past couple years, so additional projects have been on hold. 

Our highest priorities would be reaching out to professional organizations and developing our capacity to respond to media queries. We also want to place SCA ads in relevant apps and online resources, such as recovery blogs, publications, and search engines. To strengthen the outreach committee's team, we hope to recruit the outreach/12th-step committee chairs from the various Intergroups to join our committee. Another project would be to reach out to the other S-fellowships regarding an agreement not to solicit one another's members. Finally, we would like to contact other 12-step groups that make referrals, such as AA, and ask them to include SCA. 

We believe that these efforts could significantly impact the growth of our fellowship in the future. The Outreach Committee is always open to people who want to contribute their talents. In particular, we are seeking someone to Chair the committee. Any nominations should be sent to the Inreach Nominating Committee at sca [dot] iso [dot] inreach [at] gmail [dot] com. 

Fiduciary Chair Report

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The Fiduciary Chair is the administrative support for SCA,  maintaining the financial records, creating a yearly budget, and safeguarding all the records with archiving responsibilities for prior year records.

We ensure the website is up to date and current, and currently are redoing it and in the redesign stage.  The programming stage will soon follow to get it up and running.

We are also in the midst of moving our archives and trying to get it all electronic and securely stored. We are looking at ways to help pay for our reps to attend the annual face to face meetings so there would be more attendance and feedback at the conference. We already have in place for our officers to get reimbursed for there expense. We are working to make sure we have a private policy in place so that if anyone orders anything through us knows how we gather and use the information that is provided to us. We are also looking into how that information is stored so it doesn't get lost or hacked into with the information that is gathered.

This year's ISO Conference was a resounding success in the view of the ISO Director at Large. The delegates worked well together in a cohesive manner, and tackled the agenda effectively and efficiently. A healthy group conscience was clearly evident throughout the conference. We approved pertinent literature submissions, referred other literature back for additional work, and rejected one piece of draft literature, plus a suggested wording change to one of the Tools of SCA. There was a searching discussion of the limits of the authority of the Executive Committee, and its individual officers, together with the role and authority of the annual ISO Conference itself. Of particular note was a resolution affirming that SCA's Third Tradition includes all those wishing to recover from sexual compulsion in any and all of its manifold forms of expression, which was passed unanimously.

Focus of the Director at Large report presented to the 2015 ISO Conference and recommendations made to ISO were:

  • Define/expand job description of Director at Large
  • Expand job descriptions of Inreach, Outreach and Fiduciary Committees
  • Continue to support SCA fellowship history project, and its independence
  • Define what constitutes an SCA group and intergroup
  • Continue to prioritize definition and explanation of SCA Steps and Traditions
  • Continue to hold, strengthen and promote quarterly ISO and ISO Committee calls
  • Publicize available service positions
  • Develop ISO Service Manual
  • Promote commitment, stability and continuity in ISO service
  • Formulate plans to improve ISO's fundraising efforts
  • Continue to prioritize, encourage and support SCA website redesign and upgrade

Conclusion & Summary

The Tools That Help Us Get Better tell us that "Service is a way of helping ourselves by helping others."  Much of the report had a common thread: ISO needs to promote and support service in general, but also particular areas of service. ISO also needs to encourage commitment, stability and continuity in service. In the way we go about doing service, both as a service board and as individual Trusted Servants, we should not lose sight of the Traditions and core principles of the program. Some ISO service positions and areas need to be better defined.

SCA has no paid special workers. Just as we are self-supporting in financial terms, so must we be self-supporting in the service that is done to keep all the varied areas of the fellowship going. In order to carry the message of recovery, the fellowship needs strong Seventh Tradition contributions from all quarters.

In service,

Kevin B

SCA Conferences and Events

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