IFF Meeting Experience by LS (NYC member)

Hosted by SLAA, the 3rd annual meeting of the Inter-Fellowship Forum (IFF) was held on November 7 & 8, 1998, at the Wyndham Garden Hotel in Waltham, Massachusetts. Five Fellowships participated: SA, SAA, SCA, SLAA, and for the first time, SRA, represented by myself and another SRA member. Representatives traveled from Michigan, Texas, Chicago, New York, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Maine. SCA had one member present; SA, SLAA, and SAA each had two. The IFF was chaired by an SLAA representative, and each Fellowship was granted one vote in the business meetings.

The basic idea behind the IFF, as I understand it, is to foster a spirit of cooperation and communication between the “S” fellowships—as they share the common goal of helping the still-suffering addict; while at the same time being mindful of the Traditions. To that end, establishing greater continuity within the IFF itself was discussed. So was strengthening national cooperation by sharing meeting lists, information about each Fellowship, etc. Other ideas included various joint ventures, such as generic “S” on-line meetings, and sending IFF packets to healing professionals (with materials from all participating “S” fellowships). The possibility of sharing literature was also discussed. It’s important to note that motions passed there were not directive. The IFF has no authority over the individual fellowships.

No date or location has yet been decided for next year’s IFF, although it was determined that it will be hosted by SA (SRA is scheduled to host in 2001).

On a personal note, I want to say that I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to do this service. I felt deeply honored representing SRA in our first appearance at the IFF. Indeed, I believe it was the first time that delegates from SA, SAA, SCA, SLAA, and SRA assembled together in the same room. I remember thinking “this puts SRA on the map!” I wondered if the excitement and anticipation I felt as I sat down to meet was anything like what members of the Continental Congress felt. (Yes…….that’s it! This was like a Continental Congress of Sex Addicts!) I experienced attending the IFF as being part of something new. I glimpsed the future—the potential of the strength that can be unleashed by the joint efforts of all those afflicted by sexual addiction—regardless of their particular Fellowship affiliation. Above all, I witnessed people with some fundamentally different beliefs working together toward a common goal, guided by a loving Higher Power. And this gave me hope.