SLAA Meetings

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (SLAA) are a 12-step-based programme for people who suffer from a range of sex and relationship-based addictions, using the model pioneered by Alcoholics Anonymous.


SLAA was founded by a member of Alcoholics Anonymous in Boston in 1976. He discovered that despite being an active AA member for years, he struggled with compulsions around sex and was serially unfaithful to his wife. He founded SLAA as a way to stop his sexually compulsive behaviour.

What do Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous provide help for?


SLAA believes that there is a common obsessive/compulsive component in the people it was formed to help. It’s there for people who compulsively engage in or avoid love, sex and emotional attachment.


SLAA has identified some common behaviours in people seeking help with them. They include poor boundaries, becoming sexually or emotionally attached to people without knowing them, abandonment issues, confusing love with other things like neediness or the need to be rescued, sexualising guilt, stress or fear, and avoiding vulnerability. Addiction to co-dependency, romantic obsession and fantasy are also common among SLAA members. Because relationships with others can be based on addiction to how they make the person feel, and not their qualities as an individual, idealisation, assigning magical qualities to other people, and manipulating and controlling others can also happen.


One of the central concepts of SLAA is sexual or emotional anorexia. This is a term coined by psychologist Nathan Hare in 1975 to describe a fear of intimacy so deep that it causes a pathological avoidance of sex and emotional connection. This can manifest as avoidant behaviour, but it can also arise as compulsive sexual activities like watching porn and paying for sex. These activities are devoid of intimacy, so the sexual anorexic remains safe. Someone who is sexually or emotionally anorexic avoids intimacy because the fear of being rejected is too great.


Many of the signs of social or emotional anorexia, as defined by SLAA, could also be explained by social anxiety, and it is down to the individual to decide whether their behaviours are driven by an anxiety disorder or fear of rejection. Signs include a lack of intimate relationships, feeling overwhelmed in social settings, being hindered by shyness, and struggling to make phone calls. The concept of fear of rejection is central to emotional and sexual anorexia – the sufferer fears rejection primarily and avoids intimacy secondarily as a way of managing their fear of rejection.

How does Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous work?

While 12-step programmes are almost always focused on the concept of abstinence, SLAA also seeks to determine the root of the person’s behaviours so they can change them. This is done by sharing with the group, working with a sponsor, and seeking help from a higher power.


SLAA believes that gathering and meeting with other sex and love addicts is the primary way to get sober and maintain recovery, by giving and receiving support. SLAA also believes that meeting in a group based on recovery is a way of learning to engage with people in a non-addictive way.


SLAA call the behaviours that lead to sex and love addiction ‘bottom line behaviours’ while ‘top line behaviours’ are positive and life-affirming. Part of the process of recovery is identifying your bottom-line behaviours and refraining from them – this is the definition of sobriety within SLAA.


Most 12-step recovery programmes will be based on the 12 steps and 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. These tend to be very similar between programmes, with the focus being on the addictive behaviours the programme is seeking to address. The 12 steps involve admitting your powerlessness over your addiction and acknowledging and turning to a higher power to heal, with the final step being a spiritual awakening. Making a list of things you have done wrong, and making amends with people you have hurt, are also central to the 12 steps.

Do I need to be religious to join Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous?

Like many 12-step-based programmes, the concept of a higher power is central to SLAA. However, they are flexible about what this means. They state that they are not affiliated with any religion, and atheists are welcome to join. SLAA believes that the collective support of the group, or the concept of the universe, can serve as a higher power.


SLAA also goes by The Augustine Fellowship, which is named after the theologian, philosopher, and saint Augustine of Hippo. The reasons for choosing to use a religious figure in their name are twofold – the venue for the first SLAA meeting in Boston was a church, and they thought the name Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous would be too provocative for them to be allowed to meet there. They also state that they felt Augustine would have ‘understood and felt welcome among us,’ based on reading his autobiography, ‘Confessions’.

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous in the UK


Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous UK has a good presence and operates meetings all over England and, to a lesser extent, in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Their coverage in some areas could be stronger – Wales, for instance, only has in-person meetings in Cardiff – but remote options are available for those who can’t make in-person meetings, such as telephone, web-based meetings and text-based meetings. SLAA UK also runs various retreats, conventions and intergroup meetings.


Unlike some other 12-step-based programmes, SLAA UK meetings may sometimes be just for specific demographics due to the sensitive nature of the discussed behaviours. SLAA meetings UK have men-only, women-only and LGBTQ+-only meetings.

What to expect from a typical SLAA Meeting


The ground rules of SLAA meetings are similar to those of many other 12-step programmes. SLAA is anonymous, and only first names are used. Meetings are based on mutual support and sharing experiences to overcome mutual struggles.


Meetings may have different formats or be based on different topics. They may also be closed (for people seeking recovery only) or open to all people. There are no fees or dues for attending SLAA meetings, and meetings are funded entirely by voluntary contributions, so no one is turned away.

How to get the most out of SLAA meetings


The first step to determining if SLAA is for you is their 40-question checklist. They state that no particular score is a guarantee that sex and love addiction are present, but higher scores are a stronger indication.


SLAA recommends attending at least six meetings to find out if the programme is for you, which is a common recommendation for 12-step-based programmes. However, you don’t have to speak at a meeting, so attendance is not high-pressure.


SLAA tries to model healthy relationships in its meetings to encourage people to stop engaging with others in a compulsive and addictive way. This means simply attending with an open mind, being honest, and sharing, which is the best way of getting the most from an SLAA meeting.

Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous near me


The first step of overcoming any addiction is acknowledging the need for help and support. The support you can find at your nearest SLAA meetings can be invaluable and propel you into the healthy life you deserve. To find SLAA meetings in your area, visit their website today.

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(Click here to see works cited)

  • Anon, (n.d.). I’m a Newcomer, Is S.L.A.A. For Me? – Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous (S.L.A.A.). [online] Available at:
  • Arkansas, S. and L.A.A. of (n.d.). Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. [online] Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous. Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2024].
  • (n.d.). Characteristics of Sex and Love Addiction | S.L.A.A. UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2024].
  • (n.d.). Sexual Anorexia | City Vision University. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2024].
  • (n.d.). Anorexia – Sexual, Social and Emotional | S.L.A.A. UK. [online] Available at: [Accessed 3 Jun. 2024].