Language of SLAA

Many different terms are used during S.L.A.A. meetings.  While many terms are used differently in various SLAA Groups, we will attempt to define a few of these terms as commonly used in SLAA


A change in our behavior that involves stopping the addictive pattern – one day, sometimes one minute, at a time. Abstinence is a beginning point in sobriety.

Acting In [behaviour]

Actions that are isolating or withdrawing in nature; they reflect avoidant patterns

Acting Out [behaviour]

To engage in addictive behavior.  Engaging in a behavior which is one’s bottom line, is often referred to as having a slip.


An admission of having harmed or damaged someone or something, and making reparation or restoration.


The compulsive avoidance of giving or receiving social, sexual, or emotional nourishment.

Bottom-Lines [behaviours]

Generally, self-defined activities which we refrain from in order to experience our physical, mental, emotional, sexual, and spiritual wholeness.


Self-defined, self-protective limits we use for interaction with persons, places, things, or activities.

Concepts (the)

The Twelve Concepts for World Service of S.L.A.A. setting out how Trusted Servants are expected to do Service in SLAA.


The group of international Delegates elected by their local Intergroup (or Group if they do not have an Intergroup) to represent S.L.A.A. as a whole in Group Conscience


Sometimes known as “feedback”. To respond directly or indirectly to what someone has shared in a meeting; for example, to offer someone answers to his or her problems, or to engage in dialogue during the meeting.


Refusal to admit or recognise that something has occurred or is currently occurring.


A belief that someone will or should do something in response to your actions. For example, expecting something in retrn for an amends, whether it be a mutual apology or an expression of forgiveness.

ESH (or ES&H)

Experience, Strength and Hope.


In spiritual terms, it is unmerited assistance from a Higher power given to people for their renewal and spiritual strengthening.

Group Conscience

A process of decision-making by the group.  SLAA. encourages all members to express their views.

Higher Power

For some. this is a God of their understanding, for others it may be the program of S.L.A.A. or some other concept. Whatever we choose, it is “something that would be at least one step ahead of our own diseased intentins, and give us the consistent guidance we could not provide for ourselves.” (p. 75, Basic Text)


Behaviour intended to attract, entice, draw in, entangle, or ensnare another person.


The quality or state of being willling to humbly accept the guidance of a Higher Power. Contrary to humiliation, humility restores dignity.


Relying on mutual assistance or support.


(a service body) An assembly of representatives from area/phone/online S.L.A.A. Groups whose purpose is to provide information and outreach to those seeking help with sex and love addiction.

Each Group elects a Representative to its Intergroup andthe Intergroup elects Delegates to participate in Conference.


In terms of romance, to make someone want to know more about you with an intention of causing that person to become romantically or sexually interested in you.

Inventory or “Moral” Inventory

A list of qualities within a person, both positive and negative, discovered through self-examination. Also to take someone else’s inventory: to judge another person’s life or sobriety.


To withdraw from the help and healing process of others, program support, or our Higher Power.  Isolation often leads to or accompanies a slip. Isolation may also be a form of acting out for anorectic members.


A persistent disturbing preoccupation with an often unreasonable idea or feeling. An obsession in this program could be with another person, fantasy, sexual act or fetish, or even a romantic ideal.


A relationship involving close cooperation between two or more people, whohave specified rights and responsibilities.


The advantage or benefit that is gained from doing something.


Definition or qualities of a qualifier:

  • Abusive partners
  • Anyone who I could not say “no” to
  • Anyone who I would not want to say “no” to
  • Anyone I obsessed over and/or made my HP
  • Anyone I lose myself in or want to be consumed by
  • Anyone I used for validation
  • Anyone I know who would not say “no” to me

It is not a requirement to have a Qualifier or Qualifiers to be a member of S.L.A.A.


A way of thinking in which behaviours or feelings are expalined ina seemingly logical manner to avoid the truth (also known as “making excuses”).

Service Position

Service positions are usually for a certain length of time and the individual who serves in the position usually has a required amount of sobriety. This is decided by group conscience. For more information see: What Types of Service are there?

SLAA Member

Any SLAA. participant who has a desire to stop living out a pattern of sex and love addiction.


Initially, a state of abstinence from addictive bottom-line behaviors; often accompanied by the return of sanity, choice, and personal dignity that comes from abstaining from bottom-line behaviors.

Sobriety Date

Generally, the date we stop engaging in our bottom-line behaviors.


A member of S.L.A.A. who is working tyhe program with an S.L.A.A. Sponsor of their choosing.


A person who works closely with another member to provide individual support and guidance in applying the SLAA Twelve Step/Twelve Tradition program.  A sponsor should be a person we are not in danger of acting out with, nor are likely to find intrigue with.


To give oneself up into the power of another. In Step Three, that other is a Higher Power of our own understanding.

Top Lines

Healthy behaviours that fulfil and nurture us, taking the place of addictive behaviour, bringing joy into our lives. Top Lines help us integrate ourselves physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually.


A person, place, thing, or environment that sets off an urge to act out.

In its broadest sense a trigger is any event that elicits a strongresponse in us and/or can stimulate us to act in or act out in our addiction.

Triggers can remind us of past experiences that we may or may not have yet processed or given over o our Higher Power.

Trusted Servant

A SLAA member who is elected or appointed by any Group, Intergroup, Committee or other Service Body of SLAA to do service for that service body. Service is performed in accordance with the 12 Concepts of SLAA World Service and the 12 Traditions especially Tradition 4.

United Meeting

A “united” meeting in any 12 Step Fellowship is one that unites both face to face and online participants. Unity is a Principle of the Traditions. Known previously as hybrid meetings.


The process of removing and/or eliminating addiction-related behaviours; to free oneself from a habit or depedency whether it be froma person or a behaviour.


WhatsApp Group. Commonly used by online and phone meetings for fellowship, outreach and/or managing business of the Group between meetings.


The physical, mental, emotional, and often spiritual upheaval which generally accompanies the break in our addictive pattern.


Manipulating another person in recovery, especially a newcomer, into a sexual, emotional, or romantic relationship.

Open or Closed Meeting? 

SLAA members highly value our tradition of anonymity. Group conscience determines whether a meeting shall be open or closed. In general, the following guidelines are used:

Open Meeting 

A meeting open to anyone who wishes to attend, no matter their reason.

Closed Meeting 

A meeting open only to those seeking help for sex and love addiction.


Excerpt from the Welcome Pamphlet
©1997 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.  All rights reserved.
The complete pamphlet can be purchased at

Excerpt from A Guide to the Steps: Companion to Chapter Four of the Basic Text
©2015 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.  All rights reserved.
The complete booklet can be purchased at

Excerpt from Anorexia 1-2-3: Working the Program and Not the Problem
©2012 The Augustine Fellowship, S.L.A.A., Fellowship-Wide Services, Inc.  All rights reserved.
The complete booklet can be purchased at