How SPA Helps to Overcome Blocks To Social Anxiety Recovery: For Those Who Have Tried Other Approaches To Help Their Social Anxiety (even other 12 Step Programs) with Limited Success

How SPA Helps to Overcome Blocks To Social Anxiety Recovery: For Those Who Have Tried Other Approaches To Help Their Social Anxiety (even other 12 Step Programs) with Limited Success

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Many of us come to SPA / SocAA after having unsuccessfully tried many other approaches to overcoming our social anxiety problems: We may have tried seeking help for our social anxiety from therapists of different schools, various self help methods for social anxiety and even other 12 Step programs with little success. We may be frustrated, depressed or even cynical about various methods as the result. In SPA / SocAA we are not opposed to any of the above-mentioned approaches. They do work for some people, but not everybody and we are happy to share that our approach offers an adapted 12 Step method that many have found to be very helpful—

What’s different about our approach: SPA (Social Phobics Anonymous) is a non-pressuring 12 Step Program specifically focused to help social anxiety problems backed up by extensive experience and good results. Emotions Anonymous, a more general 12 Step program, also has a strong record of success in helping people with social anxiety problems and we recommend their program literature and their groups as well—

Our primary mission is to help our fellow social anxiety sufferer learn now to use the 12 Steps to recover from social anxiety. We recognize that what we have to offer is not going to be for everybody. Nevertheless what’s exciting about SPA / SocAA is that spiritual tools of recovery can empower and amplify the effectiveness of other therapies that previously may not have been working—

‘Spirituality’, as is found in the 12 Step approach, can be a lubricant that unblocks and frees up the effectiveness of many other self-help techniques for social anxiety: loosening control issues that previously sabotaged our efforts, lifting the mind out of negative outlook with the addition of trust or faith; softening our resistance with inward and outward compassion and unraveling mental knots through acts of service and a new sense of relationship with others along the lines of spiritual principles. Spirituality, in this sense, need not be religious, but can instead carry other connatations relating to letting go of excessive control and moving beyond ones smaller sense of the world and oneself and one’s purpose to good effect for reducing ones habitual social fears.

A short list of principles that can stop self-sabotage, can help social anxiety directly and can even enable other tools and therapies for social anxiety work more effectively—

 

  • 1) Understanding that spirituality is a powerful key to making all other self help and therapy tools work. When not getting results, lubricate all other self-help or therapy tools with spiritual principles and you may find that they work more effectively for your social anxiety problem—or may finally work when they never worked before at all.
  • 2) Realizing that spirituality can be non-religious: Enhancing faith in ‘The Good’ and learning to recognize the interconnectedness of all things, and especially any act of service that causes us to move beyond our personal problems all have benefits for the social anxiety sufferer regardless of whether we have religious belief.
  • 3) Letting go of control. We unconsciously try to control our social anxiety with self help techniques rather than surrendering the need to control first. Drop efforts and agendas designed to change others and learn to live in the moment and go with the flow. Especially though a careful study of Steps One Two and Three of the Social Phobics Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous 12 Step program we learn how to make vital progress with this core social anxiety-causing issue.
  • 4) Taking a larger view and expressing this in actions towards others. Don’t just look for what’s in this for you. Make kindness and even little acts of help (service or support) to your fellow social anxiety sufferers a part of your life. Kindness to others, especially when we help people with Social Anxiety, reflexively triggers self-kindness, something that social phobia sufferers are distinctly lacking. Focus on service or being helpful (in healthy ways) when dealing with non social anxiety sufferers as well. This will increase your self-confidence and release you from excessive self-consciousness. Consistently making efforts (on a daily basis) that help others can help to end the cycle of self obsession that fuels social anxiety– and is the best way to preserve the recovery gains that one has already made. This need not be excessively time consuming, yet can pay us back many times over in hours and days with reduced social anxiety.
  • 5) Honoring and being true to yourself. Learn to accept yourself in totality and with unconditional love. Listen to your inner voice and try to live more according to it. Allow yourself to dream in detail about the life you really want. Set boundaries with others when needed. Speak up and even stand up for yourself when needed. Be who you really are and live the life that you really want rather than living according to what your anxiety wants or what others want. Anyone of these things undertaken alone can help a little, but all of these things taken together can help social anxiety enormously.
  • 6) Manifest outward and inward love in a balanced way. Becoming a more loving person towards others will help you to transcend your fear. Becoming more loving towards yourself will help you to heal your fear. Balance is the key; extremes in either direction won’t work and may set us up for more anxiety.
  • 7) Faith and Trust. Whether one develops a rational or a spiritual faith, developing a deep underlying trust that there is more good than we realize in the world, in ourselves, and in the Universe as a whole will go a long way towards healing our fears.

8) Being present. The present is the only place where never obsess. When we gently keep our focus in the here and now we there is no worry and the cycle of negative thoughts are gradually short-circuited. If we practice this long enough our discomfort loses its power over us. Eventually, any new unpleasant thoughts and feelings will tend to even tend to pass in and out rather than sticking around.

9) Make a commitment. In our groups no one will ever pressure you to do anything. Pressure of any kind, we have found, aggravates all anxiety problems, including social anxiety. Yet after attending groups for a while we come to realize that all other tools of recovery eventually fall into place and our recovery begins to manifest at it’s own speed when we make a commitment to study and use of the 12 Steps on an ongoing basis our first priority. Commitment works at two levels– Day-long (gentle) effort (throughout the day and in response to challenges) and long-term (gentle) effort (long term meaning— spanning weeks, months and beyond) can, in combination, help social anxiety a great deal. The principle of gentle persistence is the key to keeping commitment on a healthy track. We are persistent but in a way that is compassionate towards others and ourselves. We are only human and should not hold ourselves to perfectionist standards as we try to gently keep our commitment to our use of program tools (and support groups) on an ongoing basis. We will stray or fall short of our own expectations many times and the principle of self-forgiving gentle persistence can always bring us back to the path of focused, ongoing effort.  

This is not a catchall approach. Rather than being a compromise of all-inclusion, we see a 12 Step approach as being it’s own unique entity— an opportunity for a synthesis of the spiritual and emotional healing that stands apart from the current division of spiritual healing paths on the one side, and psychological self help techniques and therapies on the other. Rather than asserting the supremacy of one approach over another, the SPA / SocAA proposition holds that adding spirituality in to the mix frees the social anxiety sufferer more effectively in the process. This is a concept so compelling that there are now Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous groups in five states, and a couple of other countries with more to be added soon. And our telephone conference call support groups have regular International participation. So far, people from four continents, as well as the Pacific Islands, have received help by participating in Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous support groups.

This concept of a 12 Step Program for social anxiety program is not always immediately obvious— people don’t always see the entire picture right away. That’s fine— newcomers are gently reminded that every group member is free to accept and use those tools of recovery that work best for them and to disregard the rest. The 12 Steps and also the related SPA / SocAA concepts are simply shared weekly in our groups.

Our idea here is simple. First of all, the spiritual principles of the SPA 12 Steps laid out alone can by themselves be a sufficient platform for a full recovery from any anxiety disorder. This has been proven by 18 years of experience as various other 12 Step programs have emerged to address anxiety problems of different types—some even more crippling than Social Anxiety.

Steps 1, 2 and 3, which help to relieve control issues, reestablish trust (an underlying feel of safety) and call for a burden-relieving housecleaning process that is then carried out in Steps 4 and 5, all reveal exactly how an Integrated 12 Step Program for Social Anxiety Problems actually works.

At it’s most essential level we find that the 1 Steps, when worked gently but diligently, work all by themselves to relieve social anxiety—although many have also reported that they help to unleash and amplify the effectiveness of many other healing tools and concepts.

How can this be? To return to this concept, in a word, many call it spirituality. Others who do not view themselves as spiritually inclined might call it ‘learning to trust the good and go with the flow’.

In either case the result is the same—that something ‘extra’ that makes many, if not all, other healing tools (no matter what the therapy) work more effectively can be revealed if we further pry open the definition of spirituality.

‘Spiritual’ has not one, but a cluster of meanings and we will list some of their various shades and applications at greater length here:

Just to expand on the concept of spiritual / emotional healing for social anxiety a bit more:

First, spirituality refers to connectedness— something we social anxiety sufferers are often starving for. Through reestablishing a sense of healthy connection to both others, to the God of our personal understanding and surprisingly, ourselves— we find that our social anxiety is diminished as we re-emerge.

Transcending or moving beyond ones self– All spiritual paths call for their travelers to not only see, but also act beyond their own selfish needs in the service of others. Service need not be great or dramatic—a simple welcoming smile, a kind word or lending a supportive ear all make a good start. Being willing to get a phone call from a suffering fellow social anxiety sufferer can help not only the person in crisis but the person who offers an ear as well. Helping to get the word out about the support group and carrying the message about the tools of social anxiety recovery can also be a great help. In all of these cases we free ourselves from the self-obsession that is at the root of social anxiety and so short circuit the cycle of self-consuming fears.

Honoring and being true to oneself— by developing self-compassion as opposed to self pity, by learning to listen to our inner voice to hear our real needs, desires and to even allow ourselves to dream in detail of the life that we really want but have allowed the anxiety to convince us that we can not have. The power of living according to what we want instead of what our anxiety wants, (or what others want), and the power of imagining the life of our dreams and then, when we feel ready, taking steps towards those dreams. This shift in focus also allows us to speak up for ourselves and to stand for ourselves when necessary. Here also we learn to separate from others so that we can become centered in ourselves for the first time.

The secret of balancing outward love and inward love— the two above sections, may seem contradictory but actually they are not. First service to our fellow social anxiety sufferer heals us as we help others so and so is actually a means of helping oneself. We are freed from the terrible suffering of anxiety as we help our fellow social anxiety sufferer so in that act—outward love and inward love are one and the same. Of course balance also comes into play here—sometimes we can overdo service and get overtired or distracted from the joys and responsibilities of our own lives. It’s important to remember that hurting ourselves in order to help others is not our aim. Helping should be good for both the giver and the receiver in order to have spiritual value and so reduce our social anxiety.

The reason why many self-help tools don’t work— Many an excellent self-help book touts tools that frustratingly seem not to work for us. Many of us have had the experience of buying such books, using their techniques with success for short time, getting a few breaths of fresh air, and then having the anxiety return with a vengeance. Ones first reaction may be that the book must have been a fraud—surely the charlatan that wrote it was only after a buck, we fume. Or, alternately, we may berate ourselves for ‘failing’ yet again to ‘make the grade’. Surely if it is not the authors fault then it must be our fault that so far it just isn’t working. In fact, the problem may not be the book at all, but a single unadressed issue that blocks all progress: This hidden underlying issue is control. We have been trying to use various tools of recovery to control our anxiety rather than bringing ourselves into line with spiritual principles. Adding spiritual principles to our recovery process actually help to eliminate control while empowering us in healthy ways.

Strangely we find in Social Phobics Anonymous that many self help tools actually can be made to work where previously they could not— if we address the underlying spiritual or ‘control-based’ blocks to our recovery. Spirituality, rather than being a source of mere comfort actually can serve as the lubricant that allows our stuck gears to start moving.

Many people are shocked to find that if they do the spiritual work that everything else falls into place. Suddenly other self help tools start to work where before they didn’t— All because spiritual healing as derived from working the SPA 12 Steps and 14 Suggestions.

Faith and Trust— As described in the Social Anxiety Anonymous 14 Suggestions (Also known as “Social Anxiety and Trust”), ‘faith’ also known as ‘trust’ is the underlying solution for all of our fears. Moving forward with active faith (believing in and serving healthy love) can eradicate anxiety. Additionally, being gentle with oneself and others can have the same effect. Many tools of recovery fail to work simply because we are pushing ourselves ruthlessly to perform as we use them. Starting from a place of faith and expressing love towards ourselves as we make the effort can make all the difference in this regard. This is really a case where kindness can help to make all the difference with social anxiety.

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources. 

This ^^ post is related to a (general) policy re-examination that occurred before the old website went down.

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Suggested support group meeting format (may be modified for individual groups).

Social Phobics Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous Meeting Format Guide:

Some find it helpful to read from this format while leading the group…

(Read preamble below before each meeting and then follow the format outlined below that).

Preamble:

“Social Phobics Anonymous (SPA), also known as Social Anxiety Anonymous (SOCAA), is a 12 Step recovery program for people who suffer from any of the following problems: Social Anxiety, Social Phobia, Shyness problems, Performance Anxiety & Paruresis (pronounced pair-YUR-eesus).
 
    Our primary purpose is to recover from excessive social anxiety and to help others. SPA strives to provide a non-competitive, non-pressuring environment in our support groups and fellowship. We operate under the philosophy of ‘take what you like and leave the rest’….
 
     In SPA it is suggested that we do our best to refrain from gossip or criticism. It is also suggested that we also refrain from evaluating the progress of fellow group members…  Simply put, we try to have a social anxiety recovery group rather than engaging in group social anxiety–

 
 Along these lines, the 12 Steps of SPA have been found to be very effective in healing social anxiety problems. We gently encourage group members to keep coming back each week and to study and practice the 12 Steps of SPA in depth in order to enhance their ongoing recovery. May we let the Love, Understanding and Wisdom of the program grow within us one day at a time.” 
 

Meeting Format

((Special Note for Telephone Groups: Be sure to remind people frequently about the ‘Star 2’ (MUTE) and ‘Star 3’ (TALK) functions as newcomers arrive at any time during the group…))

1) Opening Readings:
    

  1. A) “12 Steps of Social Phobics Anonymous”: (Available at: spalibrary.info )

 

      ((Ask for a volunteer to read the SPA 12 Steps, if no one volunteers after 5 minutes then the chairperson reads.))  
 
   
  B) “Social Anxiety and Trust”:

   **((Read, or ask for a volunteer to read, any four sections from “Social Anxiety and Trust” ))    ((Available at www.spalibrary.info )) ((Also read the Special Notes at the end on Romantic Love”))

C) Additional Literature Reading:

“Now we do our third reading. Anyone may read for up to 6 or 7 minutes from any recommended program literature (includes anything off the SPA website at www.spalibrary.info or people may also read from any ‘Emotions Anonymous’, ‘CODA’, ‘A.A’. or ‘Alanon literature’…”  

D) Reading the “Group Rules” (the moderator will be emailed these rules, and should read them in each group before opening for sharing)

2) Structured sharing Until (approx) 10 minutes of the hour: 

“Now we will open for structured sharing. At this point in the group, one person shares at a time while everyone listens–  We ask people do their best to refrain from ‘cross talk’– which is engaging in back and forth conversation, or commenting directly on another persons’ share. If anyone is wanting regular conversation, there is time set aside for that after the formal group.” 

“There are five different ways that people can share in our groups–
1) Sharing Personal struggles. By sharing the hard stuff we lighten our load and relieve stress.

2)Sharing progress: By sharing any progress that we may have made, we give hope to others and also reinforce and strengthen that progress for ourselves.

3)Asking questions: Feel feel free to ask the group as many questions as you like about how to deal with social anxiety in various situations. By asking questions about how to better cope with social anxiety we open ourselves to learning new tools and concepts of recovery. **Please keep in mind that anyone answering your question is not an authority on your personal situation, but is only sharing their personal opinions or thoughts as a fellow group member.

4) Answering questions, feel free to answer any questions put forth by other group members. You never have to answer anyone’s questions, it’s ok to just listen, but helping others can help you as well. Please keep to “I messages, however, when responding to other peoples questions. An “I message” is any statement where we say “I think”, or “I feel”, or “In my personal opinion” rather than telling anyone else what they should do. With “I messages” we are really only talking about ourselves and what we think, and we are not talking about the person who asked the question. This gives everyone space to follow their own personal path of recovery without feeling any pressure or judgement from anyone else.”

5) Another way that people can share in our groups is through “Reading and reflecting”, when one reads and reflects, one picks one or two paragraphs from Social Anxiety Anonymous approved literature and then shares their own personal thoughts or feelings about what they just read. When we read and reflect we are only talking about ourselves and our own personal interpretation of the literature.

So those are the five ways of sharing that we are open for right now– feel free to do any of the five– sharing personal struggles, or personal progress, or by asking for help through asking the group questions or by answering questions from your own personal point of view, or by reading small one or two paragraph quotations of literature and then responding to what you read with your own thoughts and feelings.

So at this point, we are open for sharing. Please also remember to press Star six on your telephone before speaking, and please also be sure to listen carefully to make sure that you hear a recording that says that muting is cancelled as well, in order to make sure that others can hear you. Please also keep your phone muted when not speaking. Pressing Star six on your telephone a second time, will mute your line so that background noise on your side won’t come into the call.

So anyway, we are now open for sharing and other forms of participation at this time!”

 

3) Reading Of The Suggested Tools of Recovery ((At (approximately) 10 minutes of the hour)).

    ((Read or get a volunteer to read)) “The Suggested SPA Tools of Recovery” (which     are now seperately listed on www.spalibrary.info )

((Afterwards open for a “brief sharing on the tools”)). 

4) Second Reading (THIS READING IS OPTIONAL, DEPENDING ON AVAILABLE TIME):

((At roughly 10 after the hour)) 

“If anyone wants to read anything to the group they may now do so from any SPA approved-literature. Please try to keep readings to 10 minutes or less.”  
 
5) Resume sharing until end of meeting 2 hours after the start (note the moderator may end 15 minutes early if it is very quiet). . 
 
6) End with Serenity Prayer: 

“We are out of time for this weeks group. Thanks everyone for coming and we encourage you to keep coming back each week. Now we will end with the serenity prayer which goes as follows–“

“God Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference”. 
 
7) Leave conference call open for fellowship

    “The formal group is now closed. Those who wish to may remain on the line now for free conversation and fellowship. Have a great week!”  

 

A few helpful notes on chairing SPA groups–

Worrying about doing a good job as chairperson.

We all worry about this from time to times– it’s part of having social anxiety (as well as being human).

Just remember–

1) You don’t have to be perfect! Just do your best and let go of the rest!

2) It’s 100% OK to sound nervous. You can’t lose with this issue because–

A) If you sound nervous– people in the group will relate to you (since they are socially anxious too).  

B) If you are not nervous they will be inspired.

So either way (nervous or not)– you win! (And so does the group!).

 

 Forgetting parts of the format. (This is fine, you don’t have to run the group perfectly).

But if you forget / change the format very drastically for weeks on end, you might be gently (and privately) asked to let someone else chair the group for a while (you will still be welcome to come to the groups regardless!). This is because the healing benefits of SPA groups are derived from the 12 Step meeting format and the welfare of the many must be kept a priority.

 **NOTE: Nervousness while chairing a group is never considered to be changing or deviating from the format. A person can be as nervous as possible and still will be considered to have met the requirements of properly chairing the group as long as most of the format is followed most of the time (over a series of groups). �

 

Very Quiet Meetings

A) (More quiet than usual). Don’t feel responsible– very quiet meeting happened periodically.  


  1.    B) **SPA suggests NOT end the meeting early if the group is quiet.  We always keep the group going for 90 minutes whether there is a lot of [participation or not.  

Remember– Newcomers will arrive at any time (even 5 minutes before the end of the meeting).

So SPA suggests keep the meeting going just in case even one newcomer shows one minute before then end!  
 

  1. C) Don’t try to fill silences by talking yourself. Keep a watch and if there is 5 minutes of silence, just introduce a new topic and start sharing again. Struggling to fill all the silences yourself may tend to make you more socially anxious as you take on this unneccessary

Remember– Silences in a social anxiety group (or any conversation) are natural and good. They allow people to feel unpressured. Social silences can also have a spiritual quality. Never pressure the group to speak (this can backfire and make the group even more quiet). 
 
     **Keep a watch handy and if a silence lasts longer than 4 or 5 minutes– then throw out a new topic and open for sharing again.

Participants asking questions:

A) Any 1st or 2nd question from any group member becomes an additional topic of the group and is not a disruption of the format. Other members may answer such a question as they share.

 B) (Try to avoid letting this becoming a back-and-forth discussion).

Multiple questions from participants:

 C) Gently interrupt and defer multiple questions (more than two from any one person) until after the formal group (after the first 90 minutes).  

Bad phone connections / sound quality issues (How to fix this problem): 
 
     Get everyone to mute– (By asking every one to hit star and then “2” ).

      **Often there is feedback between two or more lines that can be broken if everyone mutes out for a minute. 

 

Sound quality still bad?  Get everyone to hang up and call back in. If everyone is complaining about a bad connection– then have everyone hang up and call back in (reestablish a new connection).  

Dealing with Disruptive People in the groups: Thankfully, this doesn’t occur very much in SPA, but it does sometimes come up–

  1. It’s best to err on the side of patience with disruptive individuals– just gently remind them of the format a few times (usually that is enough).

 2  It’s OK to interrupt people who are disrupting the format– but try to do so gently and explain why you are doing it.   
 
   C) **If someone breaks the format repeatedly after being reminded, you can then ask them to leave the meeting (remember the well-being of the many outweighs the well-being of the few).
 
�    D) If this is hard for you, you can try stating that this is an SPA policy if that makes it easier.  

 

  1. E) If You Need Help Dealing With A Disruptive Person In The Group,don’t feel guilty about it–But do feel free to contact SPA Central Service.  Our volunteers may not be able to solve every problem, but they will try to do their best. Email healsocialanxiety@hotmail.com

 

 

Outside therapies or people pushing for changes in how we operate: We are Not Opposed To outside therapies, but our primary purpose is to share the 12 Step Approach To Recovery
 
   A) Pushing outside therapies in our groups is outside of our 12 Step mission.

 

  1. B) Generaly we ignore minor diversions and outside references–    C) **But if someone in the group person is really on a campaign to persistently and aggressively promote an outside therapy– handle this like any other format disruption. 

  2. D)
    Other concerns outside of regular group sharing– give out the number for the SPA General Service Office: 720.882.8976 or email: com 

  Remember–Chairing a group is an act of service– it can really help your social anxiety for many reasons!

A)  Service is a spiritual act that breaks the self-obsession of social anxiety. Chairing a group is one such way to do service.  

 B) Chairing a group teaches us how to move beyond our fears.

C) Chairing is a great way to learn more about the steps and the tools!

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.

Social Anxiety and Perfectionism

Social Anxiety and Perfectionism

How the Social Phobic’s Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous 12 Step Program of Recovery Can Help

One trait that is nearly universal among people with social anxiety problems is an underlying tendency towards perfectionism. The reasons for this may vary but the results are the same: our very high standards for ourselves tend to aggravate our anxiety problems. Some evidence even suggests that perfectionism may be one of the prime causes of social fear.

In any case, most of us suffer from a case of near-impossible standards for ourselves. This result of all this perfectionism is a habit of trying too hard in life. Or it may backfire into resignation and avoidance of people, jobs or other pursuits. These are common results of our attempts to live up to expectations that leave little room for our own humanity. We may never reach out to anyone else as the result. Or we may be unable to ask that our needs be met or our boundaries respected in existing relationships. Our overly high standards may in some cases cause us to demand too much from others, setting up conflicts that can further inflame our social fears.

Some of us are very aware of our tendencies towards perfectionism and others may not realize that our expectations for ourselves are out of synch with common standards of fairness. Instead there is an even firmer belief that we truly fall short as human beings. These negative self-beliefs can approach the level of religious conviction, even among those who otherwise view themselves as non-religious. Some may even defend these harsh standards vigorously.

The results of all these high internal expectations for performance are chronic feelings of shame that breed low self esteem. Shame, when taken to excess, is a toxic emotion that does further damage to our psyches. Shame, like fear, can paralyze us. Healthy shame is a social emotion—inhibiting us when needed and reminding us to follow reasonable standards of behavior. Healthy shame holds us back, when restraint is called for, but unhealthy shame tightens into excessive control that triggers self-defeating patterns. Shame that goes too far also becomes a crushing vice that can cripple and imprison the social anxiety sufferer. Even if we do not always immediately see its connection to perfectionism, we can feel the damage that excessive shame is doing to us and this may generate even more fear.

Fear also lies underneath of our feelings of shame. A fear of not measuring up, coupled with a fear of never being able to deserve the acceptance of others. All of this overlies an even deeper fear of abandonment. This is one of the most powerful human fears because for a child, abandonment can mean death. In nature this fear served for millions of years to keep small children from wandering too far from the protection and nurturance of their parents. In healthy circumstances it also kept adults tied to the protection of their families, tribes or villages. Since the fear of abandonment is an instinct tied directly to survival, the fear of death is always its hidden partner.

So what can be done to lessen these powerful fears and the shame that drives them? A gentle but determined and in-depth study of the 12 Steps of Social Phobic’s Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous can address this problem from many angles. Remember that the 12 Steps are not an intellectual subject but can be studied repeatedly with good effect; with the intention of gently reinforcing within ourselves new ways of responding to our emotions and to the world. This is true so long as our intent is to let go of excessive control of ourselves and others. Surrendering control however should be towards the end of finding our true power as human beings: A power that comes from our true selves- and the universe in which we are grounded.

Gradually the 12 Steps, along with regular attendance at Social Phobic’s Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous support groups, help us to replace perfectionism with compassion for ourselves and others. We learn to allow ourselves to be human and to put self-acceptance into daily practice. Self acceptance means that it’s OK to sound or look nervous, and that it’s even OK to fail. People without social anxiety disorder get nervous or fail at pursuits all the time; but are able to do so with less self-condemnation. This allows them to pass through these situations and continue trying as a part of the path towards overall success. Paradoxically the more we are able to allow ourselves to be imperfect, the more progress we are actually able to make.

The more we see moments of anxiousness, imperfection and failure as part of a natural process rather than as a profoundly shameful events, the more we are then able to resume the journey of life, no longer crippled by our social fears.

Although embracing imperfection allows us to start taking risks, in SPA / SOCAA it is suggested that we do so gently and without pressuring ourselves. We also move forward on our own timetable and no one else’s. More on this is discussed in the section of SPA/SOCAA literature on “The Principle of Gentle Persistence”.

As our recovery continues, our definition of success may also change to an image of our lives that is more balanced, gentle and self- nurturing. The truth is that human beings aren’t perfect, and so perfectionism has demanded the impossible from us, which would make anyone anxious. In place of these impossible standards we gradually learn to work gently but persistently at creating lives on a truly human scale, with space to make mistakes; time to take breaks and rest, and time to meet our needs in an unpressured and patient manner in the areas of work, play, spirituality, romance, family and friendship. In time, all of this is possible with an ongoing self-forgiveness that allows us to love ourselves warts and all.

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.

Social Anxiety and Trust: How To Heal This Part of Yourself and Eliminate Social Fears

Social Anxiety and Trust: How Building Faith or Trust Eliminates Social Fears
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In Social Phobics Anonymous we have found that increasing trust helps to reduce our fears. It seems that trust, in fact, is the opposite of fear. In our program there are various ways to increase feelings of trust and we are each free to choose that which works best for us individually. For some, trust is increased through a purely cognitive reevaluation of ourselves, others and events. For others there may also be a spiritual dimension that deepens faith or trust. In either case the result is the same—reduction of social anxiety.  

 

   *Although spiritual recovery is an option in our program, it is not required. We have simply found that increasing trust (or faith) in something positive about the world and ourselves can have a surprising effect on our social fears. For some these changes will come quickly, for some more slowly, but if we focus consistently in these areas, changes will come.

Here are some things, in no particular order, that we have found to be helpful. In keeping with our philosophy of respecting individual choice, we encourage you to take those ideas that you like and leave the rest–

In all of these areas, daily practice seems to be the key:

1) Reframe negative thoughts, create positive thoughts. Learning to question our negative judgments of ourselves and replace them with more positive judgments (replacing negative trust with positive trust).

2) Develop a realistic picture of ourselves. We socially anxious types have a tendency to be overly negative in our evaluation of not only our performance but also our worth as human beings.   Having faith in ourselves when there is no ‘evidence’ to the contrary will eventually allow us to find proof of that evidence.

3) Develop a more realistic picture of others. Learn not to idealize other people (placing excessive trust in others while not trusting or valuing ourselves). We also learn to allow others (and ourselves) to be human, forgoeing expectations of perfection that make unrealistic demands on both ourselves and others. We also try to keep in mind that everyone, not just the socially anxious individual, operates out of fear from time to time. As socially anxious people we may tend to think our problems make us somehow different from the rest of humanity, rather than falling on a continuum that describes the entire human condition.

4) Increase trust by giving the gift of trust. Learn to give others the benefit of the doubt until proven otherwise by their actions (increasing trust in others to a reasonable level). In addition we can practice forgiveness and tolerance when we ecounter other people’s shortcomings, keeping in mind that our own tendency to be overly critical of ourselves may also, at times, be unwittingly turned against others.

5) Daily cognitive study. Reading materials on a daily basis that support a positive, balanced rational evaluation of ourselves and others.

6) Daily spiritual study. Reading spiritual materials on a daily basis that can increase our faith in ourselves, others and the ultimate reality that is behind or transcends our difficulties.

7) Daily prayer. For those of us who have faith or want to try it, regular practice can bring a significant reduction in anxiety. Some may have long experience of faith with no prior success. For them and also the novice, a simple shift in focus can make all the difference.

In SPA we don’t pray for things but instead do so as an act of trust. Placing ourselves in the hands of a divine providence can help to end the excessive control that feeds our social anxiety problems, thereby freeing us to be who we were truly meant to be. We benefit from both setting aside special times to pray each day and also praying whenever we feel troubled. This constant practice can restore a sense of serenity and reduce our anxiety considerably.

8) Daily reflection. Those of us who don’t pray can still set aside quiet time each day for reflection on the good or potential for good that is within us, others and the world. Taking time to reflect on a consistent basis can help to restore a sense of proportion about our lives, our struggles and thereby establish a deeper sense of peace.   We can set regular times each day for such reflection and also take time out whenever we are troubled by difficult feelings or thoughts.

As part of our daily reflection we can practice ‘letting go’ of negative thoughts, emotions, situation and people that stress or disturb us. This helps to free us up from the underlying habit of control that fuels our social anxiety.

9) Taking healthy risks. Even small risks taken can help to prove to us that the world is a safer place than we think. And when the outcomes are not what we wish, we learn that we are stronger than we think and can handle life’s inevitable disappointments so that we can remain available to the good that will also come our way.

10) Learn to trust what is beyond the mirage. Develop an awareness of rational illusions (misconceptions) and the faith or trust that there is a greater good behind all bad things either real or imagined.

11) Faith through service. Have faith that if we commit on a daily basis to being of service to our fellow social anxiety sufferer that this process will heal us and may heal others. We have found that service to others (in a way that is respectful of our own dignity and personal boundaries) frees us from the self-obsession that is at the core of all social anxiety.   We may initially feel that we have no time or perhaps lack knowledge or personal recovery to be of any help to others. Paradoxically we find that service frees us from our social fears which then frees up exponentially more time in our lives.

We also find that although knowledge is a useful gift in the right time and place, that the gift of an ear– simple acceptance and support, is of great value to the receiver as well as the giver.

12) Going with the flow. We learn that we can flow with events rather than always fighting them. This does not mean we have to be passive in our lives at all. It means however that we learn to choose to focus our efforts more effectively and are given the gift of more available energy to go after the things that we want.

13) Practice Love and kindness. The ultimate act of faith is love. By choosing to love ourselves we are enacting the faith that we are indeed loveable. By choosing to behave in a loving manner to our fellow anxiety sufferers, our family and our community we extend our faith to those around us. If love seems too much we can start with kindness. Both acts of love and kindness instantly forgive imperfections in ourselves and others. There may be those times when love also means standing up to or getting away from an abusive individual or situation. Love is the faith that we are acceptable just as we are. Love is also any action that expresses this faith towards our selves and others.

14) We find that love, as the deepest act of faith is the complete opposite of fear. As with the other tools in this section we can practice love and kindness on a daily basis, both as a habit and in response to difficult situations. If practiced consistently we find that love is the greatest healer of all.

Special Notes:

**About romantic love. In SPA dating within a support group is gently discouraged. We may use the healing of SPA to pursue romantic love outside of the group. People in SPA with solid long-term recovery (2 years or more) might choose to date one another but it is advisable that they attend different support groups if they do. Even people in committed relationships need some private space to work on their continued recovery.

Friendship however is encouraged in SPA. Whether simply ‘working’ friendships within the confines of the group or deeper, we find that having friends who also have social anxiety can be a great gift. The chemistry between individuals is always unpredictable, but we can be open to the gift of healthy friendship within the SPA fellowship when it presents itself. If we can’t be friends with everyone, we can do our best to be supportive and friendly to the best of our ability.

Bookmark this page (using the following button) and read for gentle reinforcement during your day. Share with anyone who may find this helpful!

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.

 

Commonly Asked Questions About How the Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous Program of Recovery Can Help in Overcoming Social Anxiety:

Commonly Asked Questions About How the Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous Program of Recovery Can Help in Overcoming Social Anxiety: Share/Bookmark

 

Q. Do you only have telephone support groups?

A. No. We have local face to face supports group as well (and are planning to start more) as well as the telephone conference call support groups. Both types of groups can help greatly in overcoming social anxiety problems. We have found that is is not exposure alone, but rather utilizing the numerous tools and concept of recovery shared in our support groups, that are the key to greatly reducing or elimination social anxiety problems.

We can also help you start your own local (face to face) support group in your own town. We are a not-for-profit organization and the help we give you is free. There is an entire section of our website dedicated to listing Free Social Anxiety Anonymous support groups for overcoming social anxiety problems and another entire section that has Useful Tips On How To Start Your Own Local SPA Support Group.


Q. Can a telephone support group really help me in overcoming social my anxiety?

A. Yes– Very much so! The knowledge, wisdom (and healing) that we receive in the telephone support groups carry over into our face-to-face interactions in our daily lives, so the telephone groups actually help all aspects of our social anxiety and the psychological benefits gradually begin to stay with us throughout each week. Exposure alone doesn’t really help social anxiety (consider all the years, and all the exposure you have been through without getting free of the problem). Instead it is through using the tools of recovery (on a consistent and ongoing basis) in a gentle but persistent way (both inside of our own minds as well as in our actions) that we find true long-term recovery from social anxiety problems.

 

Q. Is it really free?

A. Yes. We are a volunteer run organization and we charge nothing. We make zero money. Our telephone conference service (that we use for our telephone support groups) is also free (we get it for free and we let you use it for free), but you will have to make a normal long distance call (using your own long distance service) to reach our conference service (which is located in the USA). You can also call into it from anywhere using “Skype” (internet telephone) or similar services.

 

Q. How do I get the access code and the instructions for how to call in to the support groups?

A. You can Just Click Here (And then Scroll Down to get the info Or call 970-222-5380 and leave a message. Group Times don’t work for you? You can start your own Social Anxiety Anonymous group meeting time and we will help you!


Q. If the 12 Steps are taken from Alcoholics Anonymous– then how can they also help in overcoming social anxiety (or related problems like social phobia or shyness or avoidant personality disorder or APD or paruresis)?

A. When Alcoholics stop drinking, they suffer from a great deal of anxiety. When a drunk tries to stop drinking by him or herself, they quickly find themselves plagued by chronic and sometimes even crippling fears and obsessions. Without a recovery program like the 12 steps, this alcoholic anxiety syndrome can literally go on for years.

Consequently, when the 12 steps were first created 60 years ago, they were designed specifically to reduce or eliminate the anxiety and obsessions that plagued recovering Alcoholics.

So what does this have to do with people who have Socially Phobia or social anxiety problems? **Well– 32 years ago, some people who were NOT alcoholics but who HAD anxiety disorders began applying the A.A. 12 steps to other (nonalcoholic) anxiety problemswith excellent results.

These people discovered that the 12 steps were just as effective for other anxiety disorders as they were for alcoholic anxiety syndrome!

Soon anxiety 12 step programs (like Emotions Anonymous) had spread to nearly 30 states, Canada and Europe. And anxiety recovery stories started coming in from around the world.

More recently, some people decided to try applying the 12 steps specifically to Social Anxiety problems and it was found that yet again– the 12 steps were very effective in helping people to overcome their social anxiety!

 

Q. Are the 12 steps a religious program?

A. No. The 12 steps do not require one to follow any religion. However people using the 12 steps have the option of developing their own personally defined faith as part of their recovery process.

For some people in 12 step programs, this faith takes the form of belief in some kind of spiritual ‘Higher Power’.

But for others, the higher power may simply be the wisdom of the support group, or faith in (G)ood (O)rderly (D)irection (G.O.D.) rather than a spiritual GOD. So YES– one can be an athiest and work the 12 steps. There have always been many athiests or agnostics in the 12 step programs.

We have found that regardless of how one personally goes about it, simply developing faith in something positive is one way that we change our negative thinking and begin to heal our social anxiety problems.

 

Q. What kind of social anxiety problems can Social Phobics Anonymous help and what kind of social anxiety problems are welcome at the support group meetings?

A. Any kind– whether you have Social Anxiety Disorder, Social Phobia, Avoidant Personality Disorder, APD, Chronic Shyness or Paruresis doesn’t matter. If you have problems with social fears –in any way shape or form– you are welcome in Social Phobics Anonymous support group meetings and the groups may be able to help your problem (especially if you attend the support groups on a regular basis).

 

Q. What is the schedule that I work the 12 steps on (one step a week or one step a month or how fast?)

A. There is no schedule. One works the 12 steps at their own pace. We take each step individually when we feel ready and willing to do so and not because anyone has told us to take an action.

 

Q. Do I have to talk in the support groups?

A. No. Since we are socially anxious, some of us may be afraid to speak in the meetings. The good news is, we can benefit from just listening. We don’t have to speak if we don’t yet feel ready to.

 

Q. Does Social Phobics Anonymous oppose other treatment modalities or use of medications?

A. We do not oppose any treatments for social anxiety. We believe that this is strictly a personal matter. Because we are a volunteer run organization, we can not endorse but neither are we opposed to other treatments for social anxiety. We do encourage people to make careful, personally informed and self-educated decisions about their health, but that’s as far as we go.

Additionally, many of us successfully use a combination of treatment and recovery approaches– with good results.

 

Q. Do I have to sign up for a Social Phobics Anonymous support group or register for or officially join?

A. No. Social Phobics Anonymous has no sign up requirements. One can just attend our support group meetings whenever one wants to.

 

Q. Am I required to attend a certain number of Social Phobics Anonymous support group meetings?

A. No. No one takes attendence and you simply go to (or call in to) SPA support group meetings when you want to. However, it is suggested that you try to attend SPA groups regularly since this will increase your likelyhood of recovery from social anxiety.

 

Q. I would like to start a local support group but I have no experience and I still have a lot of social anxiety.

A. The great thing about social phobics anonymous support groups is that they are structured so that the person starting the group doesn’t have to know anything. We start each group meeting by simply reading aloud from the 3 books recommended by Social Phobics Anonymous in the meeting (for the first 20-25 minutes) and then the group opens up for individual sharing (with no cross talk, casual discussion then follows at the end of the meeting). A number of us have found that the mere act of starting a group, and then working through that to help others (on a consistent and ongoing basis) have been greatly helped in the process in overcoming their own social anxiety symptoms.

Following this format in the groups, so much knowledge gets read aloud out of the books that in the beginning, you don’t have to know anything!

Additionally– as we mentioned, experience has shown us over and over again that people who start support groups tend to get a lot of recovery from anxiety. The very act of starting and facilitating support groups seems to have a powerful healing effect on the people who start the groups!

More information on how one starts a local support group is in our How To Start Your Own Local Social Phobics Anonymous Support Group section.

 

Q. I have always been a person of religion or some kind of faith, and yet I have social anxiety or social phobia anyway– so how can the 12 steps help me?

A. It is not faith alone but the quality and focus of that faith that can help to eliminate your social anxiety problems. Regardless of ones’ personal faith tradition, the 12 steps can help you to focus and apply your faith in a way that works to actually eradicate your social fears.

 

Q. I am afraid I will be judged or criticised in the Social Phobics Anonymous support group meetings so how can I attend?

A. People in the Social Phobics Anonymous support groups understand the fear of being judged or criticised– because they have had these fears themselves.

Consequently, you will find our groups to be exceptionally welcoming and understanding. We who have known the pain of imagined and real criticism tend to be very understanding and patient with fellow Social Anxiey sufferers.

 

Q. In the telephone conference call support groups, will anyone know my identity?

No. Caller ID does not work through the conference call bridges that we use. Also, in Social Phobics Anonymous we do not use our last names (whether in telephone support groups or local, face-to-face support groups) in order to protect group participants privacy.

 

Q. Does it work? Will this really help me get over my social anxiety problems?

A. Yes! It really can work! This can eventually greatly reduce or even eliminate ones social anxiety problems. Many have experienced this themselves and have testified that starting a support group was one of the most effective things that they have ever done in overcoming their own social anxiety problems.

And it was easier than I thought it would be! It just took a little patience and a willingness to show up without fail every week (on time) and read quietly to myself when others did not come. Eventually they did and now I have a family of recovering friends. Of course each case is individual and we each have to find the recovery or treatment modality that works best for us personally.

There is really no mystery here, all that was missing was the Social Anxiety fellowship, working as a community on the 12 step path…

The result was that we began to experience the joy of being freed from the prison of our social anxiety.

The end of years painful social isolation and the wonderful ability to enjoy precious friendships, to end unneccesary sepration from relatives, to go to work with dignity and a healthy pride and perhaps to even experience the sacred privilidge of an intimate relationship for the first time in years. Overcoming social anxiety through gently utilizing the 12 Steps can do all of these things!

These are just some of the many gifts that can come from putting social anxiety recovery out front where it belongs and giving oneself the gift of a fellowship entirely focused on using the 12 steps to gain release from this sad and bitter syndrome. Share

Our meetings, both in the telephone support groups are available each week!
Starting new local meetings is also an option that can be a tremendously rewarding and healing experience..
Let us keep passing the word and let us together shine the light of the 12 steps on this dark corner of our lives!
Let us come together, and start the gentle work of setting ourselves free.
Share

“Alone, my anxiety is stronger than me. Together, we are stronger than our anxiety!”

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.

Oroginal Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous ebook

The original Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous free ebook

In stages, the old Social Anxiety Anonymous ebook will be added here.

In line with the new licensing policy, this will only be considered one version of Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous literature, however since it was the original literature, it will be kept up here as a way of getting any new support groups started until new versions are created.

Anyone may re-post it separately and affix it to separate Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous related webistes, either public or private.

(This is true for all literature versions, none of which may be individually owned and all of which may are public commons / creative commons Fair use material, in line with the Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous license).

Each one of these is a section of the old free ebook:

Why It Works: Answers To Frequently Asked Questions About Social Phobics Anonymous— How Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous (SPA) Greatly Helps in Overcoming Social Anxiety, Social Phobia, Shyness Problems, Social Fears, Avoidant Personality Disorder, Social Agoraphobia, Fear of Public Speaking, Fear of Crowds and/or Paruresis

The 12 Steps Of Social Phobics Anonymous: A Foundation For Social Anxiety Recovery That Can Work Alone or In Support Of Other Therapies To Eliminate Or Minimize Social Fears

The Suggested Tools of Social Phobics Anonymous: **Gentle and Daily Use of The SPA Suggested Tools Can Make All The Difference** (All Tools Are Suggestions Only. Use Those You Like And Leave The Rest.)

Social Anxiety and Perfectionism: How Social Phobic’s Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous Can Help

How to Start a Social Phobics Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous support group.

More sections of the old free ebook are coming…

Public non-affiliation policy: 

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.

**In line with the more recent reexamination of the public non-affiliation policy (and also non-opposition policy) the section linking to outside books will not be included. This is not a negative comment on anyone who has a public profile or is selling their book commercially. It is just bringing the policy in line with other major 12 step programs.

That boundary in any 12 step program is about protecting the non-profit nature of these organizations and is never meant to disparage any commercial enterprise, especially not those who help people. Nor is meant to disparage any public figure. We’ll go even further to say that society needs public figures, many are involved in noble service and reach and help millions with their work. We appreciate such people although no 12 step program (not Alcoholics Anonymous or Overeaters Anonymous or many other of the well-known 12 step programs) allow for public affiliations with their organizations with commercial enterprises or with public figures.

**We also do not know of any commercial enterprise or famous person making such an affiliation (meaning simply selling their services in affiliation or partnership with us– that’s what we mean by “public affiliation” that’s all).

**This also an old issue that we, as an organization had revisited before our website went down, it is not a response to anyone currently either.

Very best to all.

 

 

 

 

About Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobic’s Anonymous

Social Anxiety Anonymous is a modified 12 Step recovery program for people with Social Phobia and related problems like Social Anxiety Disorder.

These are crippling anxiety disorders that make it very hard to interact socially with others. Many people with social anxiety or social phobia find social interaction to be overwhelming. These are not mere assertiveness problems: Both Social Phobia and Social Anxiety Disorder are typified by anxious discomfort, that can range from moderate to acute, and often characterized by either avoidance or paralysis.

Some fears related to social phobia are more specific and some are more general but all tend to be characterized by great discomfort and “freezing up” / getting stuck.

The Social Anxiety Anonymous program of recovery is a path to overcoming these problems. It is completely free and widely distributed. Many people have copies and is very likely still used in support groups currently.

Due to the owner of the old website relapsing into social phobia (and since the organization has always had the rule that no one with social phobia is ever obligated or required to volunteer or provide service– since service is a social interaction, which is the very thing that we fear, and can become paralyzed by the most, the old site was abandoned and left unpaid for).

This does not mean that we discourage service, we encourage it, as it will help ones social anxiety problems, but it is never required or compelled, as with all 12 step programs, people take steps towards their personal recovery when they feel ready and willing to.

However, since detailed instructions on how one can support ones own support groups were posted on that website for over 10 years and are widely distributed, starting new support groups has always depended on the initiative of individuals.

New groups can be found where people have been willing to take the initiative to start them and copies of the literature are available where people have taken the initiative to post or otherwise share them.

12 Step programs have never grown from any kind of center, they have always grown from the grass roots, from where someone who wants to start a group starts one. Therefore it is a real misunderstanding to assume that someone owes groups to another person.

The good news is, and always has been that people start Social Anxiety Anonymous groups as an act of personal service, and can start such groups any time that they choose to.  This has always been true. And no one would ever be able to stop this. What we never do, and what no 12 Step program has ever done, is to compel individuals to do service.

The entire 12 Step philosophy is based solely on individual initiative. In this sense Social Anxiety Anonymous is not a service provider, but is instead a path to recovery taken up by individuals when they feel personally ready to take the next step. Thus Social Anxiety Anonymous, as with all 12 Step programs, grows entirely based on individual initiative. As all 12 Step programs always have.

 

Here the is part of the automated email reply message for Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous (still working to this day).

It still gives out this message about starting support groups ()explaining that anyone can start a group, no special requirements):

A VOLUNTEER WILL GET BACK TO YOU BASED ON AVAILABLE TIME: This will
depend on the availability of volunteers & also the nature of social anxiety disorder which we suffer from. Consequently sometimes this email service goes uncovered for long periods of time so we can’t guarantee a response. Social Anxiety Anonymous is a nonprofessional collection of volunteers often struggling with the unpredictability of their own social anxiety issues & so can’t guarantee sponsorship or personal contact with anyone. Therefore any service provided does not imply any further service owed. Nor can Social Anxiety Anonymous guarantee any other kind of service. Neither is formation of local or telephone support groups our responsibility, although Social Anxiety Anonymous reserves the right to only lend it’s name to groups that agree to follow it’s program of recovery, policies & codes.

The other publicly listed  email service said almost exactly the same thing (I am pretty sure). That automated message was wiped because the answering service wasn’t checked for over a  year after the web site was abandoned due the person owning that having increased problems with social phobia.

The email addresses for Social Anxiety Anonymous are listed in various places on the Internet and have also been widely shared. 

**Please note: These posts are not to make anyone wrong. Misunderstandings happen all the time and we are not against or in disagreement with anyone,  Very best to all.

 

Here is a copy of the text of the article on the old Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous website about how anyone can start a Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous support group–

This article was up on the site for nearly 10 years–

If You Want to Start Your Own Social Anxiety Anonymous Support Group, Read the Article Below:

How to start a Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous Support Group: Some Helpful Tips

When the darkness comes for me, I will light a lamp.

With that lamp, I will light the way for others.

Together, we will find the new day.

It is through helping our fellow social anxiety sufferers that we ourselves are set free from our own anxiety problems.

We have found that there is a kind of spiritual principle at work here– there is something about helping others (especially helping those with the same problems that we have) that heals us as we do the helping.

In any case, here are 12 simple steps to starting an SPA support group that you may find useful (you might want to print this out):

1) If you start an SPA group we will list it for free on our web page (if you like) so that people can find out about it.

2) Find a centrally located meeting place. Churches or Synagogues often let support groups meet in their basements. You can also try hospitals, libraries, community centers, schools or universities. You may have to call a lot of places because many groups use these spaces, but if you keep at it you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding a meeting space. If possible, find a place with free or inexpensive parking in a well lit area.

Some of these places require a small ‘rent’ of a few dollars a week or a month. If so, these places will usually lower the rent or even drop it to zero if you explain that you are starting a new group and won’t have a lot of people in the beginning.

The recommended way to pay for a room ‘rental’ is to take a collection at every meeting (pass the hat or the basket and people throw in a dollar or two or whatever they can). This usually covers the rent. Important– Always make it clear that nobody has to donate if they don’t want to. There should be no pressure about donations– only the the love and understanding of the fellowship.

3) Set a meeting time and keep to it faithfully. We suggest that you meet every week at exactly the same time. The reason is, if the time varies (or if you meet less than once a week) people will get confused about whether or not your meeting is ‘on’ or not this time around and they will tend not to come rather than waste a trip.

Be sure to be on time for the meeting and stay for the whole meeting time, even if no one else comes in the beginning. (Sometimes a new person will get lost on their first visit to your group and they might show up late– even in the last 5 minutes of the meeting, so just be patient and wait through the whole meeting time so that you can greet all newcomers and make them feel at home).

This will help your group to grow and help it meet that critical mass where it becomes a self-perpetuating support group, no longer dependent on you.

4) Advertise the support group meeting on an ongoing basis. **Very Important** Support groups rarely last very long by word of mouth alone. A regular ad in a newspaper is essential to the success of a local (face-to-face support group). However the good news is, you can often get this advertising for free or cheap. First, try calling the ‘Calendar’ department of your local Newspapers, they often list support groups for free.

A few flyers or an occasional ad won’t cut it. Sporadic efforts that don’t reach a large number of people generally won’t create the consistent attendence by newcomers needed to build and then sustain the support group.

Also important– Whichever way you get your ad listed, be sure to run it at least 3 times a month (month after month– year round). We have found that just running one ad a month– or running occasional ads– will almost never generate enough of a consistent response to build a sustained and ongoing SPA support group. Consistent advertising is key (although it often doesn’t have to be expensive).

How To Advertise the group for free or (usually) inexpensively: If your city or town calendar section won’t list your group for free, then try getting a classified ad. These are often not very expensive. If you can’t afford the Sunday section, then try a weekly edition (weekly ads are often cheaper). Note– if you live in major urban areas you may find that there is no way to avoiding paying a bit more for a an ongoing classified ad, even in the weekday sections.

Consider the cost of doing nothing. Keep in mind that the relatively small investment of time and money in starting a SPA support group is very much worth it. Ask yourself what the elimination of your social anxiety problems is worth to you personally.

Compare this to the ‘opportunity costs’ of missing out on the recovery from social anxiety that the SPA support group can provide– a continuation of miserable anxiety symptoms, possibly for years to come, continued reduced quality of life, lost or strained relationships with friends and family, lost job or educational opportunities and perhaps the lost opportunity to ever develop an intimate and meaningful relationship with that special someone (or the undermining of the quality of an existing intimate relationship). In light of this, many of us with anxiety disorders have decided that the small time and expense required to start an SPA group is far outweighed by the benefits.

5) Get the books. Once you have the recommended SPA books, we suggest that the first 1/3 of the meeting time be spent reading from the books to the group.

6) You do not have to have recovered from social anxiety yet yourself and you do not have to understand the books yet either to start a Social Phobics Anonymous support group.

  NOTE: The above article (listed for nearly 10 years on the website) was written before the advent of Facebook, Myspace, Twitter and also Meetup, which make the formation of support groups even easier.  Now you can start a new gathering / promotion space for your support group in literally minutes (Internet message boards are also a good space to start).  With the exception of Meetup, these new groups will begin with online posts, although there you can also post a conference call phone number to invite people to a phone call group where you can meet and talk (using one of the many free telephone conference call services, easily found online).  With Meetup, the creation of a live group is even easier and results are often forthcoming locally within one or two weeks. As with all support groups for people with Social Anxiety problems, persistence is key to developing a consistent group. Many people with social anxiety have a phobia of live groups, so expect lots of turnover when you get to the live group component.  Don’t give up anyway, and eventually you will have a stable core of group members.

In order to properly name your group according to the Social Anxiety Anonymous Licensing policy,  see also Finding Social Phobics Anonymous support groups and the new SocAA / SPA licensing policy

 

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The grass roots nature of 12 step programs

There are countless ways that support groups are easily created and promoted on the Internet or in a face to face setting. The old “How To Start a Support Group” article was very helpful in this regard and many people have copies of this. (And since all of the Social Phobics Anonymous literature has always been 100 percent free, that means anyone can post, or share such copies).

Now there are now so many ways to start support groups to be found online (for example. on Facebook or through meetups, both of which only take minutes to establish online) that starting a new support group has become a very easy matter.

I used to own the old website and telephone conference call account, but my social anxiety became overwhelming and I could no longer do it. I told and posted to everyone on the website as well that the old conference service (owned by me) was closed and something else would be started soon (I had hoped that set some boundaries in the groups that might make my phobia easier for me to handle) But then my social phobia got even worse. In the following year and a half, I have not been able to work at all, and so I really got very paralyzed and stuck in many ways. This made it hard for me to do any work that involved me facing my own social phobia. I just started avoiding anything that involved facing social phobia or social anxiety and recovering from it; I sincerely regret this, but I had struggled with social phobia on and off for many years previously.

I had made progress but then really started to backslide, my phobias popping up in specific areas of my life and later getting more generalized. During this time (from when I closed the groups that I personally had offered on my website and in my conference group accounts) I had no contact with anyone, anywhere related to the groups except for two conversations with friends in the summer or spring of 2013. So I wasn’t with one group while blocking another (as I think I may have seen indirectly suggested on the Internet) I was not with any groups or anyone, but instead was quite isolated.

Any way, my story aside for a moment– this however raises an important question for Social Anxiety Anonymous (one that actually has long-already been addressed) which is what can be done when one person playing a service role loses interest and leaves (for any reason)?

The answer is a very old one, and it comes from the original 12 Step program, Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.).

And by the way, it is also the simple and tried and true suggestion made by A.A. when conflicts or disagreements arise within groups (simply put when there is disagreement or discontent about how a group should be run). If the problem seems to become intractable, and no common solution can be reached, A.A. strongly encourages that the unhappy parties simply start a new support group. A.A. points out that this solution–

1) gives everyone space, instead of miring the support group in endless, distracting conflict,

2) gives the person or persons (perceived, rightly or wrongly) of “needing the most recovery” space to work on their recovery until they finally “get it”.

And 3) helps the 12 Step cause by growing the effort (since the ‘work-around’ solution makes new groups which equals growth for the 12 Step program anyway).

Anyway in the old groups, before the website was abandoned, that old, traditional, A.A. solution is what was always suggested (in Social Phobics Anonymous) as the best recourse to any unresolved disputes or conflicts and also any cases where a slip back into social phobia (also known as relapse) or just a personal change in commitments or interest, might result in a shortfall in volunteer service.

Instead of waging campaigns against the party who might not be holding up (either in reality or due to skewed perceptions due to “political fever”), which are likely to just make the disagreed with person’s Social Phobia worse anyway–

The best solution has always been described in our groups (as taken from A.A.)– to encourage dissatisfied people to just start their own support groups (which now, due to advances in technology, only takes minutes) and then run them how they like, which is empowering anyway, as well as freeing everyone from distracting disagreements.

By the way, regarding old conflicts or disputes we respectfully encourage all sides to just let them go. We believe in focusing on the future and not the past.

Also, for several years this automatic email reply message has been active on our email services (one outgoing message did stop working after about a year of being unattended– hotmail does that sooner than gmail, I think, don’t quote me).

Anyway, this automatic email reply message for Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous says the following about how can star their own support group at any time without restriction, These messages have been going out to anyone emailing us long after the main website went down.

Here the is part of the automated email reply message for Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous (still working to this day).

The email addresses for Social Anxiety Anonymous are listed in various places on the Internet and have also been widely shared.

It still gives out this message about starting support groups (explaining that anyone can start a Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous support group, no special requirements, other than local groups following Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous general policies):

A VOLUNTEER WILL GET BACK TO YOU BASED ON AVAILABLE TIME: This will
depend on the availability of volunteers & also the nature of social anxiety disorder which we suffer from. Consequently sometimes this email service goes uncovered for long periods of time so we can’t guarantee a response. Social Anxiety Anonymous is a nonprofessional collection of volunteers often struggling with the unpredictability of their own social anxiety issues & so can’t guarantee sponsorship or personal contact with anyone. Therefore any service provided does not imply any further service owed. Nor can Social Anxiety Anonymous guarantee any other kind of service. Neither is formation of local or telephone support groups our responsibility, although Social Anxiety Anonymous reserves the right to only lend it’s name to groups that agree to follow it’s program of recovery, policies & codes.

The other publicly listed  email service said almost exactly the same thing (I am pretty sure). That automated message was wiped because the answering service wasn’t checked for over a  year after the web site was abandoned due to no volunteers for that and the olast person having increased problems with social phobia.

**PLEASE NOTE (the following is meant with love and respect): These posts are not to make anyone wrong. Misunderstandings happen all the time and we are not against or in disagreement with anyone,  Very best to all.

Also:

To keep some perspective on the size of Social Anxiety Anonymous, , the three phone groups were never larger than 15 people each and often only about half of that [and also usually the same regulars in each group]

The reality is, many people who have social phobias have an extremely hard time attending live (telephone or face to face) support groups. So it has always been an extremely small organization. Not that it isn’t a great idea and not that it can’t help people (it is and it has)–

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.

 

Finding Social Phobics Anonymous support groups and the new SocAA / SPA licensing policy

Finding any publicly posted Social Phobic’s Anonymous support group has been relatively easy on the Internet. For example a number of them can be found on Social Anxiety Support (the popular web forum for people with social anxiety problems). Some link to the old Social Phobics Anonymous website but others simply have posts with direct information on how to get to these groups. Facebook is even easier to use (either on personal accounts or by starting a Facebook support group with a couple of clicks).

So within minutes a new support group can be listed and promoted. These posts go back many years. This is not a new policy or idea, it has been in practice for a very long time.  So the idea of the Social Phobics Anonymous website being a bottle neck through which everything must flow just isn’t the case.

In reality, any Facebook group, any forum thread, or any website can, in just minutes, become new “centers” where Social Phobics Anonymous/Social Anxiety Anonymous can be found.

The idea of a single point of presence for something like a loose network of support groups listed on the Internet just isn’t so. A quick look at the other 12 Step programs, including Alcoholics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, etc… will reveal that for numerous 12 Step programs, many of their affiliated support groups are not even linked to the “main” organization website. In fact these organizations have hundreds of websites– some for local chapters, some for city-wide chapters and some for regional chapters, and some of these websites are better put together than the “main” website.

This also means that the idea that a 12 Step program (especially a very tiny one, like Social Anxiety Anonymous) is being intentionally shut down when  in reality one person is having an increase in social phobia and stops paying for a website can really border on being a conspiracy theory.

In reality the organization can grow in many ways on the Internet, and has already grown in many ways and is not at all dependent on a “single point” that must be provided by one person. That is also what is now called “Web 2.0”, the post-Facebook Internet, where there is no single “center” that solely represents an organization. In reality, all organizations on the Internet now have many “centers’ (Facebook pages, special Facebook groups, Yelp Listings, Google Listings, Yahoo Yellow Pages Listings) the list is endless.

Nevertheless, most organizations do like having an “official” website, and so on this blog a solution will be offered to help work around individuals with social anxiety relapsing and, in the process, letting go of service efforts or projects, including a “main website” this new solution (described later on this blog) will radically change how the organization is shared and distributed.

So again (and I mean this with respect and best wishes) the reality is that one website going down doesn’t really have to hold back an organization at all on the Internet anymore.  What this all comes back to is the idea that all 12 Step program related endeavors are founded, at the most basic level, on that “individual initiative”, which is the backbone of all 12 Step programs.

Anyway, here is some more information on starting Social Anxiety Anonymous 12 Step groups (and also creating new program literature):

This will also include (a not really needed, but perhaps helpful anyway) solution via clarification of licensing of Social Anxiety Anonymous groups and literature. (this “Licensing” already  existed, but this [here] will also involve adding something “new” to how the program can be shared):

1) All Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous groups are completely self-governing (they always were).

2) All Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous groups are now completely independent from all others (a bit of a change). This means that they are now 100 percent separate organizations.

3) The trademark for Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous is now hereby relinquished to anyone anywhere (becomes “Creative Commons” public property) so long as they follow it’s new and forthcoming “Creative Commons” public license.

4) This license will not be legally enforced, but will be adhered to by encouraging anyone unhappy with how a group is run, to first voice differences within a group (either in the meetings, if allowed, or through other feedback channels) and to then, if unsatisfied, to simply take a few minutes and start a new (and from their point of view) a better support group elsewhere. So the license suggestions will be enforced by a) [constructive] engagement for change and then, failing that, b) withdrawal and establishment of new groups.

5) Licensing of literature shall be hereafter “open source”, meaning it can be edited by separate groups separately, becoming different “versions” of Social Anxiety Anonymous literature. So each independent support group can now change it’s own literature (with a few simple stipulations). However each new “version” must include a new variation on the Literature name (or a brand new name in entirety).

Stipulations are:

A) No Literature Version may ever be used for profit (all new versions of literature must be strictly “not-for-profit” or non-profit). And no literature may ever be sold except to raise money for a Social Anxiety Anonymous- related support group. And the price for said book should never exceed $10.

B) No versions may use an already used name from another preexisting version (the remedy being non-legal, but again withdrawal  of unsatisfied parties and starting over and doing it “right”, elsewhere) .

C) The (now “Creative Commons”) Social Phobics Anonymous/Social Anxiety Anonymous Literature license (and Trademark) is hereby now relinquished and shared. So also is the Trademark to the organization and not just the literature: “the Trademark and License for Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous are now hereby similarly committed to “Creative Commons” (Public Commons) Licensing.

D) The right not use the Social Anxiety Anonymous’/Social Phobics Anonymous name at all in support groups that nevertheless use a version of our literature ( the right, in essence, to have completely private support groups)–

Due to the sometimes unsafe nature of the Internet (cyberbullies and Internet gangs, for example). Some may elect to have private groups and not share their name at all, or create names completely different than “Social Phobics Anonymous/Social Anxiety Anonymous”. This is acceptable under this license. People have a right to as much privacy as they can get on the Internet.  This also means that open source-derived recovery literature may be developed privately but without making it public, however we discourage this: even if groups are kept with alternate names and totally private, we suggest that all new versions of literature should be publicly shared somehow, so that all versions of literature may compete (constructively) for the ultimate betterment of  recovery from Social Phobia and Social Anxiety problems.

E) Such names should be respectful of others and should only relate to the groups recovery-oriented purpose. No group name should reflect on any individual but should instead relate to efforts to recover from Social Phobia or Social Anxiety problems. No name should be taken from (substantially) commercial trademarks or other copyrighted material or media.

F) The sole purpose of any literature version or support group related in any way to Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous should only  be personal recovery from Social Phobia or Social Anxiety problems, such groups and literature should be not be used for any other purpose:

Individuals sincerely seeking help for their personal social phobia are encouraged 1) to try to engage any erring group or editorial effort in constructive dialogue or through accepted feedback channels; and then, failing this, 2) leave such efforts or groups and then find (or start) new ones that follow the true spirit of Social Phobics Anonymous / Social Anxiety Anonymous.

Examples of various possible groups and also literature versions (none of these are real, but demonstrate how such naming may work) :

1) “Social Anxiety Anonymous New Hope Support Group” (under the new licensing, a  totally separate organization).

2) “Social Anxiety Anonymous Realizing Your Dreams Support group” (under the new licensing, a  totally separate organization).

In line with open-source computer programming and collaborative authoring, new “versions” of Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous literature may also be called a “Distro” (like various open-source Linux “distros”).

3)  “Social Anxiety Anonymous Change Your Focus” open-source literature version.

4) “Social Anxiety Anonymous Step by Step” open-source literature distro.

Also, there is no requirement that any literature distro remains “traditional 12 Step”. A distro or version may evolve in any direction. Although in fairness to traditional 12 Step followers, any distro or version that wholly omits the 12 Steps should state somewhere in their name.

5) Posting of license: Any open source licensee of Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous literature should post this section (which is now the license)  on on their website or Facebook group page or other Internet platform (somewhere).

Please post a full copy and don’t just link to this (should this site ever go down).

The donation rules below are also considered to be a part of this license:

6) Donations to all licensed groups and literature projects: Like the first 12 step organization Alcoholics Anonymous, all Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous licensed groups should be self-supporting through their own contributions. That means that only people suffering from these problems and who are support group members working on their own social anxiety or social phobia difficulties should contribute monetarily to the organization. Beyond making small basket donations (a few dollars a week), persons making larger donations should be attending weekly support groups for six months minimum. Other than a general request for weekly donations, no individual should ever be solicited for donations. This tenant is seen as vital and essential in all of the main 12 step organizations in order to maintain organizational integrity and autonomy.

7) Yearly donation cap. First and foremost, no one has to make a donation to Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobia Anonymous  ever. And of those donations that are made, the vast, overwhelming majority are just a dollar or two a week. However, even though the organization never asks for this, sometimes people, on their own initiative may wish to donate more (now to whatever completely separate support group organization that they may be a part of). In Alcoholics Anonymous it is felt to be very important that there be a yearly cap on such individual contributions. That yearly cap on contributions from any one individual is set at $3,000. The same limit is placed on any Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous licensed group. These contributions are to be kept confidential as well, as far as is reasonably possible, given that a person playing the role of treasurer may have to handle processing of such a donation. Donations are not accepted from organizations or non-members. This is not a negative comment on such parties but is a boundary observed in all the well-known 12 step programs.

In the past with old Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous, only a few hundred dollars were ever donated in all the years of it’s existence. Although many hundreds of hours (perhaps into well over a thousand hours) were donated in building the website, writing and outreach work.  However in order to look towards the future, the above cap and self-supporting policies are instituted as a part of the above-mentioned licensing procedures.

8) Proper granting of license. The original website allowed for re-posting of literature (which was all free) as well as describing in detail how anyone, anywhere could start a Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous support group. So in that sense the license described above is already encompassed in this older implied license with exception of allowing anyone to rewrite Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous literature and create new versions. However literature version creation was already “granted but not explained” in that there never was any prior restriction on this, so long as any writing and literature were the product of Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous. So even though it is a new idea, to explicitly allow development of various versions of Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous literature, this was actually always possible in fact although never stated or perhaps conceived of before. So the new licensing policies are therefore and hereby properly granted in their entirety and active explicitly, as they were active implicitly previously.

Resources:

There are many free online “Wikis” where new Social Anxiety Anonymous literature versions may be written (like Wikipedia but for general use rather than article creation).

Literature can also be created though shared Google Docs and similar programs and applications.

There are many free conference call services available online for telephone support groups, to find them, one can do a search for “Free telephone conference call services”.

Meetup groups may be used to start local groups.

There are countless ways to start online groups or announce support groups online.

Best of luck to all!

**This website will be up for one year (minimum) and after that may be let go by the volunteer who is providing it. By that time, Social Anxiety Anonymous/Social Phobics Anonymous should have more new “online centers” for information about the program.

Any use or modification of Social Anxiety Anonymous or Social Phobics Anonymous literature or use of the Social Anxiety Anonymous or Social Phobics Anonymous name in association with any support group is only valid if the above license requirements are adhered to in such efforts or groups. Group members or literature editors are encouraged to leave any efforts violating such licenses and to then start new, compliant efforts.  The license will not be enforced legally, but is a guideline that is best followed by volunteer efforts of those who sincerely want to use the program of recover for its primary purpose and following the spirit of it’s licensing guidelines.

Just to prove our history that for most of the time of the old Social Anxeity Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous, anyone could start their own support group, see other articles on this blog that show our 10 plus year olf article on how one starts their won support group.

Also, for several years this automatic email reply message has been active on our email services (one outgoing message did stop working after about a year of being unattended– hotmail does that sooner than gmail, I think, don’t quote me).

Anyway, this automatic email reply message for Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous says the following about how can star their own support group at any time without restriction, These messages have been going out to anyone emailing us long after the main website went down.

Here the is part of the automated email reply message for Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous (still working to this day).

The email addresses for Social Anxiety Anonymous are listed in various places on the Internet and have also been widely shared.

It still gives out this message about starting support groups (explaining that anyone can start a Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous support group, no special requirements, other than local groups following Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous general policies):

A VOLUNTEER WILL GET BACK TO YOU BASED ON AVAILABLE TIME: This will
depend on the availability of volunteers & also the nature of social anxiety disorder which we suffer from. Consequently sometimes this email service goes uncovered for long periods of time so we can’t guarantee a response. Social Anxiety Anonymous is a nonprofessional collection of volunteers often struggling with the unpredictability of their own social anxiety issues & so can’t guarantee sponsorship or personal contact with anyone. Therefore any service provided does not imply any further service owed. Nor can Social Anxiety Anonymous guarantee any other kind of service. Neither is formation of local or telephone support groups our responsibility, although Social Anxiety Anonymous reserves the right to only lend it’s name to groups that agree to follow it’s program of recovery, policies & codes.

The other publicly listed  email service said almost exactly the same thing (I am pretty sure). That automated message was wiped because the answering service wasn’t checked for over a  year after the web site was abandoned due to no volunteers for that and the olast person having increased problems with social phobia.

**PLEASE NOTE (the following is meant with love and respect): These posts are not to make anyone wrong. Misunderstandings happen all the time and we are not against or in disagreement with anyone,  Very best to all.

Also:

To keep some perspective on the size of Social Anxiety Anonymous, the three phone groups were never larger than 15 people each and often only about half of that [and also usually the same regulars in each group]

The reality is, many people who have social phobias have an extremely hard time attending live (telephone or face to face) support groups. So it has always been an extremely small organization. Not that it isn’t a great idea and not that it can’t help people (it is and it has)–

Social Anxiety Anonymous has always been a very, very tiny organization.  Not that it isn’t a great idea and not that it can’t help people (it is and it has)–

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Non-profit nature of Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobic’s Anonymous (how our policy is the same as that of other 12-step programs)

All 12 Step programs have literature outlining non-affiliation with for-profit enterprises:  

Most 12 Step programs have statements that make it clear that they have no public affiliation with any for-profit enterprises. In addition organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous (the original 12 Step program) take great care not to publicly affiliate with any famous individuals.

This however, is not in any way a repudiation of any for-profit enterprise or individual. In fact, other Alcoholics literature also makes it clear that the organization does not “endorse or oppose” any outside individual or enterprise. The posts on the old website (that discuss this policy) in fact did not mention any outside enterprises or individuals by name that might be making such an affiliation at all. In the early days of Social Phobics Anonymous, such affiliations were sometimes made, although in later years this was reexamined.

Due to the very limited nature of available volunteers, the tiny size of the organization and also the fairly disorganized nature of the website (and it’s many, many pages), as well as many come-and-go website editors over the years,  the old website was never fully cleared of all links from it’s early days when such affiliations were sometimes made.

The implied assumption here is that both profit and non-profit organizations have value and can help people. But that non-profit organizations have to keep certain boundaries in order to function and provide the unique benefits that non-profits can offer.

The Social Anxiety Anonymous  original literature has many places where it keeps a very open mind about outside literature and services (including for profit) and never disparages them. Keeping a certain distance from for-profit enterprises is not meant in any way to condemn them.  And Social Anixety Anonymous literature never does so.

There was also nowhere on the old website site where any individual was ever disparaged for having a for-profit association to Social Anxiety recovery.

Note: The old website had many editors over the years, and many, many sometimes not well organized pages, but I believe this to be true.

Individuals who promote their name publicly:

(This is a discussion and policy restatement of an issue that came up just before the old website went down, it is not addressing any current issues).

There “appeared” to be a concern among some group members that the restatement of the old policy meant that they could not simultaneously promote their businesses or personal names publicly and still be support group members, which was never the case, so that’s why it is being clarified here.

This affiliation limitation has never been meant to say that individual group members can not do business outside of the groups or promote their names in doing so. It simply means that while “wearing one’s public hat” one does not publicly affiliate with a 12-Step program. Alcoholics Anonymous, the grandparent of all 12 Step programs, has had such a policy since it’s early days.

What public non-affilliation has always meant is that one does not associate with a 12 Step program in a public way in order to sell goods or services but one may still be a member, attend groups (in private in all other ways).

On the old Social Anxiety Anonymous website, the statements related to this meant the exact same same thing:

1) No (public) affiliations

2) No opposition to outside enterprises.

3) People who have public identity may take their “public hats” off and then be members (in private) just alike anyone else.

Also, for several years this automatic email reply message has been active on our email services (one outgoing message did stop working after about a year of being unattended– hotmail does that sooner than gmail, I think, don’t quote me).

Anyway, this automatic email reply message for Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous says the following about how can star their own support group at any time without restriction, These messages have been going out to anyone emailing us long after the main website went down.

Here the is part of the automated email reply message for Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous (still working to this day).

The email addresses for Social Anxiety Anonymous are listed in various places on the Internet and have also been widely shared.

It still gives out this message about starting support groups (explaining that anyone can start a Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous support group, no special requirements, other than local groups following Social Anxiety Anonymous / Social Phobics Anonymous general policies):

A VOLUNTEER WILL GET BACK TO YOU BASED ON AVAILABLE TIME: This will
depend on the availability of volunteers & also the nature of social anxiety disorder which we suffer from. Consequently sometimes this email service goes uncovered for long periods of time so we can’t guarantee a response. Social Anxiety Anonymous is a nonprofessional collection of volunteers often struggling with the unpredictability of their own social anxiety issues & so can’t guarantee sponsorship or personal contact with anyone. Therefore any service provided does not imply any further service owed. Nor can Social Anxiety Anonymous guarantee any other kind of service. Neither is formation of local or telephone support groups our responsibility, although Social Anxiety Anonymous reserves the right to only lend it’s name to groups that agree to follow it’s program of recovery, policies & codes.

The other publicly listed  email service said almost exactly the same thing (I am pretty sure). That automated message was wiped because the answering service wasn’t checked for over a  year after the web site was abandoned due to no volunteers for that and the olast person having increased problems with social phobia.

**PLEASE NOTE (the following is meant with love and respect): These posts are not to make anyone wrong. Misunderstandings happen all the time and we are not against or in disagreement with anyone,  Very best to all.

Also:

To keep some perspective on the size of Social Anxiety Anonymous (which made it vulnerable to outside interference) was the fact that the three phone groups were never larger than 15 people each and often only about half of that [and also usually the same regulars in each group]

The reality is, people who have social phobias have an extremely hard time attending live (telephone or face to face) support groups. So it has always been an extremely small organization. Not that it isn’t a great idea and not that it can’t help people (it is and it has)– ed group that was opposed to the new security restrictions (probably still active) and some local (public and private / unlisted) groups. Social Anxiety Anonymous has always been a very, very tiny organization. Not that it isn’t a great idea and not that it can’t help people (it is and it has)–

Please note: Although Social Anxiety Anonymous makes no public affiliations, there are many truly wonderful, valuable and worthwhile written sources of self-help (or famous self-help leaders) in both the commercial and / or more publicized non-profit sector and we never mean to discourage anyone from availing themselves of such helping resources in their personal lives.