SCAnner History Article
SCAnner: Winter, 2001 – “The Beginnings of SCA,” Pages 34 & 35
Online meetings – John F. NY (1996)
The online SCA meetings began with the inauguration of the SCA Web site in 1996. This grew out of my personal interest and expertise in using the Internet and the desire of SCA’s International Service Organization to spread the SCA message.
The first online meeting began in July 1996, and was a topic meeting, where the topic was changed once or twice a month. It was set up in the style of a bulletin board, where people could share what they liked over the course of the meeting. Because I had experience with face-to-face meetings, I was able to encourage the group to establish a Group Conscience that specifically discouraged crosstalk and the like. The online Topic Meeting has continued to attract a small but loyal following ever since, and it is archived on the Web site. Among the topics have been various Slogans, the Steps, and whatever the trusted servant or members have suggested from time to time.
About the same time we began a Feedback Meeting on the Web site. Just as in the “face to face” world, it is very difficult to have a Feedback Meeting that does not venture into crosstalk. However, the Feedback Meeting is far and away the most popular part of the Web site, getting hundreds (yes, hundreds) of postings a month. I estimate that this is the largest single meeting in the SCA fellowship, attracting as many as 300 regulars. It also has a written. Group Conscience that has been changed from time to time to adapt to changing circumstances.
Both these meetings are available through the SCA Web site at http://www.sca-recovery. org.
About two years ago, one of the online members, Ray from Washington DC, started “live” meetings on the Internet. Because I had had problems with Internet chat rooms, I was leery about these at first. However, these meetings continued to thrive, and I was encouraged to attend. Recently these meetings have expanded, so that there is a meeting seven days a week at 9 p.m. New York time, in addition to four other meetings, for a total of 11 live meetings.
One live meeting, on the Steps, is held the last Friday of each month, and is the only one that I know of to explicitly rely on literature. We post excerpts from 12-Step literature on the Web site in preparation for that meeting, and people can share based on that or whatever moves them.
One of the things I have seen at many meetings is that they ebb and flow. Sometimes a lot of people show up; sometimes not many. Some old timers fade away for a while, and sometimes they come back, and sometimes they don’t. I am grateful that I continue to go to meetings, although I must admit that I tend now to go to the live online meetings rather than the face to face meetings. My experience has been that face to face is MUCH more effective, and I always encourage people in isolated locations to start new meetings. We now have SCA meetings in northern Michigan, central Europe, and many other far-flung places as a direct result of the Web site, and I am extremely grateful and privileged to have been a part of that. I am also now an online sponsor, and again I encourage my sponsees to consider getting a face to face sponsor, which I find much more effective. I believe the Internet will be a major factor in the future growth of our fellowship, as it has already become, and I hope we are able to harness the advantages of the Internet while always being aware that it can promote the very isolation that is so much a part of sexual compulsion.