Spenders Anonymous - A Sample Meeting Format

A 12-Step Fellowship

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Start of Meeting

Welcome to the _______________ night meeting of Spenders Anonymous. My name is ________________ and I am the trusted servant for the month of _______________. This is a 12-step group, based on Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. Our meeting will last from (timeframe) to (timeframe). This is a non-smoking meeting. Please do not smoke in the building.

Spender Anonymous is a community of men and women sharing our experience, strength and hope as we work toward clarity in our relationship with money. Some of us spend compulsively, or take on debt that we do not know how to repay. Some of us lack the confidence in our ability to earn money, while others have money, but lack the ability to manage it sanely.

What we have in common is our need to work toward serenity in our relationship with money. Our experience is that we cannot do this alone.

We offer a special welcome if you are new to this program. It takes courage to come here and we all know what it's like to take that first step to recovery.

Please respect the anonymity of the members of the group. Who you see here, what you hear here must be held in confidence. Only then are free to share openly what is in our hearts and minds.

I sought my soul, but could not see.
I sought my God, but God eluded me.
I sought my brother and sister and found all three.

Let us stand for a moment of silence-to seek our Higher Power, followed by the Serenity Prayer.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
the courage to change the things I can,
and the wisdom to know the difference.


Meeting Introduction

My name is _________________ and I am a compulsive spender. Let us go around now and introduce ourselves.

Spenders Anonymous is a community of men and women who come together to share their experience, strength and hope as they work toward identifying and solving spending problems.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop spending compulsively.

No one likes to think they are different from other people. Therefore, it is not surprising that our compulsive spending has been characterized by countless, vain attempts to prove that we could spend or shop like others.

The idea that somehow, someday we will control our spending is the great obsession of every compulsive spender.

The persistence of this illusion is astonishing.

We spend our time, energy, money and our very selves beyond all reason. Some pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

We are convinced that spenders of our type are in the grip of a progressive illness.

Our experience is that the program works. Our strength is being with spenders who share our common problem.

Our hope is that we can recover with a Higher Power, the 12-Steps and the Tools of Recovery.


The Twelve Steps of Spenders Anonymous

1) We admitted we were powerless over spending and money and that our lives had become unmanageable.

2) Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care God, as we understood God.

4) Made a searching and fearless moral and financial inventory of ourselves.

5) Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6) We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7) Humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.

8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10) Continued to take personal and financial inventory and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood God-praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.

12) Having had a spiritual awakening as a result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to compulsive spenders and to practice these principles in all our affairs.


The Twelve Traditions of Spenders Anonymous

(read the tradition that corresponds to the week's step)

1) Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon group unity.

2) Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3) The only requirement for Spenders Anonymous membership is a desire to stop spending money, time, energy and ourselves.

4) Each group should be self-governing except in matters affecting other groups of Spender Anonymous as a whole.

5) Spenders Anonymous has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the compulsive spender who still suffers.

6) Spenders Anonymous ought never endorse, finance or lend the Spenders Anonymous name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7) Every Spenders Anonymous group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8) Spender Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service center may employ special workers.

9) Spenders Anonymous, as such, ought never be organized, but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10) Spenders Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the Spenders Anonymous name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11) Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion. We need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films and television.

12) Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of Spenders Anonymous program, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.


The Twelve Promises of Spenders Anonymous

(read the one promise that corresponds to the week's step)

1) We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.

2) We will not regret the past, nor wish to shut the door on it.

3) We will comprehend the word serenity, and we will know peace.

4) No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.

5) That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.

6) We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.

7) Self-seeking will slip away.

8) Our whole attitude and outlook on life will change.

9) Fear of people will leave us.

10) Fear of economic insecurity will leave us.

11) We intuitively know how to handle situations that used to baffle us.

12) We will suddenly realize that our Higher Power is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.


Read aloud:

Are these extravagant promises?.................Reply: We think not.

They are being fulfilled sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly.

They will always materialize if we are willing to work for them.


Other Readings/Announcements

* Other special readings
* Any pertinent announcements
* Pass the basket
* Update phone list
* Sign up calendar
* Treasurer's report
* Other business


Tools of the Program

We have tools to help us work and live the program. They are: Abstinence - Anonymity - Exercise - Humor - Meditation - Meetings - Phone Calls - Play - Prayer - Readings - Service - Slogans - Sponsorship - Writing.

Keeping our sharing to a single turn, we will take about 10 minutes to share our thoughts on the tool of _________________(as designated on the calendar).


Working the Steps

Working the steps means working into recovery. Tonight we will share on Step_____________(as designated on the calendar). The step is read aloud and everyone is free to share their experience of the Step and how they use the Step in their daily life.

After closing we will divide into small groups (if there are less than 6 people at the meeting, stay in one group). During small group, or "check-in", as it is sometimes referred, we do not engage in questioning, discussion or advice. We ask that everyone have the opportunity for an uninterrupted turn. We do not offer feedback unless feedback is requested. Feedback should be held until everyone has had a chance to share. We respect each other's process on the road to recovery as we listen to each person's special concerns.



The opinions expressed here tonight are those of the person who gives them. Take what you like and leave the rest. Let there be no gossip or criticism among us, but let the love, understanding and peace of the program grow among us, one day at a time.

I would like to offer this prayer and then we will stand for the Serenity Prayer, adding the words, "Thy will, not mine, be done."

God, help me to spend wisely and to buy fairly, remembering that money and the things of this world are a trust from You, to be used as You would have me use them. And, help me also to remember that the best things in life are not things!!