Liderando e fortalecendo as reuniões na ITAA

In ITAA we find community, support, and solutions for our common problem of internet and technology addiction—for many of us, an ITAA meeting was our first experience of connecting with other addicts. Meetings are where we discover we’re not alone, we hear the message of sobriety, we develop rich friendships, and we keep coming back through all the seasons of our recovery.

But how do meetings work? And what can we do to help ensure that they work well? This guide is intended to provide a comprehensive overview of how meetings can best serve our primary purpose and help others recover from internet and technology addiction. We hope it can serve as a useful reference for every member of ITAA, whether you are thinking of starting a new meeting, doing service in an existing meeting, or finding new ways to improve and strengthen your homegroup.

Tabela de conteúdo

Part 1: How Meetings Work

  1. What is a meeting?
  2. Meeting formats
  3. The aftermeeting / “parking lot”
  4. Special focus meetings
  5. Closed and open meetings
  6. The difference between a meeting and a group
  7. Homegroups

Part 2: Starting and running meetings

  1. How do we start a new meeting?
  2. Additional considerations for in-person meetings
  3. Group consciences and business meetings
  4. Service positions
  5. Balancing service with self-care
  6. Acessibilidade

Part 3: Meeting safety

  1. Fostering safety in ITAA meetings
  2. Electing appropriate leaders
  3. Setting boundaries
  4. Upholding boundaries
  5. Winding down a non-functioning meeting

Part 4: Group Inventory and The Twelve Traditions

  1. Inventário de grupo
  2. The Twelve Traditions

Appendix A: Additional Resources
Appendix B: Special focus meetings and our Twelve Traditions

Part 1: How meetings work

1. What is a meeting?

An ITAA meeting takes place when any two or more internet and technology addicts gather together for mutual support, provided that as a group they practice the Twelve Traditions. The Traditions are discussed in more detail in section 20, but at a high level, practicing the Traditions means every meeting will have several important features:

  • We welcome anyone with a desire to stop using internet and technology compulsively. There are no other requirements.
  • Meetings shouldn’t have any affiliations besides ITAA. For example, we shouldn’t affiliate our meetings with any therapeutic or medical institution, religion, political cause, or organization.
  • Each group should be self-supporting, declining outside contributions. Members of the meeting should provide any funds necessary to operate the meeting, but contributions are voluntary. We have no dues or fees, and no member should be turned away if they can’t contribute to the group’s expenses.
  • All group members are equals. Any group decisions, such as the meeting format, who should chair, etc., should be determined by collective discussion and the vote of a substantial majority.
  • Each group is autonomous, meaning that outside of upholding the Twelve Traditions, groups are empowered to develop their own individual meeting formats.

Upholding these practices, along with the others described by the Traditions in section 20, provides basic boundaries that keep meetings safe, consistent, and focused on helping each other recover from internet and technology addiction.

But within these boundaries, what actually happens in a meeting? As each group is autonomous, a wide range of things can happen in a meeting, and our fellowship benefits from the diversity offered by our meetings. However, most groups share many core practices.  

Meetings typically feature compassionate, non-judgmental listening. We are all equals, and we recognize and respect that each individual walks a unique path towards recovery. As members take turns sharing, we listen deeply without trying to fix, criticize, or change each other. Instead of giving advice, we share from our own personal experience. The unconditional love and acceptance we offer and receive forms a foundation of trust on which we can begin to heal our relationships with ourselves, others, and the world around us. As we listen to others, we learn more about our own journey towards sobriety and what actions might help us. A meeting creates a space to be uplifted by hearing others’ experience, strength, and hope. And as we share with the group, we are given the opportunity to bring our personal experiences into the light and develop greater self-awareness around our emotions, needs, and addictive patterns. The collective practice of compassionate listening, vulnerability, and honesty forms a common bond that connects us to one another, both within the meeting and beyond.

In addition, our meetings are all organized around our primary purpose: to help others recover from compulsive internet and technology use. This means that at both the individual and the group level, we practice a sincere attention to how we can be of help to one another. We contribute to our meetings through regular attendance, taking on service positions, making financial contributions, welcoming newcomers, practicing sobriety, and sponsoring other members. As we begin to selflessly give of ourselves in this way, we discover that our own recoveries are strengthened in the process. In giving to others, we begin to move out of the isolated goal of personal recovery and join into a fellowship—a community of other human beings who know us, care about us, and rely on us as we rely on them. Contributing to the group gives us a sense of belonging and self-esteem, and it allows us to practice taking on responsibility in a healthy environment where we can always ask for help.

Meetings may also feature readings from ITAA literature or other Twelve-Step programs, speaker shares, stepwork exercises, or meditations. More information on specific meeting formats are described in the section below. 

2. Meeting formats

Our Third Tradition states that any group of internet and technology addicts, when gathered together for sobriety, may call themselves an ITAA group. Meanwhile, our Fourth Tradition states that each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or ITAA as a whole. These two Traditions allow for a great deal of freedom and diversity in how our meetings can be structured, and we are all invited to create the fellowship we crave. Meetings are empowered to choose whatever format best fits the needs and desires of the participants, and we are invited to be creative in this process. For inspiration, here are formats that are frequently used in ITAA meetings:

  • Introductions: Members take turns introducing themselves by first name only. They may also share where they are calling from (if at an online meeting), the length of their sobriety, or a brief feelings check. 
  • Opening statements: Meetings will frequently open with a prayer or affirmation, a reading of the Twelve Steps, a reading of the Twelve Traditions or the Tradition of the month, a reading of the mission statement, and stating what the meeting boundaries are (for example, not permitting cross-talk and maintaining confidentiality). More information on setting group boundaries can be found in section 16.
  • Open sharing: Members take turns sharing their personal experience, strength, and hope, or anything else that’s on their mind. Sometimes the meeting may suggest a specific topic on which people can share. Members may also simply “get current,” sharing about the feelings, challenges, and successes they are experiencing that day. Meetings may choose to set a time limit for shares or allow each member to speak freely without a time limit.
  • Reading from literature: Meetings may feature a reading from literature, such as a daily meditation, passages from the ITAA website, or a reading from another Twelve-Step oriented book, such as the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. Literature may be read at the beginning of a meeting as a prompt for sharing. Alternatively, one paragraph at a time may be read, followed by a handful of shares, followed by the next paragraph, and so on. 
  • Speaker share: Sometimes a meeting may invite a member to open the meeting with an extended share about their own experience in recovery. Usually this is a more experienced member with some sobriety under their belt, and their share may last anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes (or longer). Afterwards, members typically share on the speaker’s share and/or may ask questions of the speaker.
  • Newcomer shares: A meeting may set aside a particular time for newcomers to share. It’s generally recommended to do this during the second half of the meeting so that newcomers can hear from more experienced members first. A meeting may choose to define who may share as a “newcomer”; for example, anyone who has attended less than six meetings or been in ITAA for less than a month.  
  • Meditação: The meeting may take a certain amount of time to sit in silent meditation, or a member may lead the meeting through a guided meditation.
  • Two-way prayer: In two-way prayer, a period of meditation is followed by asking a question of our Higher Power and then writing down the thoughts that come into our head for a period of time.
  • Stepwork: A meeting may set aside specific time for members to do stepwork writing. Alternatively, the group may move through the Steps all together over the course of several weeks or months by working off of a particular stepworking guide.
  • Other writing exercises: Time can be dedicated to other writing exercises, such as free-form journalling, defining top, middle, and bottom lines, reviewing recent slips or close calls, strategies for deepening our sobriety, ways to connect to our Higher Power, or any other ITAA-related topic.
  • Sharing top lines: Some meetings may make time for members to share their top lines with everyone. This might include playing a musical instrument, showing artwork, telling jokes, sharing a recent top line activity, or anything else along these lines. In shares like this, we avoid sharing any pre-recorded audio or video media, or anything else which may negatively affect another’s recovery. 
  • Closing statements: The meeting will typically close with a confidentiality statement, announcements, a request for financial and service contributions, sobriety milestone celebrations, hugs, and a closing prayer or affirmation.

As a reference, a sample meeting format can be found on our website: Exemplo de roteiro de reunião

3. The aftermeeting/parking lot

Newcomers to ITAA quickly discover that the official meeting is only half of the picture—our aftermeetings, sometimes referred to as “parking lots”, are rich spaces for continued discussion, questions, exchanging contact details, informal conversation, and laughter. Here the kindness, warmth, and helpfulness of our community truly shines. Aftermeetings are typically at their best when they provide an informal, relaxed space outside of the fixed structure of the official meeting. However, a few basic principles are good to keep in mind to help ensure the aftermeeting is a positive experience for everyone.

It’s common to give special attention to any newcomers during the aftermeeting by making them feel welcome and inviting them to share or ask any questions they may have. At the same time, we also want to be sensitive not to overwhelm them with information and resources. The most important thing is to make sure they feel welcome and to encourage them to keep coming back.

If sharing continues after the meeting, we encourage members to share the time fairly between all those present. We also avoid giving unsolicited feedback or advice, making sure to ask for permission before directly responding to another member’s share.

During casual conversation, we avoid topics that can lead to controversy or dissension (Tradition 10), and we also avoid promoting outside, non-ITAA resources such as books, therapies, medicines, businesses, other Twelve-Step programs, or spiritual paths (Tradition 6). Briefly mentioning that we have found a particular resource or practice personally helpful is okay, but we avoid actively promoting or pushing it onto other members.

After in-person meetings, we may go out to a cafe or restaurant—these are very rewarding experiences and are not to be missed!

4. Special focus meetings

Some groups may be organized around specific populations. For example, a meeting may be specifically for women, men, LGBTQIA+, or BIPOC members. Meetings of this kind can allow members to open up more vulnerably about how various aspects of their identity intersect with their internet and technology addiction. While these meetings are typically closed to members who don’t identify with the group focus, if a non-identifying member joins because they are in urgent need of a meeting, we may choose to open the meeting to them (Tradition 3), or some members may volunteer to hold a separate smaller meeting with the member in need. However, for safety reasons, specific population groups may choose to remain closed to non-identifying members according to their own group conscience.

Alternatively, a meeting may be organized around a special topic, such as creativity, inner child work, atheism/agnosticism, sobriety frameworks, social media, or any number of other topics. If we are considering starting a special topic meeting, we do well to keep several considerations in mind: Is the meeting’s primary purpose to help people recover from internet and technology addiction? Will the meeting avoid suggesting that the ITAA program is qualified to help members recover from other addictions, health problems, or mental illnesses? If a newcomer joins the meeting as their very first ITAA meeting, will they feel like they are in the right place, even if they don’t personally identify with the topic? Will the meeting welcome all members of ITAA who have a desire to be free from compulsive internet and technology use? And does the topic avoid any affiliations with outside organizations, religions, and causes?

Examples of discouraged special topic meetings would include meetings for members of a specific profession or religion, meetings that propose to help members find freedom from other addictions or mental health issues besides internet and technology addiction, meetings around topics irrelevant to our primary purpose, meetings affiliated with other Twelve-Step Fellowships, or meetings that promote specific non-Twelve-Step therapies or solutions. (Tradition 5)

In 2023, our fellowship passed four motions to help guide how special focus meetings can align with our Twelve Traditions. The wording of these motions can be found in appendix b na parte inferior deste documento.

5. Members-only meetings (closed) vs. observer-friendly meetings (open)

Often, ITAA meetings are open only to those with a desire to stop compulsive internet and technology use, including newcomers who are questioning whether ITAA may be helpful to them. These are sometimes called “closed” meetings, because they are not open to the public. Alternatively meetings may be “open” for non-addicts to join as observers, including family members, journalists, researchers, clinicians, and anyone else who is interested in learning more about how ITAA works. After an open meeting, observers are typically able to ask questions and/or share.

6. What is the difference between a meeting and a group? 

The terms “meeting” and “group” are often synonymous, but in some cases a single group may hold multiple meetings. For example, one group might hold daily meetings at their meeting location: each meeting might have a different chair while the group as a whole might hold a single monthly group conscience for all the meetings and maintain a single bank account managed by a single treasurer.

7. Homegroups

We often benefit from choosing one or more homegroups, meetings that we attend regularly and at which we do service. One of the best ways to establish a homegroup is to take on a service role, even if it’s very small (for example, timekeeper or secretary). Service gives us a sense of accountability and responsibility to the group. Over time, we grow closer with other meeting regulars and find more opportunities to help the meeting flourish as much as possible. 

Part 2: Starting and running meetings

8. How do we start a new meeting?

Anyone, anywhere may start a new meeting. Before starting a new meeting however, we might first consider whether there is an existing meeting that may benefit from our service. If there is a special format we are hoping to try out, we can check whether an existing meeting would be interested in adopting our ideas. Starting a meeting is simple, but keeping it running smoothly and effectively over the long run takes time and dedication. Supporting an existing meeting rather than starting a new one improves the overall quality of our meetings and helps members who are willing to be of service avoid overextending themselves.

In addition, it’s best to expect that starting a new meeting will require a fair amount of personal work, and we should be willing to make a commitment of 6-12 months to support the meeting in the early days. If we can find one or several other members to make the commitment together with us, we will surely benefit from their shared support. This is especially true if we are starting a new in-person meeting or a meeting in a new language—for these meetings, attendance may be low or fluctuate for a period of time before it starts to pick up momentum. There may be days when we are the only person who shows up to the meeting; this is a natural part of the process of being a founder.

If we are thinking of starting a new in-person meeting, we can consider starting by simply hosting a local meetup with other members. This is a great way to get to know each other and begin brainstorming plans for a more regular meeting.

Once we have made a decision to start a meeting, we need to determine the following details:

  • Day and time: We may choose to meet every week at the same day and time, or we may meet less frequently, such as once a month. Meeting less frequently may be a good option when starting a new in-person meeting, as it makes the initial commitment more manageable. We also must choose a meeting length; meetings are typically one hour long, though they may be shorter or longer.
  • Localização: For online meetings, we may choose to use one of the ITAA fellowship Zoom rooms, or we may choose to set up our own meeting-specific video or phone conference line. Finding a location for an in-person meeting may take a bit more work; see section 9 for suggestions.
  • Format: We can use the sample meeting script on the ITAA website, or we can choose a different meeting format. Examples of meeting formats can be found in section 2.
  • Closed or open: Will the meeting be for internet and technology addicts only, or will it also be open to other interested members of the public to join as observers?
  • Name: We might choose a simple and generic name for our meeting, such as “Internet and Technology Addicts Anonymous,” or we may choose something more expressive, such as “The Solution is in the Steps,” “Thursday Night Speaker Meeting,” or “Serenity and Hope.” We are welcome to be creative. Whatever name we choose, we strive to keep the newcomer in mind and to choose a name that will be clear, relevant and inviting.
  • Description: This is a brief description of the focus of the meeting that can be shared in the meeting listing on the website. 
  • Contact details: Each meeting should have a contact email and/or a phone number. 

Having defined these details, we can reach out to the ITAA webmasters to request that they add our meeting to the website. 

Once our meeting’s gotten started, we ought to celebrate! Starting a meeting is a laudable act of service that benefits both ourselves and others. It takes a meaningful amount of effort to start a meeting, so we should recognize and appreciate our efforts.

9. Additional considerations for in-person meetings

Several other considerations are worth keeping in mind when starting an in-person meeting. First, it’s recommended to attend at least 10-15 online meetings before starting a local meeting—this can help us become familiar with ITAA’s program of recovery and help us connect with other experienced members who can offer guidance and support. 

Because starting an in-person meeting takes extra dedication and effort, it’s highly recommended to first connect with another committed member who can help us get the meeting started. If there are two ITAA members, that’s a meeting!

Joining online meetings is a great way to meet other members in our area. Even members in nearby cities may be willing to travel to our area or meet halfway once a month. We can announce our intention to start a new in-person meeting at the end of online meetings, and we can also add an announcement to our quadro de avisos to help spread the message more widely. In addition, we can ask the webmasters to add a listing for our city to the in-person meetings page and explain in the description that we’re planning to start a new meeting and would like to hear from other interested local members. If we attend local meetings for other Twelve-Step fellowships or other mental health support groups, we can ask other participants if they know of anyone who has been struggling with technology addiction and who may be interested in joining our meeting. We can also distribute our welcome pamphlets (A4) (Instruções de impressão) and put up folhetos around town or at other Twelve-Step meeting locations, and we can reach out to local therapists, university mental health counselors, rehabs, and spiritual centers to let them know of our meeting.

If we’re alone but passionate about starting a meeting anyways, we might consider scheduling our meeting at the same time as an online meeting so that we can attend the online meeting if we are ever the only person who shows up to the in-person meeting space. We can also make our meeting a hybrid meeting and allow members who aren’t able to join in-person to participate virtually or by phone. 

A great way to find a location for an in-person meeting is by searching for places where other local Twelve-Step meetings are held. We may find spaces we can reserve at community centers, libraries, religious centers, local colleges, hospitals, or dedicated Twelve-Step clubhouses. When choosing a space, we consider how safe and accessible it is for members, including those with disabilities. While more established meetings can have a dependable stream of donations from passing the basket each week, lack of funds to pay rent may put some locations out of reach for a newer meeting. Many meetings have successfully gotten started in a free, temporary location, such as a public library, a public atrium, or a park. Some groups have successfully met in public parks for many months; in these cases, it is helpful to have a contingency plan in case of inclement weather. It is also helpful to have access to nearby restrooms. 

Groups have also successfully met in indoor public spaces such as public atriums; in these cases, there may be a trade-off between privacy and affordability. Although some meetings have experimented with cafes and restaurants, such locations have not worked well as there is little privacy, members may have to purchase food or beverages, and wait staff may interrupt the meeting. In the early days of AA, meetings were held in members’ homes, but not everyone today may feel comfortable with that. One highly effective way of finding an affordable meeting venue is to use connections other members may have. For example, if any members are affiliated with a church, temple, hospital, community center, or a similar location, they might ask if ITAA can meet there. Many people understand the needs of a new fellowship, especially when approached by someone they know, and may be willing to offer space at a lower rent. In the spirit of Tradition 7, many groups feel that it is best to offer some compensation for using another organization’s space.  

Some in-person meetings, especially if they are still looking for a permanent space, have also created email lists to announce where they are meeting, coordinate between members, and send weekly reminders of when the meeting is held. If the meeting’s email address is posted on the ITAA website, sometimes newcomers will reach out via email; monitoring the meeting’s email can be another service position. 

Once we have got a meeting started, it’s a good idea to assign service positions. While it is important for every meeting to have a dedicated chair, it is even more essential for in-person meetings to make sure someone is committed to being in the space every week. Some of us who have started in-person meetings had instances where newcomers showed up to an empty room and didn’t come back. In addition to these suggestions, we recommend reading through the section of this document on the Traditions (section 19), which serve as excellent guides to creating and maintaining healthy and effective meetings.

10. Group consciences and business meetings

Now that we’ve gotten our new meeting started, it’s time to hand the reins over to the group conscience. Our Second Tradition reads: “For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving Higher Power as may be expressed through our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.” As the meeting’s founder, we remember that we are acting in serviço to the other members. Often in the earliest days of a new meeting, members may be happy to delegate considerable responsibility and decision-making autonomy to its co-founders, but as the meeting grows, it is important to work collaboratively with others so that  all decisions serve the meeting’s best interests. To ensure this, we take regular group consciences. A group conscience is a collective discussion in which all points of view are shared and substantial unanimity is reached before taking action. It’s common to take a group conscience once every month, though a group conscience may be held at any time if the need arises. Group consciences are used to discuss any important issue relating to the meeting, such as the meeting format, schedule, and service roles.

A very simple format for holding a group conscience is to open with a prayer or affirmation, ask whether anyone has anything they’d like to discuss, make time for group discussion, propose a concrete decision, and take a vote on the decision. Typically, decisions should have at least 2/3 support to pass—this ensures that they are supported by a substantial majority—though meetings may freely determine their own voting thresholds. Following this, another discussion item can be raised, until either no one has anything else to address or the meeting reaches the time limit set for the group conscience. A typical length for a group conscience is 15-30 minutes.

A more detailed description of how group consciences work can be found in our Guide to Holding Group Consciences in ITAA.

11. Service positions

An effective meeting usually requires one or more members to volunteer to take on certain service roles. When defining a service role, we clarify the role’s responsibilities, term length, and any required qualifications.

A list of possible service roles are described below. These are only examples, and they are certainly not all required to hold a meeting. We are invited to be creative in how we want to set up our meeting’s service structure. 

  • Chairperson: The chairperson is responsible for leading the meeting. Of all the service roles, this is the only one that is almost always required to have a functioning meeting. The chairperson reads the meeting script and moderates the sharing portion of the meeting. An effective chair is organized, calm, friendly, and reliable. They should have a degree of discretion and sensitivity towards the needs of the group and an ability to diplomatically navigate unexpected developments. A strong chairperson makes newcomers feel especially welcome and extends warmth to every member of the meeting. Because this is such an important position, a chair should ideally have some experience with sobriety and some experience working the steps. A chair should also be prepared to intervene if the group’s boundaries are not being upheld; more information on this can be found in section 17.
  • Tech co-host: Online meetings may elect a tech co-host to help manage technical aspects needed to facilitate the meeting, such as screen sharing, copy/pasting into the chat, or Zoom safety controls.
  • Newcomer Greeter: A newcomer greeter is responsible for making sure newcomers feel extra-welcome, and they are typically available to share their contact information with newcomers. They also usually facilitate newcomer questions and shares during the aftermeeting.
  • Group Service Representative (GSR): The GSR represents the meeting’s interests at our fellowship’s International Service Meetings, and they also report important fellowship-wide developments back to the group. More information on the GSR role can be found in our Guide to The GSR Role.
  • Contact person: The contact person for a meeting is responsible for providing an email and/or phone number to be included on the meeting details listed on the website. They are also responsible for responding to any correspondence they receive.
  • Business Meeting Chair: This service role moderates the group consciences, typically following Robert’s Rules of Order. More information on this process can be found in our Guide to Holding Group Consciences in ITAA.
  • Secretary: A secretary takes notes during group consciences and stores them so that they can be referenced in the future. It’s not necessary to transcribe everything that is said and discussed; a simple record of the decisions that were made and the vote counts is enough.
  • Speaker Seeker: A speaker seeker searches for members with strong recovery to visit the meeting and share their experience, strength, and hope with the group through a speaker share.
  • Literature Chair: A literature chair is responsible for announcing information about ITAA’s written resources and other Twelve-Step literature to the meeting. The literature chair may also help distribute physical copies of literature to members who wish to receive them (an activity funded by the contributions of the group), and they may also help select readings for the group to read from.
  • Treasurer: The treasurer is responsible for making requests for financial contributions, collecting and holding donations, paying the group’s expenses, maintaining a prudent reserve (typically 12 months of operating expenses), and donating any left over funds to the fellowship. Because this is an important position with financial responsibility, it’s best to elect a trusted and reliable member who has been in the program for a while and has stable sobriety. Not all meetings have expenses, in which case members may donate directly to the worldwide fellowship.
  • Tea and coffee person: This service role is responsible for making tea and coffee for other members during an in-person meeting. This is a classic service role that dates back to the earliest days of Alcoholics Anonymous—it has saved many lives!
  • Setup and cleanup: Members may be elected to set up an in-person meeting space (setting out tables, chairs, etc.) and to clean up at the end of the meeting.

Whatever service positions we choose for our meeting, it’s important that we practice rotação de serviço. This means that once a service position’s term is finished, the member who has been performing the service responsibility steps down. Term lengths are typically between 3 and 12 months. Rotation of service gives other members the opportunity to take on service roles, and it prevents the group from becoming overly dependent on any one single member. In some cases, we may volunteer for a second term if no one else is available, but the idea is regular and evenly distributed rotation of service amongst the various members of the group.

12. Balancing Service and Self-Care

When starting a new meeting, we don’t give up our existing forms of support. We keep attending other ITAA meetings and making outreach calls. Making sure our own sobriety and serenity is strong will make us better able to help the internet and technology addict who still suffers. We alone are not responsible for the recovery of our city, country, speakers of our language, or people in our time zone.

13. Accessibility

ITAA welcomes all internet addicts, including those who identify as disabled, and encourages anyone with accessibility needs to communicate directly with group leaders. We encourage anyone who requires sign language interpretation to attend meetings (whether open or closed) with their interpreter. Additionally, online meetings typically offer closed caption features which can be enabled. We also strive to make our in-person meetings wheelchair accessible, and we take this into consideration when choosing a location for our meeting.

Part 3: Meeting Safety

14. Fostering safety in ITAA meetings

Every member of ITAA—newcomers, returning members, and old-timers alike—needs our meetings to be safe, orderly, supportive spaces where we can share vulnerably and find healing in fellowship with others.

The sections below offer suggestions for any member who is seeking to foster safety and stability in their ITAA meetings, whether as a chair or a meeting participant. In addition, members may also find it helpful to read our fellowship’s resource on Segurança no DITA.

We create a safe, orderly, and welcoming meeting by electing qualified, trusted servants to lead and support it. We also establish appropriate boundaries for our meetings as well as protocols for responding when a boundary is crossed.

15. Electing qualified leaders

While doing service can help us stay sober, this shouldn’t be the sole consideration when electing a member for a leadership position. The group’s common welfare should be of primary concern when choosing trusted servants in order to ensure that our meeting is both effective and safe for all in attendance. 

Although no member of ITAA has the power to govern others, our Second Tradition emphasizes that we do have leaders, and it’s appropriate to choose members to chair who are committed to the health and sustainability of the meeting. Experience suggests that chairpersons should have some measure of sobriety, and, ideally, they have held other group service positions in the past and are familiar with the Twelve Traditions. In addition, we seek to elect a chairperson who can embody qualities that we wish for our meeting: consistency, neutrality, compassion, and good judgment. A sober, qualified, and thoughtful meeting chair helps carry a message of hope to the newcomer and returning members alike.

Chairpersons ought to be comfortable upholding the boundaries established by group conscience. This means that they may need to step into a meeting and interrupt the organic course of events. This can feel awkward or uncomfortable, and it’s okay to acknowledge that this can take time and practice.

Here are some questions that could help the group learn more about each nominee:

  • Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your time in ITAA so far?
  • What does your relationship to sobriety currently look like?
  • Do you have a sponsor?
  • Are you working the Twelve Steps?
  • Have you held any other service positions previously?
  • Are you familiar with the Twelve Traditions?
  • Are you comfortable compassionately stepping into a meeting if somebody is crossing a boundary, for example, if someone is engaging in cross-talk?

We may also establish requirements for the chair position, such as having regularly attended meetings for a certain period of time or having some degree of sobriety. Each meeting is autonomous and may determine what requirements (if any) best serve the group.

Regardless of whatever requirements the group may set, there is no expectation for the chair to be perfect! In recovery, we let go of the need to do everything right the first time, and we allow ourselves the freedom to make mistakes and learn from them. Many of us chaired meetings before we felt “ready,” and we developed new skills in the process. If we have a desire to chair a meeting but are still feeling hesitant, we can begin by volunteering to be a tech host or a newcomer greeter. This can help us grow our confidence and make us an even more effective leader once we feel ready to chair.     

16. Setting boundaries

Part of ensuring safety in ITAA meetings is the setting of clear boundaries which are clearly communicated. Some example boundaries many groups have found helpful are below, though each group is autonomous, and we are encouraged to discuss and decide on which boundaries best support our meeting and the Twelve Traditions. 

  • Silencing devices: We ask that members turn off or silence their phones for the duration of the meeting.
  • No cross-talk: We ask that members avoid cross-talk, which includes mentioning other members by name, interrupting, judging, advice-giving, feedback, or dialogue in response to another member’s share.
  • No inappropriate behavior: Meetings are not a place to meet dating partners. Comments or behavior of a flirtatious, sexual, or aggressive nature directed towards other members are inappropriate, as is any discrimination in relation to sex, gender identity, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, body composition, disability or neurodiversity.
  • No detailing acting-out: We encourage members to share openly about their compulsive behaviors, but kindly refrain from providing in-depth descriptions of specific pieces of digital content.
  • Confidentiality: Everything that is said here in the group meeting and member-to-member, must be kept confidential. Who you see here, what is said here, when you leave here, let it stay here.
  • No opinion on outside issues / non-affiliation: As a group we have no opinions on outside issues, and we are not affiliated with any political agenda, religion, or outside interests. We avoid topics which can lead to dissension or controversy.
  • Open membership to all IT addicts: We have no membership requirements beyond the desire to stop compulsive internet and technology use.
  • Minimize video distractions: Please turn off your camera if you are moving around, eating, smoking, driving, etc.
  • Minimize chat distractions: Please be mindful of sending messages in the chat to other members during the sharing part of the meeting, as this can distract others from being able to listen.
  • After-meeting boundaries: As a group, we may wish to discuss which of the meeting boundaries apply to the after-meeting, and which, if any, do not.

The best way to clearly communicate these boundaries to all members is by including them in the meeting script. We can also include a line in our script that invites any member to prompt the host to reread the boundary statements.

17. Upholding boundaries

At some point in the lifespan of a meeting, it is nearly inevitable that one or more of the group boundaries will be crossed. Rather than hope this will never happen, we should prepare ourselves for the reality that it almost certainly will happen. That way, we can respond effectively in the moment.

There are various reasons a boundary might be crossed. A member may be new to ITAA and not realize that they’re crossing a boundary. Or a member might experience the boundary as a gray area that they may intentionally or unintentionally test. Boundaries may also be crossed in an impulsive moment of enthusiasm or anxiety. In very rare instances, someone might intentionally cross a boundary with the aim of destabilizing the group’s safety and causing harm to others.

When a stated boundary is crossed but no action is taken, this creates feelings of discomfort, instability, and a lack of safety. It communicates that the group’s boundaries are optional rather than the firm conscience of the group. Additionally, not communicating boundaries deprives the person who is crossing the boundary of the knowledge that their behavior and actions are negatively affecting others. Upholding boundaries and engaging in dialogue, even though uncomfortable, is not only better for the group, but also better for the person whose behavior is being addressed. 

On the other hand, there are occasions when the crossing of a boundary is so subtle, innocent, or harmless that no action is needed. For example, a newcomer may unwittingly cross a boundary, such as referencing a specific website or mentioning another member by name. In some cases it is clear that no harm has been done, and we don’t need to take any action. Alternatively, we may send the member a friendly private message to explain the nature of the boundary.

For situations in which a crossed boundary does merit being addressed, there are several ways we can respond.

Chair speaking up: It is the responsibility of the chair to step in and address when a boundary has been crossed. For example, as chair, we might be prepared to make statements such as the following:

Sarah, just a friendly reminder that we don’t engage in cross-talk during our meeting, and this includes giving advice to other members. Instead, we keep the focus on ourselves when we share. I’m also available to stick around after the meeting to clarify  more if you like.

Hi Carlos, I’m stepping in because in this meeting, we don’t interrupt other members who are sharing. Peter, please feel free to continue. Carlos, you may share afterwards.

Cynthia, I’d like to remind you and everyone that comments or behavior of a discriminatory nature are not appropriate in the meeting.

Siqi, as a reminder, in our aftermeetings we ask that members seek consent before giving feedback or advice in response to another person’s share.

Bruno, thank you for your share. I mentioned this during the opening notes, but we typically avoid referring to other members by name in our shares. Instead, we might say “I really related to an earlier share about social media.” It’s all good, I just wanted to explain how that works. We’re glad you’re here!

Safety-related service positions: If the chair does not feel experienced enough to uphold the group’s boundaries all by themselves, the group may also establish another service position with the specific role of helping ensure group safety and addressing when a boundary has been crossed. This is especially helpful for a new chair who might be feeling insecure about the role. 

Other members speaking up: If the chair is not stepping in to uphold a boundary, any member is empowered to uphold the group conscience and reaffirm boundaries. Group safety is a group responsibility, and we all play a part. Just as we can expect that boundaries will be crossed, we can expect that a chair may not be able to uphold a boundary. This may happen because they are nervous, inexperienced, or they simply didn’t notice it. In these situations, we should help support group unity by stepping in. We can do this by directly messaging the chair, messaging the person who crossed the boundary, or in an urgent situation we can speak out loud.

Group conscience discussion of safety: Another tool we can use to address crossed boundaries is taking a group conscience. When we feel uncertain about whether a boundary has in fact been crossed, or if we feel nervous about taking an authoritative role in addressing behavior, we can call for a group conscience.

It’s my belief that there have been some instances of cross-talk during this meeting, and I’m feeling uncomfortable with this. I’d like to request that we hold a brief group conscience after the meeting ends to discuss this and review our cross-talk boundaries.

I’ve recently noticed that in our meeting, some members have been sending a lot of messages in the chat, and this has felt distracting. I’m not sure if this is an issue for anyone else though, so I’d love to hold a group conscience to discuss this and see how everyone else feels.

I’m feeling uncomfortable. Could we please pause the meeting and hold a group conscience?

When a group conscience has been called, all members have an opportunity to discuss issues communally. When we are willing to speak up, we often find that we are not alone in our concerns. The discussion may also shed new light on the situation, and we might gain a different perspective or learn something new in the process of sharing openly with others in recovery. When we hold a group conscience about a boundary which isn’t being upheld, rather than being personally punitive towards one member the focus should always be on setting or reaffirming common boundaries that apply to all members equally. 

For further reading on how to hold effective group consciences, please see Um Guia para a manutenção das Consciências do Grupo no ITAA.

Addressing another member directly: In addition to the methods above, we can also address another member directly outside of the meeting to let them know how their behavior has affected us. This is particularly helpful to do if we notice a particular member acting out a pattern of unsafe or uncomfortable behavior.

Before reaching out to a member, we benefit from gathering our thoughts in writing. What specifically has made us uncomfortable? What traditions do we feel are not being followed? What requests would we like to make? 

Afterwards, we benefit from discussing our situation confidentially and anonymously with another person who is removed from the situation, to help give us perspective. In this instance we avoid identifying the member by name. 

Once we have prepared sufficiently, we can reach out to the member and share something to the following effect:

Hi Stacey, I wanted to check in because I felt uncomfortable about something you said at a meeting we both attended together. Would you be open to hearing me share about this?

(If the member is not willing to discuss, we can let them know that we understand, and we might choose to bring it up in a group conscience instead. If they are willing to discuss, we can proceed.)

During a meeting, you gave feedback on someone’s share without asking first. I felt uncomfortable about this, as our meeting asks that members request permission before giving feedback on another person’s share. Another time, you gave medical advice to a newcomer. This felt like it went against our Eighth Tradition, which states that we’re not qualified professionals and that we don’t provide medical or professional advice outside of carrying the ITAA message.

I wanted to share this with you directly, but if you prefer I’m also open to discussing it at our meeting’s next group conscience so we can arrive at clearer common boundaries as a meeting.

Removing a disruptive member: In a situation in which someone is actively attempting to be disruptive or incite others, or in which they are otherwise acting out egregiously inappropriate behavior, we can remove them from the meeting. In an online meeting, this can be done by placing them into the waiting room or simply removing them altogether. At an in-person meeting, the member can calmly be asked to leave the space. More information can be found in our Guide to Safety in ITAA e nosso Online Meeting Security Guidelines

18. Winding down a meeting

If our group is consistently having difficulty electing well-qualified members to lead the meeting, we may consider winding the meeting down and disbanding it. A meeting without stable and effective leadership can be confusing or off-putting for the newcomer, and it can compromise our primary purpose. There isn’t any shame in closing a meeting. If our group conscience elects to wind down, a message should be sent to the webmasters asking them to remove the meeting from the website.

Part 4: Group Inventory and The Twelve Traditions

19. Group inventory

In addition to holding group consciences to discuss specific issues, we may hold group inventories every 6–12 months to check in about how well we are fulfilling our primary purpose. A group inventory can take many forms. One format is to hold a meeting in which a facilitator (ideally someone from outside the meeting who is not a regular participant) helps guide a safe and inclusive discussion in response to various questions regarding the group’s functioning and its adherence to the Twelve Traditions, with 5-10 minutes set aside to discuss each question. Following the discussion period, a group conscience may be held to discuss and decide on actions the group may wish to take. Groups may design topics for group inventory that best suit them. Some example questions that may be discussed are as follows:

  1. What is the basic purpose of our group? 
  2. What more can our group do to carry the message? 
  3. Are we electing members to our service positions with care? 
  4. Are we upholding healthy boundaries in our meetings?
  5. Is our meeting placing principles before personalities? 
  6. Is our group attracting addicts from different backgrounds? Are we seeing a good cross section of our community, including those with accessibility needs? 
  7. Do new members stick with us, or does the turnover seem high? If so, why? What can we as a group do to retain members? 
  8. Are we careful to preserve the anonymity of our group members and other ITAAs outside the meeting rooms? Do we leave what they share at meetings behind? 
  9. Are all members given the opportunity to speak at meetings and to participate in other group activities? Do all members feel free to share without fear of criticism or dismissal? 
  10. Does our group do anything that misrepresents the conscience of the group?
  11. Does our group exclude or discourage anyone with an internet and technology problem from attending the group?
  12. Does our group do anything that is not in line with ITAA principles or that affects other groups or ITAA as a whole?
  13. Does anything we do affiliate or bind our group, actually or by implication, to any related facility or outside enterprise?
  14. Is there a governing individual or exclusive group authority that dictates decisions?
  15. Does our group do anything that publicly states an opinion or takes sides on any issues or controversy outside of ITAA?
  16. Do we encourage and support unity within our group?
  17. Do we refrain from talking about members behind their backs? Do we walk away if others begin to gossip? 
  18. Do we trust the group process, including group conscience, sharing, decisions, voting, elections, etc.?
  19. Are we tolerant of a newcomer’s inexperience at sharing? 
  20. Are we aware of the importance of rotation of service? Are we able to end our terms of service and rotate gracefully? 
  21. At the group level, do we refrain from expressing our opinions on outside issues? 
  22. Do we respect the anonymity of an addict who shares in confidence with us?
  23. Are we willing to explain to a newcomer the limitations of the help ITAA can offer?
  24. Do we help our group in every way possible to fulfill its primary purpose?

20. The Twelve Traditions

While the Twelve Steps help us find personal sobriety and freedom, the Twelve Traditions help ensure that our groups operate effectively and in harmony. The Traditions are the backbone of our meetings, and understanding them can give us greater clarity as we do service at the group level. They can also hold powerful lessons for our own recovery and how we relate to others, both within and outside of the fellowship.

Tradição 1: nosso bem-estar comum deve vir em primeiro lugar; a recuperação individual depende da coesão do DITA.
Practicing the First Tradition means that in all our actions, we place the welfare of the group first. Our recovery depends on our ability to participate in the ITAA program, and we need our group and our wider fellowship to prioritize unity if we are to find freedom. We avoid topics that unnecessarily lead to dissension or controversy, and focus not on what divides us but on what we have in common: that we are all powerless over compulsive internet and technology use and that we have found a common solution in the ITAA program. During disagreements, we can state our view clearly and then fully accept the group decisions, including the ones we might disagree with. We bring a spirit of understanding, love, and peace to all our interactions with other members.
“What’s best for the group is what’s best for me.”

Tradição 2: Para o propósito de nosso grupo, há apenas uma autoridade final - um Poder Superior amoroso que pode ser expresso por meio de nossa consciência de grupo. Nossos líderes são apenas servidores de confiança; eles não governam.
Tradition Two advises that no member be placed in a position of governance over another. Instead, all leadership decisions are answerable to the group conscience—a collective discussion and the vote of a substantial majority of members. We bring issues of concern and uncertainty to the group and a Higher Power, rather than trying to solve them all on our own. When we surrender control and entrust the group’s welfare to the care of a Power greater than ourselves, we are often astonished by the effective solutions and wisdom that emerge. As leaders, we remember always that we are servants—we are not the captain of the ship, but the rudder and the sails.
“Group conscience guides, our leaders abide.”

Tradição 3: o único requisito para a adesão ao DITA é o desejo de parar o uso compulsivo de internet e tecnologia.
The Third Tradition preserves the unconditional right of anyone with a desire to stop using internet and technology compulsively to participate in our meetings and pursue their recovery. We do not discriminate on the basis of sex, age, gender identity, race, creed, religion, sexual orientation, body composition, disability, neurodiversity, financial status, sobriety, or any other trait. We have no dues, fees, or registration forms. The only person who can determine whether they have a desire to stop using internet and technology compulsively is the addict themselves. As such, everything in our program is only a suggestion. The Third Tradition also makes clear that any two or more addicts gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an ITAA group, provided that as a group they follow these traditions. In practicing the Third Tradition, we also welcome anyone who is questioning whether they may have a problem, even if they do not identify with the label of “addict”. We cherish the diversity and freedom that the Third Tradition encourages.
“You’re a member if you say you are.”

Tradição 4: cada grupo DITA deve ser autônomo, exceto em assuntos que afetem outros grupos ou o DITA como um todo.
While our Third Tradition allows for a broad range of freedom at the individual level, the Fourth Tradition extends this freedom to the group level. Within the bounds of practicing these Traditions, every group may freely determine their own format, service structure, topic, and culture. This diversity strengthens our fellowship as a whole, and it allows us to “create the fellowship we crave”. If our group is contemplating a decision that would have any effect on other groups or ITAA as a whole, we consult with them appropriately to make sure we are coordinated and not negatively impacting other members’ recoveries. Even decisions taken within the meeting, such as choosing to disregard these Traditions, changing the Steps, promoting outside organizations, or charging money, can still negatively impact other groups and the fellowship by confusing newcomers about what they can expect to find at an ITAA meeting.
“Each meeting may do as it likes, so long as one group’s freedom doesn’t become another group’s plight.”

Tradição 5: cada grupo tem apenas um objetivo principal – transmitir sua mensagem ao usuário compulsivo de internet e tecnologia que ainda sofre.
This Tradition gives us a clear focus which is universally applicable to all ITAA groups. In this way, the Fifth Tradition steers us away from conflict by giving us a simple measure by which we can evaluate all possible group decisions: will it increase our ability to help other internet and technology addicts? In practicing this Tradition, our groups avoid dedicating their service resources to the many other worthy causes that exist in the world. Instead, we strengthen our group unity by maintaining a single point of focus: helping all those struggling with compulsive internet and technology use.
“Nothing matters more than offering hope and opening the door.”

Tradição 6: um grupo DITA nunca deve endossar, financiar ou emprestar o nome do DITA a qualquer organização ou empresa externa, para que problemas de dinheiro, propriedade e prestígio não nos desviem de nosso objetivo principal.
The Sixth Tradition, like the Fifth, helps us stay focused and clear of controversy. We don’t endorse any outside organization, political cause, religious movement, or Twelve Step program, and we also don’t associate or enmesh our fellowship with any clinical or therapeutic organization or facility. When this tradition advises us not to “lend the ITAA name,” it means that we don’t offer outside organizations the right to label themselves as “ITAA approved.” While an ITAA group may cooperate with anyone, such cooperation ought never go so far as affiliation or endorsement, actual or implied.
“Mashups are messy”

Tradição 7: todo grupo DITA deve ser totalmente autossustentável, recusando contribuições externas.
The Seventh Tradition means that we cover the costs of our group through our own contributions—we don’t accept donations from non-members. This helps avoid becoming beholden to outside donors so that we can maintain the autonomy of our meeting. Being self-supporting applies not only to our financial commitments, but to our service work as well, and we take responsibility for making sure our meetings are running smoothly. To the greatest extent possible, we seek not to rely unduly on any one single member to bear the brunt of the group’s financial or service responsibilities. Rather, these responsibilities should be distributed amongst the members of the group—though we never require dues or fees for participation. Additionally, our treasury should not hold funds beyond a prudent reserve, usually up to twelve months of operating costs. Anything beyond this can be donated to the fellowship or put to some other use in helping internet and technology addicts. The Seventh Tradition helps us practice responsibility and accountability, and in the process we develop a greater sense of agency in our lives.
“Being responsible makes recovery possible.”

Tradição 8: o DITA deve permanecer para sempre não-profissional, mas nossos centros de serviço podem empregar trabalhadores especiais.
The Eighth Tradition advises us to avoid professionalism: when sharing our experience with other members of ITAA, we do so as fellow addicts—never as professionals. This applies even to those of us who are in fact doctors, therapists, or addiction counselors in our professional lives. In recovery, we leave our professional hats at the door and enter the meeting as an equal amongst equals. Importantly, we also never charge for Twelfth step work, meaning that we don’t require or request a fee in exchange for helping another addict in their recovery. While we keep our Twelfth Step work nonprofessional and do as much of our other service work as possible on a volunteer basis, at a certain scale it is reasonable and appropriate to hire employees to support our administrative service needs. For example, we may hire a communications manager to help respond to incoming emails or a lawyer to advise on legal questions. In these situations, we pay fair and reasonable wages to any employees. Generally, hiring employees is only ever necessary at the intergroup or fellowship-wide level, but ultimately the decision of whether to hire someone is always a matter of the group conscience.
“Freely we give back what we have freely received.”

Tradição 9: o programa DITA, como tal, nunca deve ser organizado, mas podemos criar conselhos ou comitês de serviço diretamente responsáveis por aqueles a quem servem.
The Ninth Tradition means that neither our fellowship nor our groups should ever be organized on the basis of hierarchy. No member, group, or service body of ITAA can stand in a position of governance over any other member or group. At most, we can issue requests or suggestions to groups if we feel they are taking actions which negatively impact other groups or the fellowship as a whole. We have no means to enforce these suggestions. When we create a service body, it does not stand above the groups as an authority—instead it is responsible to those it serves. Additionally, in following the Ninth Tradition we practice the principle of rotation in our service commitments—we do not remain in the same service positions year after year, and we avoid concentrating too much power in any one individual. It’s important to note that this Tradition asks us to refrain from hierarchical organization—not from organization of any kind. It is certainly reasonable and encouraged to be well-organized in how our meetings and fellowship operate.
“A community of equals.”

Tradição 10: o DITA não tem opinião sobre questões externas, portanto, o nome DITA nunca deve ser levado à polêmica pública.
In practicing the Tenth Tradition, we take no positions on issues outside of the ITAA program. We neither endorse nor condemn any particular technology, political agenda, religious movement, or outside interests. As a fellowship and at the group level, we also refrain from promoting any authors, books, therapies, or treatments for internet and technology addiction outside of the ITAA program. As with Traditions Five and Six, the Tenth Tradition keeps our meetings focused, neutral, and unified. We need our meetings to be safe places free of the turmoil and controversy in the outer world so that we can all show up with honesty and vulnerability.
“We keep the focus on recovery.”

Tradição 11: nossa política de relações públicas é baseada na atração e não na promoção; precisamos sempre manter o anonimato pessoal ao nível de imprensa, rádio, filmes, televisão e outras mídias públicas de comunicação.
In practicing our Eleventh Tradition, we focus on providing information to internet addicts who may be unaware of our fellowship—we do not try to sell the program to people who are uninterested or win over converts—and we maintain personal anonymity. This means that we don’t share our last names or our images with the general public. We speak from personal experience, and none of us speak for ITAA as a whole. If a journalist or researcher reaches out to our group for an interview, we consider whether we are being given adequate time to prepare, whether we’re satisfied that our anonymity is guaranteed, whether our presence will help ITAA reach suffering internet and technology addicts, and whether the primary discussion is appropriate for ITAA and not concerned with crime, politics, controversy, or any other sensationalism. We also ensure that the interview request is coming from a reputable institution and interviewer who will carry our message sincerely and in good faith, and who will maintain the interviewee’s anonymity and safety—we especially benefit from reaching out to ITAA’s Public Relations committee for support and guidance in this process. While advertising and posting flyers with information about ITAA is not in conflict with the Eleventh Tradition, we do avoid sensationalism, celebrity endorsements, before and afters, proselytizing, or breaking public anonymity. In this way, we practice the principle of attraction rather than promotion.
“Information, not reformation.”

Tradição 12: o anonimato é o fundamento espiritual de todas essas tradições, sempre nos lembrando de colocar os princípios éticos acima de personalidades.
Anonymity helps newcomers feel safe when joining our meetings. Anonymity means that we don’t reveal the identity of other members to people outside of our fellowship, and we keep confidential anything they’ve shared in a meeting or in conversation. On a deeper level, the Twelfth Tradition helps us place humility at the center of all our service work. It ensures that as leaders we always remain on even spiritual footing with those we serve and allows us to practice a spiritual surrender of our attachments to ego, status, and recognition. In recovery, the lesson we learn is that we are loved unconditionally—no achievement or status was ever needed. The principle of anonymity also helps us to let go of our judgments of others, making sure always to place principles before personalities. In ITAA we strive to evaluate group decisions on the strength of the idea, not the status or popularity of the person who suggested it.
“Nobody’s a somebody here.”

When starting and leading meetings, we carry the Traditions with us as a foundation which keeps us grounded in stability, unity, and sanity. When we begin to put them into practice, we discover the depths of wisdom that have underpinned their development and which have allowed so many hundreds of thousands of recovery meetings around the world to grow up, flourish, and save countless lives. Now we too can embark on the same journey, finding the path to our own freedom as we help others.

Appendix A: Additional resources

Sample online meeting script
Sample in-person meeting script
Os Doze Passos e as Doze Tradições
Panfleto de boas-vindas da ITAA 
Segurança no DITA
Um Guia para a manutenção das Consciências do Grupo no ITAA
A Guide to the Group Service Representative role
The A.A. Group… where it all begins

Appendix B: Special focus meetings and our Twelve Traditions

Over the course of various ISMs and community forums in 2022 and 2023, our fellowship passed four motions related to our meetings and how we put into practice our Twelve Traditions:

Motion 1: Our Primary Purpose
That every ITAA meeting’s primary focus and purpose is to help internet and technology addicts find support for compulsive internet and technology use, and that all meetings (including special topic meetings) frame their description and script such that anyone with a desire to stop using internet and technology compulsively can find support for their internet and technology addiction.

Motion 2: Inclusive and Safe Meetings
That meetings for specific populations (such as men, women, LGBTQIA+, BIPOC, etc.) endeavor to welcome any member in need when possible, including those who don’t identify with the group focus. However, for safety reasons, specific population groups may choose to remain closed to non-identifying members according to their own group conscience.

Motion 3: Nonprofessionalism
That special topic meetings (such as anxiety, ADHD, etc.) make clear that ITAA does not offer a solution for any mental health conditions or addictions other than internet and technology addiction.

Motion 4: Non-Affiliation
That meetings do not affiliate with or promote other Twelve-Step fellowships or outside organizations, though groups may draw on outside literature for the purpose of recovering from internet and technology addiction at the discretion of their group conscience. Affiliation means forming or suggesting an official association with the outside organization; promotion means encouraging members to participate in or make use of the outside organization. This motion refers only to the meeting itself and its title, description, and script; individual members are free to identify themselves as members of other programs and share about the benefits they have received from outside resources, including other Twelve-Step fellowships.

The purpose of these motions is to help promote unity across our fellowship, and to make clear (especially to newcomers) that any ITAA meeting is one where we can go to recover from the problem of internet and technology addiction. Any so-called “enforcement” of these principles will happen at the individual meeting level via group consciences, with the ISM possibly making gentle suggestions or requests if they feel it’s prudent. These motions do not empower the ISM to remove any meetings from the calendar—the groups govern themselves. 

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