Finding or starting support groups / New licensing policy

Be sure to read the original free ebook (listed above on the menu) which can really help your social anxiety problems.

Finding or starting support groups / New licensing policy

You can either find or start your own support group. Keep in mind that old groups often die out, but you can actually start your own group in minutes.

Finding any publicly posted Social Phobic’s Anonymous support group has been relatively easy on the Internet. The best way is to just search the Internet (keep in mind that it’s a very small organization). For example a number of groups (not all still active) 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).

Within minutes, using Facebook groups, or Myspace or, a new support group can be listed and promoted. Posts for these go back many years.

This is not a new policy or idea, it has been in practice for a very long time. The idea of the old 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:

G) When conflicts arise, avoid demonizing and witch-hunting other group members at all costs. Instead use the work-arounds suggested. Remember the best approach is to simply keep your focus on recovery; it’s tools and it’s healing path.

Please be aware, but don’t become fixated on the fact, that the Internet, which is how people find Social Anxiety Anonymous, has negative individuals and groups who may try to bring negative agendas into support groups. Remaining mindful of this can avoid problems. If such problems increase and persist in your groups, beyond a reasonable effort to correct them, relocating and starting new support groups is usually the best solution.

Hard experience has shown that no matter how justified, standing your ground against determined efforts from such elements is not worth your peace of mind or energy. Full time bullies, if they have sway over followers (both witting and unwitting), are simply more committed than you will ever be to undermining vulnerable (especially) online-related social anxiety support groups. Sympathetic crusaders can also sometimes not have the whole story.

Support groups, by their very nature, are not very good places to sort any of this out. People are working on their personal recovery and there is no system in place within support groups that can reliably resolve such issues. There is no guarantee that you will be heard or understood in such a setting when most of the people there are not focused on sorting out such conflicts, but instead are seeking help with their own problems. Most people will just go along with the prevailing sentiments, whatever they may be.

This is why starting new support groups can be such a good option when intractable problems arise. Start out by being patient, persist to a reasonable degree and try to fix things, but failing that, simply gathering up a few friends (or striking out completely on your own) and starting a new support group elsewhere is very often the best way. The world will gain new support groups this way, which is a good thing regardless.

Don’t be too attached to any support group, instead attach yourself to the program of recovery itself and also trusted fellow travelers (especially those who care more about personal recovery than conflict with others). If, from your perspective, persistent problems arise, it is usually best to just move on and start a new and better support group elsewhere.

You have every right to start private support groups if necessary, either Internet related or local. Don’t let anyone persuade you otherwise.

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 and express 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). Local face-to-face support groups should keep a copy on hand, placed where it

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.

All donations should be private, should only be used to further the establishment of new support groups and the development of literature and should be kept as private as humanly possible (no one should gain any influence in a support group by making a donation of any size).

Again, no one ever has to donate to the groups and this should always be stated during collections. The most common donations are very small (a couple of dollars a week).

Paypal can be set up for online groups and if so, two treasurers should always be appointed for accountability purposes.

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.

9) This license should be copied onto the website, Facebook page, or any other online platform or a single copy should be made available to be read in any local face-to-face support group.


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.


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.