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Save Our Selves
Part of the World Wide SOS Family

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Chartered or Shackled

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Chartered or Shackled?
TOPICAL QUESTIONS SERIES

     

Q : Oh my God! Do we need a “Charter” 
to start a SOS group?

A : NO ! You don’t need a “Charter” to get sober. And you don’t need a “Charter” to start a group or be part of the SOS family. If anyone tells you otherwise, they have another agenda. Our advice is never sign a charter !

In SOS there are 
No charters,
No formalities,
No bureaucracy,
No red tape,
No legalistic hassles or worries

Q: What is a “Charter” anyhow?
A : Originally, a charter was a statement of supposed privileges and rights granted by the Pope or feudal kings upon their vassals. For example, King John of England issued a Charter to the Catholic Church, became a vassal of the Pope and surrendered England to him. Later English monarchs issued charters to English settlers to rule the United States. 
 A “Charter” is often a means of control wielded by the higher power or authority. Today, some organizations have charters or issue charters for protective and legal reasons. A Charter can be used to sue people or groups and to threaten and control them.  

Q: Why are people tricked to sign a "Charter"?
A : Many people sign a Charter because they are promised great benefits, and because they are afraid they will loose out by not signing.  Some people worry that they will be unable to continue using the facilities, service marks, logos or materials of the Charter organization, if they don't sign. This is of course already giving in to coercion and the first step to renouncing one's independence. 
This sort of subtle coercion has nothing to do with the traditions of SOS or the self-help movement generally. Recovering people have enough pressures without having to deal with big brothers and potential legal threats.
Lets be clear - Your group doesn't have to sign anything in order to be a bona fide secular self-help, group in SOS and you don't need a charter to use the SOS name, materials or be part of our organization. Its like sobriety - stand on your own two feet!

What could be the repercussions of signing a Charter?
Maybe nothing immediately. However, your group will always have to make sure that it is following the organization's rules by the book and you may be subject to spot checks by inspectors. At the very least, your group may  live with the knowledge, that if follows a different approach to the organization's governing body, then you could have privileges or rights withdrawn, your membership revoked, or you could be taken to court. A Charter is basically designed to keep you in line. You may want to ask yourselves if such a regime is really a free thought forum and a healthy atmosphere for recovery .
Take legal advice before you sign anything! Ask to see the constitution of the organization, show it to a lawyer and ask what the implications could be. 

 

 

Q: Surely, a “Charter” would never be used for legal reasons in the self-help movement?
A: Then why have one?

Q :  Can our group have a “Charter” from another organization and still be part of the SOS Family?
A : No. SOS would need to consider that, once you have signed a charter, you and your group could be legally bound to that other organization. Your group might now be in potentially difficult legal areas, which SOS would not wish to be involved in. You are now that organization’s “vassals”, so to speak, and no longer part of the free community of independent self-help groups, which make up the SOS Family.

Q: What does SOS offer instead?
A : We don't offer a Charter. Setting up a group is an
"Act of Independence". It is about taking control of your own lives, running things the way you want. Its a statement of independence from addiction and from the control of higher powers. 
Furthermore, we want groups to get started as quickly as possible, with freedom from red tape, bureaucracy, constitutional quagmires and legalistic straightjackets.
Our Priority is Sobriety!

Q : So how do I start a SOS group?
A: Well, clearly, you don’t have to wait until we confer a “Charter” on you, design a Coat of Arms or grant you Papal dispensation. So long as your group is based on sobriety, self-help and secularity, you can go straight ahead and join the SOS family of recovery groups, use the SOS name and publications, or use another name, publish other stuff and still be recognized by us. Why? Because trust and honesty are key to healthy recovery. We trust you and your group and believe you are honest in your sobriety. SOS treats its members and groups like adults, who have the common purpose of creating sober, self-empowered individuals and groups. SOS groups are all self-reliant, independent and “self-chartered”.

WARNING  : By signing a Charter you could be loosing your freedom of expression and democratic and organizational independence. You could even be putting your group at risk from future legal action.

SOS has no charter, we're all self-chartered!
Charters don’t keep you sober !
SOS keeps the sobriety path simple, 
and its organization also!

"As with the sobriety priority, healthy skepticism and rational thinking never go on automatic pilot........steer clear of quick-fix artists...An aware skeptic is less apt to be duped or enslaved"
Jim Christopher (SOS Founder)
from "Recovery without Religion"

How to start you own totally 
independent SOS group
Click below

 

 
webmaster
Duaine Metevia

Save Our Selves (SOS)
4773 Hollywood Blvd
Hollywood, CA 90027
Phone# 323-666-4295
SOS@CFIWest.org

Find a Meeting
If you want to become a part of SOS let James Christopher know you're out there.  If there is no meeting listed in your area, it could mean that there are people in your area who are waiting for more people to come forward and start a meeting.  The way meetings start are people contacting the clearing house and leaving their contact info.  Some cities only have phone contacts, people who will talk to you or meet with you for coffee so please leave your contact info; don't miss out.

Disclaimer
IF YOU HAVE PROBLEMS, YOU SHOULD SEEK MEDICAL ADVICE & GUIDANCE. FROM A DOCTOR !
THE IDEAS & INFORMATION HERE ARE NOT MEDICAL ADVICE. 
The content of this web site is for your information only concerning the ideas and methods of self help groups. 
We do not accept any responsibility for their accuracy or use.
You agree to hold harmless the SOS organizations and webmaster from any and all 
liability arising directly or indirectly from your use of information contained in this web site. 
The use of any information is entirely the responsibility of the reader.
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