Getting Acquainted With 12 Step Meetings
If you are new to recovery or even have been around the block a few times, you may have questions about the twelve steps and how to fit meetings into your recovery best. After all, sitting in a room and sharing your innermost feelings can be pretty intimidating. If you’re introverted or shy, you may worry that you won’t be able to get as much out of meetings. However, people from all walks of life, backgrounds, and personality types have gotten clean and sober using the twelves steps. So how can you get the most out of 12-step meetings, no matter what?
Start By Listening at 12-Step Meetings
All meetings are based on the 12 Steps, which are read to the group at the beginning of each meeting. Most 12-step meetings will have “old-timers” who share their experiences every week. “Shut up and listen” may be one of the catchphrases you hear them say. You may think this is rude – but it’s a saying for a reason. It’s not just about respecting the group dynamics, although that is undoubtedly an essential lesson for newcomers.
Listening is an integral part of recovery, especially because you’re learning how to stay sober by following the suggestions of people who have been there before. After all, you’re trying to stay sober a day at a time, and you’ll learn how to do this by listening to people who have been sober for more months or years than you.
Getting Used to 12 Step Meeting Formats
Some groups will have a speaker, while others will focus on readings from books like the Alcoholics Anonymous Big Book (also sometimes referred to as the “Bible of AA.” In many cases, newcomers (or newly sober people) are encouraged to listen only, at least for their first few weeks sober so that they can hear from people with more experience in recovery.
Some meetings are distinguished as “newcomer meetings” and are often more open to having newly sober people share. You may talk about the first three steps or general topics such as being open-minded or willing.
If you have questions about the meeting format, try to observe others when you first attend. It’s okay to raise your hand and share or ask a question of the group. Just make sure to be respectful and genuinely listen when others speak. You can gain a lot just by listening. Many people who relapse humble themselves and spend time listening when they’ve returned to their recovery program.
After the Meeting
People usually congregate and socialize after 12-step meetings. This is also an excellent time to get names or phone numbers from people, especially if you need a sponsor. There is also a lot of good, free literature available to pick up if you need help with particular issues.
12-step meetings are both self-help groups and a community. If you’re struggling with something, make sure to talk to the group or with individuals after the meeting.
Considering Sober Living?
Many people in recovery find that they are inspired to do more when surrounded by like-minded people. Getting back to basics, building community, and learning more about yourself in a structured environment are all parts of sober living. Are you interested in learning more? Give us a call at 760-216-2077 to learn more about your options.