Why do I recommend that those struggling with addictions attend meetings?

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Why do I recommend that those struggling with addictions attend meetings? 

I recommend that those struggling with addictions attend meetings because when they do, they have better success rates.  I see them becoming accountable to others who are honest with them AND at the same time they are loved in a very important way at a very crucial time.  Over time, these relationships have helped many people maintain sobriety and damaged lives are changed in miraculous ways.

There are meetings for all different kinds of people.  It is recommended to attend 90 and 90 (90 meeting in 90 days) so that you find the right meetings for you.  One of these should become your “Home Group” and you will get a sponsor there and work the steps (a program of recovery with him or her).  Men work with men and women work with women.

There may be a meeting where people are not serious about their recovery.  Do NOT attend these.  Some red flags may be: people planning using on breaks or saying they are there only to get their form signed for their PO.  Another red flag group may be one where people are there trying to pick up new member instead of working on their recovery.  This is called 13 stepping and a good group will call it out and stop it.  The groups that have successful recovery in them will not put up with nonsense.

Take a look at some of the tools used in these settings…


The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol-that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Make a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditations to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.                      

The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous – Short Form

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority-a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose-to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An AA group ought never endorse, finance or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. Alcoholics Anonymous as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Alcoholics Anonymous got its start at a meeting in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, between a businessman named Bill Wilson and a physician, Bob Smith. “Bill W” and “Dr. Bob,” as they are now known, were alcoholics. Wilson had attained sobriety largely through his affiliation with a Christian movement. Smith stopped drinking after he met Wilson, whose success inspired him. Determined to help other problem drinkers, the men soon published what has become known as “The Big Book,” which spelled out their philosophy, principles and methods, including the now famous 12-step method. Alcoholics Anonymous was the book’s official title and also became the name of the organization that grew from it.

In AA, members meet in groups to help one another achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol. The meetings, which are free and open to anyone serious about stopping drinking, may include reading from the Big Book, sharing stories, celebrating members’ sobriety, as well as, discussing the 12 steps and themes related to problem drinking. Participants are encouraged to “work” the 12-step program, fully integrating each step into their lives before proceeding to the next.  AA targets more than problem drinking; members are supposed to correct all defects of character and adopt a new way of life.

There are many off shoots of this group:  NA or Narcotics Anonymous, SA or Sexaholics Anonymous, MA or Marijuana Anonymous, CA or Cocaine Anonymous, GA or Gamblers Anonymous and many more.

There are many other supportive resources and literature that I would recommend to those desiring help to stop addictions.  For example:


HOW IT WORKS

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it—then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.

Remember that we deal with alcohol—cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power—that One is God. May you find Him now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

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

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

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

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

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

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

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

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

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

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

Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.’’ Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:

(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.

(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.

(c) That God could and would if He were sought.

Reprinted from the book Alcoholics Anonymous ® Copyright © 1939, 1955, 1976, 2001 by A.A. World Services, Inc


THE STORY OF THE LOTUS EATERS

About 3000 years ago, the poet Homer told a story about a man called Odysseus and his voyage home to Greece following the Trojan Wars. Odysseus and his men met up with many exciting adventures along the way, but the most relevant to us is the story of his landing on the Island of the Lotus Eaters.

The island was so beautiful that Odysseus wanted to stay there a while and rest up. So he sent a couple of scouts to see if the natives were friendly. Odysseus waited and waited, but the scouts never returned.

What had happened was this: the scouts had indeed met up with the locals, the Lotus Eaters, who turned out to be very friendly. The Lotus Eaters even shared their food with the scouts. But the food — the lotus — was a kind of dope, and the scouts got wasted from it and forgot all about Odysseus, their mission, getting back to Greece…everything. All they wanted to do was hang out, eat lotus, and get high.

Lucky for them, Odysseus came and dragged them kicking and screaming back to the ship. He tied them to their seats and ordered the crew to row like hell, in case anyone else might eat the lotus and forget the way home.

The story of Odysseus is about more than just a Greek guy in a boat. It’s about the journey people take through life and the obstacles they meet along the way. The story of the Lotus Eaters speaks particularly to us dopeheads. As addicts, we were stuck in a Lotus Land; we forgot our mission; we forgot the other adventures that awaited us; we forgot about going home.

Luckily, we each had within us our own Odysseus, our own Higher Power, which grabbed us by the collar and threw us back into the boat. So now we’re rowing like hell. We may not know what’s going to come next, but we’re back on our way through life again.

Adapted from the
July, 1991 issue of
A New Leaf

 

GO TO A MEETING!

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