12 Step Meetings Help Around the Holidays

Regardless of what holiday you celebrate, this time of year can be extremely stressful for individuals recovering from drug or alcohol addiction.

12 Step Meetings Help Around the Holidays

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17
Dec

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What is a 12 Step Meeting?

12-step meetings are typically self-supported gatherings held in churches or buildings rented and hosted by their members. Therefore, 12-step meetings can occur in treatment centers, detox centers, hospitals, jails, or private spaces. The group members run the meetings and typically last about an hour. Members usually attend the exact meeting location and times, so they bond with other members. Through sharing their stories, goals, and struggles, they release the stress of their burden and establish a support system critical for their recovery.

Types of 12-Step Programs

The most unanimously known programs are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).

What is Narcotics Anonymous (NA)?

NA began in 1953 and adopted the almost identical general practice and 12 step principles of Alcoholics Anonymous. To find the best meeting for yourself, ask yourself if you strictly struggle with alcohol or if you are an individual who struggles with both drugs and alcohol. Alcoholics are encouraged to attend AA meetings in person, but there are many virtual meetings that can be attended online. There are also meetings for family members, friends and loved ones of alcoholics and those suffering from drug addiction. These meetings are important in recovery because they offer support for the family and loved ones of alcoholics. Loved ones are encouraged to attend Al-Anon sessions for support and information about their situation. There are also Alateen meetings for younger family members of alcoholics. These meetings help youth learn how to deal with their situation.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is probably familiar to you or an acquaintance who has had a problem with substance abuse like alcohol or drugs. Alcoholics Anonymous began in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, and was founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith. Since then, AA has amassed over 2 million members worldwide and consists of several types of 12 step meetings. Other groups have been created using similar principles and programs to help alcoholics and addicts and those who love and support them. Alcoholics Anonymous is a nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, and apolitical group available pretty much anywhere. There are no age restrictions or education prerequisites. If you have a drinking problem and want to do something about it, AA is the place for you.

When AA was established, alcoholism was mainly viewed as defects of character and not a disease. It was referred to as an individual problem and an isolated issue. It was initially believed to be medically untreatable and end in fatality. During that time, many alcoholics were sent to asylums or imprisoned, there was a minimal amount of treatment facilities, and the cost was too expensive for the average individual. Extreme measures were taken to remove all of these defects from an individual.

Almost 20 years later, in 1953, Bill Wilson published a book known as the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions of AA. Alcoholics everywhere adopted this book as their foundation to approach alcoholism. AA promoted gathering as a community to provide a support system for peers. Bill Wilson and Dr.Robert Smith had success in the early 1930s, which caused them to want to share the gift of sobriety and recovery with other alcoholics to help them practice these principles to cope with their alcoholism and avoid relapse.

First Portion of the Meeting

Almost all 12 step meetings follow the same schedule. At the beginning of each meeting, members, visitors, and first-time attendees welcome each other to the meeting free of judgment and understanding that they are all in the same boat. Together, the literature of the 12 Traditions and 12 Steps are read, they join in, say the serenity prayer, and go over any upcoming announcements. Usually, members and attendees go around the room, introduce themselves by their first name, and state their addiction. You only have to participate in the introduction if you want to. Anything said or heard at a meeting is not repeated outside of a meeting. It is meant to be an anonymous and safe space for individuals in recovery to share and heal. The person leading the discussion will often ask people to show by raising their hands if they are willing to sponsor. This helps those new to the meeting find who to speak with when the meeting adjourns. Sometimes a list will get passed around the room, and members can write their name and phone number down if they are willing to share it with other aa members. The lists are not shared with anyone outside of the group and are meant to be used only as an additional layer of support outside of meeting times. The individuals willing to support a new member have usually benefited from the help of someone else during their recovery journey. Sometimes it might be difficult for new attendees to strike up a conversation with someone at their first meeting. Taking a few phone numbers with you might help you contact a veteran member outside of a meeting and make your next meeting a little easier.

During the Meeting

During the meeting, sobriety length of time is celebrated, members are asked to declare how long they have been sober. Length of sobriety time can be e from less than 30 days, 60 or 90 days to 1 year or several years of clean time. As people share their names and length of sober time, members will clap, cheer, or hug one another to show support. Coins or critical tags are often given to individuals celebrating to commemorate their achievement.

Following the sobriety time celebration, an appointed person shares their experience, strength, and hopes, along with what the Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous program has done for them. Someone may choose to read recovery literature and pick a topic for other people to share. As the meeting goes on, other members might share their own experiences or feelings. You are not obligated to share anything with the group. Some members attend regularly and choose only to listen and never share. Some have an awakening as the result of sharing.

End of the Meeting

Before the meeting adjourns, the following three things will occur:

1. A collection basket will be passed around for donations towards rent for meeting space, coffee/tea, group materials, and other miscellaneous fees. You are not required to donate.
2. They will ask if any attendees have a “burning desire” to share. If you do not share how you feel, you will place yourself in danger of breaking your sobriety or hurting yourself or someone else. It is a last-ditch effort to allow someone to get any feelings out that are too stressful to carry on their own.
3. The group will first bow their heads and observe a moment of silence for the addict or alcoholic suffering most and then join in saying the serenity prayer.

No exact data shows the number of lives these 12 step meeting and members have saved. Still, the fact that these meetings have lasted, expanded, and grown proves that they have been life-savers for many individuals and families struggling with substance abuse. Without the assistance of Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith through their faith, passion, and practices regarding addiction and recovery, the approach to addiction recovery would be very different.

Substance Use Addictions

Behavioral Type Addiction

Other 12 Step Meetings

Most addicts and alcoholics have more than one addiction. For example, you may consider yourself an alcoholic but take prescription pills or snort cocaine. It never hurts to check out an AA, CA, or PA meeting and see which one best aligns with your addiction. You may feel more comfortable in one of the groups that you wouldn’t consider as your primary addiction, but you’ll never know unless you try it out. Sometimes addicts give up one habit but swap it out for another. For example, you may have stopped using cocaine, but now you are drinking alcohol. Since COVID 19, access to 12 step meetings has increased due to virtual availability. While there are still many in-person meetings available, you might be able to attend more frequently with this online option, or it might be a comfortable place to start attending.

Multiple meetings are happening, 24 hours a day and seven days a week worldwide. Before traveling anywhere, it’s always a good idea to check out meeting times and locations to help you stay on track. You can set meeting reminders on your phone if your attendance method is through a Zoom link. Alcoholics and Addicts worldwide can be in the comfort of their own home and still be active participants in a meeting occurring in Rome, California, or Switzerland. All you need is access to a smartphone or computer, and you can attend a 12 step meeting anywhere in the world. Zoom link information for each 12 step meeting is listed on the individual group’s website. If you still don’t find one that fits your goals after trying out a few of the existing groups, you can always start a group of your own. No one is ever alone in the journey towards recovery, and others out there might be looking for the same type of group that you are.

Need help finding a 12 Step Meeting Near You?

With Avatar Residential Detox Center Aftercare Planning, suppose you or a loved one needs help finding the 12 step meeting. In that case, whether it is alcoholics anonymous, narcotics anonymous, Y12sr, or any other meeting, Avatar Residential Detox Center can help you find the right one in-person or remotely. Our aftercare planning center in NJ develops plans for each client based on future challenges in maintaining sobriety and related solutions. However, family members & loved ones play a huge role in executing proper aftercare planning and support systems. Avatar’s medical professionals and case managers develop the most suitable and personalized aftercare plans based on the client’s unique needs that essentially aid in combating substance abuse.

Please get in touch with us today at +1 (973)-774-7222, and we will assist you with anything you need. We are here to support your recovery 24 hours a day and seven days a week.

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