Attendance does not guarantee abstinence.
It’s entirely possible to attend 12-Step meetings regularly, even religiously, and yet not stay sober. If mere attendance were the key, all who attended would stay sober. A person can attend out of court-ordered obligation, daydream, doze, await the fellowship afterward, and never take any action.
The key to a spiritual awakening is in taking the 12-Steps, not in attending a meeting.
Conversely, here are three simple reasons to attend, to contribute, to find a spiritual solution, experience a psychic change and make a difference. And in turn, find true serenity in sober.
Here are three reasons to attend today.
1. Attend to study the literature
Meetings are an ideal place to study the Big Book and other literature which not only helps one’s self, but educates in order to pass it along to others. There are innumerable forms that these “literature-based” meetings may take and are helpful not just for newcomers, but those who’ve achieved longer sobriety. “I always learn something new through the literature,” is a common refrain from those who attend.
There’s not only a responsibility to know the path for the reader, but it’s also incumbent of us to know how to lead others to the solution.
The objective is to not be the winner of Big Book Trivia games—we all know and appreciate those folks, right?!—but to be able to answer questions for newcomers and their families. A focused, solution-oriented, positive meeting of this nature is indispensable to thousands who first attend out of desperation, and continue through pure joy and learning
2. Attend to meet newcomers
In 2013 it was estimated that there were 114,000 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in 170 countries. A by-product is that those in search of a solution often attend a meeting as their first introduction, an immediate place for guidance. “Meetings” are a household word whose stigma is diminishing.
Those who’ve experienced a spiritual solution attend meetings to stand shoulder to shoulder with those seeking a way out. “Meeting greeters” are not just there to make people feel welcome, but to also discover who is new, who is need of a sponsor, who has relocated to the area, who is attending for a family member, even who needs immediate help.
Meetings are an excellent place for AAs to find people who are ready to get to work. It’s isn’t a sense of obligation that prompts their attendance, but a joyful sense of duty.
From page 19 of the Big Book: “How then shall we present that which has been so freely given us?” Meetings are a good place to start for those in search of newcomers who are the lifeblood of their very own sobriety.
3. Attend for the fellowship
It’s been said there are two parts of meetings. The program—study of the Big Book or other relevant literature. The fellowship—comprised of the people who attend. The two are separate, but the overlap is undeniable.
The fellowship is more than hot coffee and post-meeting meals, it’s carrying the message with like-minded members, it’s building a home group, it’s the celebration of sobriety anniversaries, it’s bonds that are greater than our common problem, but instead a common solution.
The importance of the fellowship was realized early in the formation of the 12 Steps and is expressed page after page in the Big Book. It’s stated succinctly on page 159: “Seeing much of each other, scarce an evening passed that someone’s home did not shelter a little gathering of men and women, happy in their release, and constantly thinking how they might present their discovery to some newcomer.”
Again, the newcomer was always at the forefront of the solution. But they also note at every turn, the fellowship is never a replacement for working the 12-Steps to achieve a spiritual awakening or experience.
Are you ready to start the journey to recovery? Call 561-841-1296.