12 Step

12 Step Meetings

One of the tools that many alcoholics and addicts use to try and achieve sobriety is attendance at 12 step meetings.  These seem to have some wild variables as to their workability in achieving the goal of lasting sobriety. One of the reasons for these variables seems to be misunderstandings regarding the 12 steps themselves.  Quite often the newcomer is given someone else’s understanding of the 12 steps rather than gaining their own understanding and application.  Granted, at the beginning, the alcoholic and addict are often in such a state of confusion that direct orders will often be the only thing that gets through to them.  Unfortunately from what I have observed, 12 step meetings become listening to other’s take on the 12 steps rather than moving the newcomer along in the direction of finding workable solutions for themselves.

Another point of confusion that can occur in 12 step meetings is the fact that there are so many different formats for these meetings. Some meeting the newcomer is encouraged to share and talk about their concerns, in others they are only invited to listen.  Some 12 step meetings turn the other cheek at using substitute drugs to handle alcoholism or addiction, while others take the viewpoint of clean and sober means clean and sober.  The variations are almost endless.  This is not to advocate one format over another, but to simply make the point that so many formats can’t help but confuse the new person trying to get started on the road to sobriety.

12 step meetings do offer the person newly in recovery the chance to meet like minded individuals who for the most part have a genuine interest in helping and being of assistance to their fellow alcoholics or addicts.  Many friendships can be created and options for activities to engage in found.  It goes without saying that loneliness and boredom are definitely to be avoided.  I guess that would apply to anyone, but especially the newly sober alcoholic or addict.

It is important to separate the 12 steps themselves from 12 step meetings, and some of the personalities found there.  12 step meetings offer a chance to socialize, learn more about how others have use the 12 steps, and gain insight.  I would however talk opinions and advice with a grain of salt, as one usually hears it all in the process of attending 12 step meetings.  Opinions and advice are fine, but do not replace and full understanding and personal application of the 12 steps themselves.

12 step meetings can offer a valuable tool in recovery, but there are others as well.  As the old Zen saying goes “The truth is one, but the paths to it are many”.