12 Step Meetings Can Be Powerful

AA, NA, CA, any 12 step program.  All 12 step meetings can be powerful

Ever since Day One of getting help for our problems, these two words have been hammered into our heads; Make 12 Step Meetings. We know that once we went to one, or two, or even a thousand, it became clear – there’s something powerful and almost magical that goes on – in the 12 step meetings and often outside the meetings. Sure, there’s very logical explanations for the great feelings that can come from people with similar problems meeting in a social situation to share their pain, experience, strength and hope. The “foxhole” humor alone is enough to make even the most cynical meeting maker smile…we are very funny people.
The list of benefits that comes from these group 12 step meetings is endless; we get to share tactics on how to fight our disease. We find our sponsors there, usually. People that will be our guiding light through the sometimes dark, rocky terrain that the recovery process and our new found sobriety encounter. We get to ventilate – to complain if we need to, to just talk about what’s going on with us or even, better yet, to share some of our minor (and major) successes with people who know how hard we fought to achieve them. We often get a feeling of gratitude because we always hear of other people’s problems which, more times than not, seem to be a lot worse than ours. We learn meeting after meeting that we are not unique – that we all have these ‘crazy’ heads, full of twisted thinking and warped perspectives and thank God we have a place to come to to remind us that we’re not insane! {Well, not totally insane, anyway. LOL}
Like we said, this list could go on forever. We find jobs there, soul mates, you name it – it’s there. But above and beyond all these very concrete advantages of going to 12 step meetings there is something very electric going on – something magical. Here’s proof; go to a convention or roundup (usually a 3 day weekend of addicts /alcoholics/gamblers, etc. meeting in a hotel for fun and fellowship) and make sure you stay awhile…especially for the ‘closing prayer’. Guaranteed you will get chills or goose bumps. But even at a regular, often attended meeting, we will feel an emotional lift or transformation that is hard to explain. This is for sure; we almost always feel better when leaving a meeting than we did when we first got there. We’re rejuvenated – it’s as if we went to some kind of ‘hot springs for the head’ – a mental spa!
Sometimes, however, we might go to 12 step meetings and not feel that jazzed up after we leave. We might even say to ourselves, “I’m not going back to that group – they’re all snobs. {or cliques, or too young or too old, or whatever}” We are people who are wired for instant gratification so it can be understandable (but extremely dangerous), if we feel like we “didn’t get anything” from a particular meeting. Dangerous because we don’t realize sometimes the subtle benefits we get even from meetings we don’t like. We have to remember that just hearing about not taking the first one, or seeing people coming fresh back from a relapse are enough “jazz” sometimes. Often the power of 12 step meetings can be seen when we take a look at what happens when WE DON’T make 12 step meetings. Almost every one of us will acknowledge the fact that when we miss 12 step meetings, we start to feel crazy. Why? Because our disease (dis-ease or uneasiness) is in our head. Between our ears. So even if we feel that we’re not in danger of “picking up”, that we can skip this meeting or that one, we forget the other power that 12 step meetings have – to help keep us sane. That is very powerful. Especially because once we kind of lose our perspective on things or unconsciously start to rearrange our priorities, we are heading for big trouble. We have all heard that a relapse starts way before we pick up the first one. For many of us who have relapsed, it was skipping 12 step meetings that was the first step in our downward spiral.
But the real, tangible power of 12 step meetings has got to be the feeling of “birds of a feather flocking together!” One alcoholic helping another. Two addicts talking about how they didn’t use! The founding fathers of AA sure hit the jackpot when they came up with this idea – and the way to do it – by having ‘scheduled’ 12 step meetings. Even the most antisocial member still feels a part of our various fellowships. We always try to make even the shyest person feel welcome. That is powerful. And it produces great feelings for both. There’s a whole lot more great examples of the power of 12 step meetings. How about this one; you’re at a meeting and somebody mentions your name and how much you helped them. Man, that feeling is priceless. Yes, it might be an ego stroke, or not good for our ‘humility’ – but what a powerful thing. That feeling at that meeting produced at that moment is what happens when we go to lots of 12 step meetings. We have to remember that if we don’t go to a lot of 12 step meetings, we might not get that, and so many other examples of the power of 12 step meetings.

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