Getting Your Life Back? Don’t Skip Meetings, Please!
It can all seem a little strange at first for those of us who are new to the rooms of recovery. However, most of us are so destroyed by alcoholism and addiction when we get here that we don’t care if it’s weird — we just don’t want to die. Many of us recognize that we’d rather live in recovery than die in our disease, so we start to do the things people in recovery do, at least a little.
Of course, we usually don’t mind the “fellowshipping.” It’s not hard to hang out with other people who are a lot like us, at least in terms of our common disease and common solution. Fellowshipping isn’t too bad. We can deal with it. Then we find out there’s more. Do we need to go to meetings? Sit around and talk about our lives and feelings? Listen to other people? Share honestly? That’s asking a lot, isn’t it? We’ll go to meetings, but we’re going to sit in the back. After we do that for a bit, we find out there’s even more.
But then we remember that we were going to die. Hopefully, by now, we want to live enough to start working the 12-Steps with a sponsor. We don’t really understand it, but we do it, and along the way, some things start to change. We are staying sober and starting to feel better. Maybe this recovery stuff works, but then we have a bad day. Our recovery community tells us we need to be of service, help somebody, and our problems will turn around. So, we find ways to be of service to other alcoholics and addicts, and eventually, we start being of service to others in general. We’re doing the deal, and we’re working the 12-Step program in all aspects. We are in recovery, and it’s really working for us!
Sounds like a great story, right? It’s not an uncommon one around here. This is the experience that many with addiction have when they come to a 12-Step program. It’s a simplified version, but it’s not inaccurate. It’s an experience that any person struggling with addiction can have in a 12-Step program if they are honest, open-minded, and willing.
The Fork in the Road
Recovery is for everyone. But what usually happens after the first few months in recovery is we come to a fork in the road. In fact, recovery has helped make our lives so complete and helped us so much that life gets busy again. The fork in the road is our chance to make a choice: stay the course in our recovery or let life make us too busy to work the 12-Step program.
It’s a pretty vicious irony and a serious sign to take heed. Since recovery really works, sometimes we get so much of our life back that we let it take us right away from recovery. But we don’t have to let it. We can pay attention to this gentle warning, and we can do some other things to help ourselves out down the road when life gets busy.
Don’t Miss Meetings
Meetings aren’t everyone’s favorite part of the 12-Step program, but they don’t get as much credit as they deserve. See, it can be really easy not to pick up the phone for a few days. We get busy, our sponsor and friends get busy, and nobody’s calling. We don’t have to tell anybody how we feel or what we’re up to, and we don’t have to help anybody. Great, right? Absolutely not! This is a very dangerous place for alcoholics and addicts to be. No honesty, no fellowship, no accountability, no humility, and no service. Too much of that and pretty soon, no recovery either.
This is where regular meetings that we truly commit to attending can be life-saving. It’s not like blowing off coffee with a friend or promising that you’ll call your sponsor next month to do 12-Step work. Regular meetings are commitments at the same time and place every week, or maybe even every day. We get to know people, and they get to know us.
It is this familiarity and regularity that can help us so much. If we miss a regular meeting twice in a row, we’re going to get some concerned phone calls. If we show up and we’re dishonest or self-deceiving, the people who know us will help us see that. They won’t let us suffer alone or blindly. They’ll do what we do in recovery — one alcoholic helping another, and we all get to live.
Perhaps even more importantly, we’ll be in the same position to help. When a regular doesn’t show twice in a row, we’re the ones calling and checking up on them. We’re ready, able, and happy to be of service to the people in our regular meetings. If we aren’t there, we aren’t helping anybody, and helping others just might save our own lives.
All Sides of the Triangle
There are three sides of the recovery triangle: Unity, Service, Recovery. We’re not sure which one keeps us in recovery, so we have to work all of them to be safe. We need to work the 12-Steps with a sponsor and take someone else through them to get the most out of our recovery. We need to be of service to anyone and everyone we can to get the most out of our lives.
We also need to fellowship, open our lives to others, and attend meetings where we do our part to become a part of. This may seem like a minor detail or the lowest item on the list, but please, for everybody you might be able to help, don’t skip meetings.
Alcoholism and addiction is a disease of chaos and isolation. We who suffer from this disease may know little of companionship or regularity. Part of it is our own shame and guilt about what we’ve become in our disease. We’d rather be outside of everything than hurt anyone else anymore. For some of us, we simply cannot stop wreaking havoc, no matter what our intentions are deep down inside. There is a solution, a program of spiritual action that — when taken with honesty, open-mindedness, and willingness — can produce within us the necessary psychic change and vital spiritual experience to find recovery from alcoholism and addiction and freedom from our guilt and shame. This process teaches us how to become a part of the world again and how to help it become a better place for others like us. There is no experience more wonderful for alcoholics and addicts to have than this journey of recovery. If you are ready and willing to join us, call Jaywalker Lodge now at (866) 529-9255.