By: Marilyn L. Davis
We’ll Meet at the Meeting that’s Right for Us
“There are multiple pathways to addiction recovery, and ALL are cause for celebration!” ~ William L. White
Mutual aid and recovery support meetings and groups have been around since 1944, continuing to grow in numbers, types, philosophies, and orientation. While there are multiple types of recovery support meetings available to people today, there are still essential components in all.
With group members ranging from a few days in recovery to decades, there will be people with similar feelings, thoughts, and issues. There will also be those people who have coped with the situations and will share their experiences.
“We’ve been there and come back. When you fall in the pit, people are supposed to help you up. But you have to get up on your own. We’ll take your arms, but you have to get your legs underneath you and stand.” ― Bucky Sinister
Is This the Right Meeting for Me?
Inherent in all self-help and mutual aid groups is the commonality of a problem, issue, or experience, combined with collective solutions, answers, and directions for healing.
In authentic therapeutic or mutually beneficial healing groups, members feel a sense of security in discussing what are the painful, embarrassing, or troubling aspects of themselves without fear of judgment. The emphasis is typically on shared experiences, either in active addiction or recovery.
These disclosures, combined with alternative actions, attitudes, and behaviors to promote recovery, can produce favorable outcomes for the members who are struggling with their recovery.
Regardless of the underlying principles, the inspiration behind, or basis for the meetings, there is a tremendous amount of positive peer support and validation in recovery support meetings. Click To Tweet
Famous and Not So Famous People’s Ideas about Meetings
The empathetic and compassionate nature of these groups can help an individual learn to process problems and find solutions that will help them meet and sustain long-term recovery. With the various types of recovery support meetings available, you no longer have to settle for one that does not meet your needs, philosophy, or orientation. Celebrities are coming forward as recovering people and talking about the opportunities for healing found in recovery support meetings.
“. . . these weekly meetings are a valuable opportunity for users to meet with fellow peers in recovery, and to build up their own “social capital” and support network within the recovery community.” William Cope Moyers
“I work with The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. I sit proudly as one of only two recovering addicts on their board.” – Jamie Lee Curtis
“No one is immune from addiction; it afflicts people of all ages, races, classes, and professions.” – Patrick J. Kennedy
“There are support fellowships that are easy to find and open to anyone who needs them, but they eschew promotion of any kind to keep the purity of their purpose, which is for people with alcoholism and addiction to help one another stay clean and sober. Without these fellowships, I would take drugs.” – Russell Brand
I am not a famous person at all, just a person in long-term recovery, who opened and ran an award-winning residential recovery home for women for more than 20 years. How I have remained in recovery for more than 30 years is personal and powerful to me. However, that does not mean that the method or the type of meetings I attend will work for everyone else.
Building Your Support Network: One Meeting at a Time
All people, rich and poor, famous and infamous, male, female, young and old, or merely trying to make it today without using can benefit from recovery support meetings. One of the fundamental aspects of successful long-term recovery is to make sure that you have supportive people in your life, besides family and friends. Look around and find a support group that you can join in your home-town. Get comfortable there, and then branch out.
While starting out as guides, mentors, sponsors, or accountability partners, many of the people will become friends and social acquaintances. It is vital to your long-term recovery goals that these people are:
• Empathetic to your issues or problems and your method for solutions
• Available to you when your life gets complicated
• Value the same path of recovery that you do and can offer help and experience
Thirty years ago, there were limited options for meetings and times. However, I still found friendships, a new social circle, trusted advisers, allies, and people willing to share what had worked for them to get long-term recovery.
Today there are many more options available; meetings that have your values, beliefs, are conveniently located and meet your time constraints.
Options in Recovery: Support from Like-Minded People
Any meeting is right for you if it:
- Conforms to your values
- Meets your needs
- Has people willing to support your values, needs, and goals
For a quick online resource for all types of meetings, try: https://www.addiction.com/meetingfinder/
Here is a breakdown of the kinds of recovery support meetings with links, and I would urge you to explore your options for meetings.
12 Step Based Meetings
Many people are familiar with the “Anonymous” meetings. In essence, AA, NA, CA, Alanon, Gamblers Anonymous, or one of the over 200 other Anonymous meetings, based on the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, developed 65 years ago on the premise that one suffering alcoholic could best help another.
Faith or Religious Based Meetings
Faith, Belief, or Religious based meetings describe any organizational support group based on beliefs. Specific to meetings, there are Christian, Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Catholic, and Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter-Day Saints. While not as common as Anonymous or 12 Step based meetings, they are growing in numbers in metropolitan areas.
Christian Based Recovery Meetings
Addictions Victorious: Addictions Victorious is a network of Christ-centered support and recovery groups. Meetings are open to men and women of all ages who are seeking lasting change in their lives.
Alcoholics for Christ: AC is a Christian fellowship that ministers to Alcoholics or Substance abusers, family members, and people raised in dysfunctional families.
Celebrate Recovery: The purposes of the Celebrate Recovery ministry are to fellowship and celebrate God’s healing power in the member’s lives through the “8 Recovery Principles.”
Buddhist Recovery Network
Jewish Alcoholics, Chemically Dependent Persons, and Significant Others
A mutual-help group for recovering Jews and their families also helps people connect, and explore their Jewish roots.
Islamic Recovery Support
An Islamic fellowship of men and women supporting recovery from alcohol and drug addictions
Catholic and Latter-day Saints Recovery Meetings
National Catholic Council on Alcoholism and Related Drug Problems (NCCA): A body affiliated with the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that promotes greater awareness and acceptance of alcoholism and other chemical addictions, and prevention issues.
LDS has in-person and online meetings for people in recovery and their families and friends, which features the program of recovery guides from the LDS perspective.
Secular Recovery Support Groups
A movement focused on recovery from addiction without a focus on the spiritual or religious aspects found in both 12-Step and Faith-based recovery. You’ll find these groups in larger cities for an in-person meeting, or most have information available online.
SMART Recovery®: An abstinence-based, organization that uses “common sense self-help rules” designed to empower participants to abstain and to develop a more positive lifestyle.
Rational Recovery: An abstinence-based recovery approach that claims it is the “antithesis and irreconcilable arch-rival of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Moderation Management: This is a recovery program founded by Audrey Kishline, a national support network for people who want to reduce their drinking and make other positive lifestyle changes.
Women For Sobriety (WFS), is an organization and self-help program for women alcoholics, founded in 1976 by Jean Kirkpatrick.
24/7 Help Yourself: a unique website developed from years of research on managing addictive behavior and behavioral change to offer guidance and support
Self-Help Group Locator provides information (searchable by zip code) about non12-Step self-help group meetings, including Moderation Management, SMART Recovery, Recovery, Inc., SOS (secular organization for sobriety), WFS (woman for sobriety), and Life Ring.
All Addictions Anonymous believes there is no wrong way to get support. What you need at one point may be different from what you need at another. You may find that you need to attend multiple groups, or need to connect with the right person who can reach you.
Learn How to Start a Meeting: Giving and Receiving Support
One aspect of joining these groups and attending meetings is that if the orientation, value, and support are what you need to shore up your foundation in recovery, most have a free course or instructional format for starting a meeting in your area. There are several benefits of starting a meeting:
- You know you will have the type of meeting you prefer.
- It is an excellent way to give back to other people.
- It will also give you support.
- Groups help encourage all members.
- Groups give us a social network for activities that don’t include using.
Did I Miss a Meeting?
Writing, and recovery heals the heart
When you’re ready to share your experiences with addiction and your stories of hope, consider submitting a guest post. How you share the message that ‘recovery works’ will touch someone in ways that my words can’t.