“My name is Derek, and I am an alcoholic.” There has rarely been a day that has gone by since November 17, 2012 where I haven’t repeated that, either to myself or in a meeting. But I didn’t always believe it when I said it, especially at first. Relating to other alcoholics and working steps, in addition to regularly attending a lot of meetings helped me come to terms with that truth. And coming back has helped me in more ways than I even know.
I go to a lot of meetings. A lot.
Meetings became a regular part of my sobriety immediately. Granted, I didn’t have much of a choice, as the sober living I was living at required it as part of the program. Despite this, I didn’t really fight it. Attending a meeting was a way to get out of the house and the stories told there kept me interested. I didn’t always relate but it kept my mind off of myself for an hour, which was something I desperately needed.
For my first year and a half of sobriety I went to one or two meetings every single day. At first I really thought this was overkill but now I see the reward in how much it was truly helping me. I was lucky enough to get sober in Los Angeles, CA, the veritable “Mecca of Sobriety”. Meetings were plentiful and I was able to attend some very, very good ones.
Not every meeting is amazing.
I will be the first to admit I also was subjected to a lot of terrible meetings. Not every one of them can be a gem. Yet that is why going to a lot of them became so worth it for me. There were times where I would attend a meeting and the speaker would be so good that I felt like I was leaving on a sort of, for lack of a better term, “spiritual high”. It made all of the mediocre meetings I had been to worth it, just to find that one. I was excited to be one of the 30-50 people who were able to see this man or woman speak, share their experience and leave there feeling grateful that I was able to attend and be a part of that moment in time.
Don’t forget the fellowship.
Because I was in a sober living, it was a little difficult to leave my immediate sober family, especially when I was new. Even though I was encouraged to speak to others at meetings, I found it difficult to do so and for that matter it was hard for me to see the importance of it. I went to a meeting to hear a speaker, possibly take care of a commitment, go about my life and that was it.
I had no idea how much I was missing out on by not speaking to all of the other individuals at the meetings I would regularly attend every week. Meetings slowly evolved from something I had to do to something I looked forward to doing, simply because I would get to see friends and acquaintances I had met the week before and looked forward to asking them about their lives. Not only did it inherently keep me coming back but them as well.
Why do you attend meetings?
There are a myriad of other reasons I enjoy attending meetings. My social life has grown exponentially through the friendships and connections I have made, making them one of the strongest parts of my program. Being able to give and receive help from people that are genuine is one of the most rewarding experiences I have had in sobriety and I owe it to my regular attendance.
I am looking forward to regularly writing about my experience with my 12-step program on Into the Heart of Addiction and invite you to let me know about yours. What are some of the reasons you attend meetings?