How Meetings Help with Sobriety
Meetings have been a big part of addiction recovery for a long time now. In most rehab programs, group therapy is a major portion of the schedule. You will most likely be encouraged to attend meetings while in rehab and to find meeting chapters that you like so that you will continue attending once you leave treatment.
One reason for this emphasis on meetings is to develop a support system within the recovery community. If you have a network of friends who are also sober and who you can relate to, you will have better chances of success in sobriety. You can call these people when you are feeling down or struggling with urges.
Another reason for meetings is because they empower you to help others, which creates purpose in your recovery. In meetings, you share your story and thoughts on recovery, listen to others’ stories and insight, and help others with their problems through discussion. Through these things, you are not only strengthening your own sobriety, but helping others through it.
There are multiple kinds of meetings that are associated with different organizations. Depending on your ideas about the world and personality, some meetings may be better suited for you than others. So, here is a list of some great options.
12-step chapters refer to the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) organization, based on the Big Book and the 12-step program that was created by “Dr. Bob.” This encompasses all the “anonymous” groups: Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Heroin Anonymous (HA), Cocaine Anonymous (CA), and others. 12-step meetings are the most common and popular models of recovery meetings, but they aren’t for everyone.
AA-style meetings are often quite god-centric or focused on a “higher power” and spirituality, which many people struggle to relate with. The 12-step program is based on the belief that people who have addictions are powerless over their drug of choice and flawed. The focus is on spiritual awakening, active effort to amend one’s wrong doings and character defects, as well as helping others.
The sponsor-sponsee relationship is encouraged in these meetings. This is when someone who has experience in recovery guides someone who is new to sobriety through the steps.
Smart Recovery Meetings
This is one of the best options for people who want an alternative to the 12-step model. Smart recovery does not place any special focus on spirituality and doesn’t insist on the powerlessness that AA chapters emphasize. Many people who are science-oriented and don’t easily relate to spirituality benefit greatly from Smart Recovery meetings.
The four tenants taught and practiced in Smart Recovery are motivation, coping with urges, management of emotions, and healthy lifestyle practices. The focus is on changing the thought and behavioral patterns that support addictions into thought and behavior that enforces sobriety. Rational Emotive Behavioral Therapy (REBT) is the model of assessment that Smart Recovery utilizes to do this.
Smart Recovery emphasizes problem solving, self-empowerment and self-reliance, and self-directed change. The meetings are largely educations, providing attendees with tools to manage their sobriety, but also include discussion.
Secular Organizations for Sobriety
Another option that is not centered around spirituality, Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS) offer meetings as well. There is no structured program associated with SOS, but simply some guidelines. These are based on the admission of one’s inability to drink or use drugs in a reasonable way and the commitment to do whatever necessary to remain sober. SOS stresses the individual’s personal responsibility for their own sobriety.
SOS doesn’t offer specific tools to people for maintaining sobriety. It does offer a safe space to reflect on recovery with others who are intent on sobriety. This community and collective reflection will fulfill the main purpose of meetings for someone who does not want subscribe to a specific program.
Women for Sobriety
This organization was created to offer a different approach to meetings that is specific for women. Women often have a different experience of active addiction than most men do. Many women experience sexual trauma, might participate in prostitution, or become pregnant and give birth to children during their addiction. As men cannot relate to most of these experiences, women-centric meetings may be more helpful for these women.
Women for Sobriety focuses on dealing with emotional issues, as the underlying cause of addiction and substance abuse. Valuing yourself and self-empowerment are emphasized in this organization. This is contrasted with AA’s focus on humility and limited self-centeredness. In meetings, the substitution of negative thoughts with positive and self-affirming thoughts is practiced.
The tenants of Women for Sobriety is very similar to smart recovery’s take: assuming personal responsibility for the future, problem solving, and attending to physical health. Spiritual and emotional growth are at the forefront of these meetings, though.
Get Sober & Leave Addiction Behind
For most recovery meetings, you must be sober while in attendance. Many people out there want to connect with the recovery community, but aren’t able to stay sober on their own yet. Call (877)670-8451 to talk to someone about addiction treatment that can give you the foundational tools for maintaining sobriety.