When you are considering the formula for working through your addiction recovery, it is essential that the first rule be that “no one passes judgment on another.” Why is this so critical in the addiction recovery program? Well, taking the first step and walking through a door to talk with strangers about a personal problem is surely courageous, to say the least. Having another person, walking in the same shoes as you, tell you that you are doing things wrong is nothing more than their opinion. And opinions, as they say, are like tongues—everyone has one.
The second rule of addiction recovery program is to work with a format that helps people identify their own weaknesses, and work toward making a “better me.” Following a traditional 12-Step program has definite benefits, such as a well-defined structure with “rules” (or steps) as they are called.
The first step in a 12 Step program is to accept that you are powerless. Without understanding what this means, and how it affects you in your everyday life, you will have difficulty working within the parameters of addiction recovery. In fact, acceptance of this premise is essential to living a more peaceful life. Powerlessness is not saying that you cannot help you, it is saying that you have no power over alcohol, drugs, another person, or their addictions or choices. We might influence them, but the ultimate decision always rests in their hands.
Familiarity with others in a meeting comes with time, but getting to know names of one another will help make it more comfortable. It also removes the animosity that one feels when sitting with a group of strangers.
Allowing everyone with the opportunity to speak is great, however, a few people will not feel comfortable when they are talking in public. So, making sure they know the option of passing may be essential to their return for another meeting. Another option is to let those who wish to speak raise their hand and not be in a line, where everyone has to accept or reject the offer.
The role of the leader is to facilitate the meeting, not take it over with a monologue. Limiting people to reasonable time when speaking helps keep the meeting moving. It is also the role of the leader to respect everyone’s time and bring the meeting to a close on schedule.
I find that when I lead a meeting, bringing others into the discussion helps the meeting to take a route that is often unlike my original plan, creating a life of its own. Most people find that when such a format is followed, they have a chance to talk about what is important to them.
Keep in mind that addiction recovery is not a one-day program. It is a life-long commitment to making sure you do the right thing in order to stay on the right path of the recovery. A solid addiction recovery program can make all the difference in this journey of yours.