12 Step Meetings: Different Strokes for Different Folks (Part 1 of 2)Micah Robbins
When you leave rehab, you leave a built-in community and routine.
This is why it’s so important to develop a new routine including a roster of go-to twelve step meetings when you get out.
Here are some things to consider when you’re looking for the right fit:
Size: Small vs Large
Sometimes you won’t know if a meeting is large or small until you start going so get out there and pay attention to how you feel in different sized groups.
Notice: Do you feel more comfortable in smaller groups or in a bigger crowd? Do you prefer to see the same people weekly or a variety of new faces regularly? Do you prefer sharing which small groups make because there’s more time for everyone or do you prefer to listen to a lot of shares around the room instead of speaking?
- If you’re looking for a service commitment, smaller groups may have more opportunity for service because there are less people available to volunteer for each job.
- If you’re looking for a sponsor, larger meetings can provide an opportunity to hear more people share and can provide a larger pool to choose a sponsor from.
Format: Speaker, Topic, Big Book
Speaker meetings are centered around one speaker who shares their experience, strength and hope telling what it was like before sobriety and what it’s been like after. They generally share for about half the meeting and then people at the meeting get to share for the remainder. Speaker meetings can be good when you are first starting out and perhaps struggling with identifying as an alcoholic and relating to the program and others in general. Plus, the more stories you hear, the more likely you are to hear your own story.
Topic meetings are meetings which also generally have a speaker but the speaker will only share about their experience as it relates to the given topic instead of telling their whole story. Topic meetings offer a variety week to week and can be helpful in learning about how to live in recovery and address specific challenges that can come up like staying sober through the holidays or how to achieve and practice emotional sobriety. The plus is you get to hear a wide range of opinions and experiences with how to deal with the day to day life in sobriety from other sober members.
Big Book or Basic Text
Big book meetings usually mean reading from the text of Alcoholics Anonymous a.k.a the big book. These meetings can include a speaker but sometimes don’t. Like the topic meetings, the speaker (if there is one) and the people in attendance at the meeting generally share their thoughts, identifications and experiences with what particular chapter or passage has been read from the book. The plus side of these kinds of meetings is you get the added benefit of getting exposure to the literature of the program. This can be especially helpful if you have already started to work with a sponsor, which probably means you are going to or have already started reading the book. If you don’t have a sponsor, these meetings can also be a good place to find one as they often attract sober members who are actively engaged in reading about and working the steps from the big book.
For meetings in the Palm Beach County area:
For meetings in your local area:
Look out for Part 2 with more meeting types and resources coming soon.