Meetings. They’re part of the foundation of my recovery. When I came into the rooms I was invited back the next day. Not used to receiving many invitations at that time, I accepted. And I kept going back. I never counted the meetings I went to at the beginning, but I know I did a lot more than 90 meetings in 90 days. Now that I wasn’t consuming anything, I suddenly found that I had more time on my hands. I really didn’t trust myself going out socially. So I went to a lot of meetings. They ended at 9 PM. I’d get home a bit before 10 and go to bed. Safe and sound.
What I didn’t realize then was that I didn’t know how to act with nothing in my system. I didn’t know how to relate to others. My whole world had revolved around my disease. How to get it, how to hide it, how to get some more. I’d be nice to others because I thought you might share with me. Or I’d be trying to control things so I could make it through the next part of the day until I’d be free to let loose again. My life revolved in so many ways around my disease, so that now that I was trying to live in the solution, I had to find out what the solution was. I had to relearn, or in many cases, learn for the first time how to relate to other people and life. I did this through meetings.
Going to meetings isn’t the whole program of recovery. But meetings kept me in contact with others who had, or were going through the same things I was going through. At meetings I learned how to apply the steps to my own life. I heard simple ideas about how to stay in recovery and not stray. I may not have been the cream of the crop of addicts but I did figure out something fairly quickly: people who were having the most difficult time in recovery were the same people who figured they didn’t need to go to meetings. Those who have long term recovery are those who still go to meetings regularly as part of their recovery. They’ve built their recovery on a strong and solid foundation upon which to base their lives. When the difficulties and challenges come along, that firm base supports them.
When I came into the program I was told five things: don’t consume, go to meetings, get a home group, get a sponsor, work the steps. There’s a reason why meetings have been part of Twelve Step programs since their inception: they work. Who am I to think I know better? After all, some of my best thinking got me to the point where I had to turn to recovery.
I go to meetings regularly because I’ve learned, when I start missing meetings, I start missing whatever I used. I listen at meetings because there’s still so much I need to know. I share at meetings because I’m grateful for what been given by the other members.