12 Step Recovery is most definitely a program of “We, Us, and Our” that totally relies on all of us being there for each other, and going to meetings regularly is a big part of that. But sadly, people tend to forget about that once they have some sobriety time under their belt, which is why I think many 12 Step meetings are getting fewer and fewer attendance.
Granted, there is a lot more to recovery than just attending 12 Step meetings, but it’s the meetings themselves that truly are at the very core where sobriety and recovery usually begin. And once a person is brought through the 12 Steps by a sponsor, it’s their responsibility to continue to show up and do their best to help others, just as their sponsor guided them. Yet, if everyone began to hold the attitude that it wasn’t that big of a deal to show up to meetings anymore, there’s a good chance there’d be plenty of addicts who never found their way simply because there weren’t enough places for them to go and find connection to those just like them.
I always find it funny that people were willing to go to any lengths when they were active in their addiction, staying up to all hours of the night engaging in it, even driving through fierce weather at times, all the while avoiding sleep many-a-times and not taking care of their overall health either. Yet, once sober and through the 12 Step process, once sobriety feels stable to them, they become unwilling to go to any lengths to get to those meetings, citing fatigue, scheduling issues, and plenty of other things as excuses to not show up, when all of that was never an issue when they were active in their addiction. There was nothing at all, not even terrible sickness, that usually kept us from engaging in our disease.
The fact is, newcomers rely on those meetings. They rely on the people who attend them, on those friendly hands being outstretched to them welcoming them there. They rely on hearing the attendees to share their experience, strength, and hope, which helps them to keep coming back until they find their own way into sobriety and recovery.
Thus, when sober and recovering individuals make decisions to not attend meetings because they feel it’s not necessary, or really helping them anymore, or frankly just because they’re inconvenient on some level to their own lives, it’s frankly selfish and self-centered, the two very character defects that drove all of us into our addictions in the first place.
In the end, it’s a safe bet that if one keeps skipping meetings and finding excuses to not go to them, that they will eventually find their way back into their original addiction or another one. But, it’s also a safe bet that if they keep showing up, not so much for themselves, but more so for the newcomers, for the suffering, and even for those who’ve been around for a while that may be going through those storms of life, that they’ll probably remain sober and feel a whole lot better too!
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson