Drama Bombing A 12-Step Meeting…

I can’t imagine what it would have been like for me to get sober during a global pandemic where the majority of meetings and in-person 12-step recovery work was grossly limited. But, there are people out there who are trying to do that very thing right now in their life. Unfortunately, not everyone who is trying though is always serious about getting on that recovery path and often uses the 12-Step meetings instead simply for drama bombing.

Before I get into what drama bombing is though, let me say this. I often wonder where the direction of the meetings I attend are going to head, because quite frequently, whenever any newcomer arrives, like this man did, the direction is one where many of us who’ve been around for some time pep up and have a lot of good things to say to help the person out. In other words, “newbies” frequently tend to reinvigorate us “oldbies”, which is precisely what happened at my home group that night.

It began with this man standing the entire meeting and sharing how his wife wants him out after 34 years of marriage. He spoke how his life is presently in total shambles because of his alcoholism. I initially empathized with him, as he spoke in tears of how he doesn’t want to lose his marriage and how he came to a meeting 5 years ago and scoffed at why long-timers keep coming back, even after decades of sobriety. He had wondered why they couldn’t just manage well on their own and had left that day never to come back until now, having let his disease grow even worse for five more years. He also mentioned how in two weeks he’d be on an annual fishing trip with his son and how that trip is normally a big drinking fest for him. He was really concerned how he could manage going on it. Overall, he genuinely appeared very broken over the state of his affairs, which I’m sure included the DUI he recently got.

I heard a lot of fire come out of a number of us there that evening after he got done sharing all this and it was most definitely one of the best meetings I’ve been to since these COVID times began. The man received priceless suggestions of what to do next in his life and it got hammered repeatedly for him to stick around after the meeting to get some numbers from men who could help him remain clean and sober through this difficult time. I honestly hoped much of what we had all said had resonated with him and that he was ready to finally get on the path of recovery. But instead, as soon as the meeting ended he left, without talking to anyone, and ultimately did what I used to do quite a bit in my own early sobriety, that being to drama bomb every meeting I attended.

Do you know what drama bombing is?

Drama bombing is when someone simply shows up to a meeting solely to unleash all the crap from their life onto those there, to complain about what’s going on, mostly to gain sympathy for a brief moment in time, and then to leave without any plan to actually do anything about it.


The first 12 years of my sobriety, where I didn’t do any recovery work whatsoever on myself, I did that very thing this man did with incredible regularity. I went from meeting to meeting eliciting sympathy from one person after another about the state of my own affairs. Crying about my father’s suicide, my mother’s tragic drunken fall, the countless losses of friends, jobs, relationships, and more. Yet, taking all those suggestions and really, metaphorically speaking, doing nothing more than throwing them all away in a trash receptacle as I left at the end of each meeting.

Here’s the bottom line I learned long after the pain of avoiding doing the recovery work had damaged multiple facets of my overall life. 12 Step recovery meetings aren’t for drama bombing! They aren’t for someone to simply come in and share all the misery that alcoholism and drug addiction, or any other addiction for that matter, has unleashed upon their lives. What they are there for, are for people to find a plan to recover. They’re there for people to receive sober support. And they’re there for individuals to listen to other’s experience, strength, and hope so that one day it can become part of their own sober journey in future sharings. But what they’re not there for is to hold a meeting hostage with drama bombing, as that is only continuing in a long-pattern of selfishness that addiction always tends to brings an individual.

But you know what? In the end, it was this man’s drama bombing that provided me a much-needed reminder of one of my worst patterns of addiction and it showed me how far I’ve actually come in my recovery. So, thank you 12 Step recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous, and of course God, for this man and for continuing to attend the meetings for the right reasons, the reasons that have kept me recovering for over 25 years and counting!

Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson