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What is a 12 Step Fellowship Meeting?
Twelve Step meetings are made up of a group of people who meet regularly to help each other with a common problem, and help others to recover. There are many 12 step fellowships all across the world specialising in all types of addictive behaviour from gambling and over eating to drug and alcohol dependency. There is only one requirement for membership; the desire to stop using.
In the meeting there is a chair person who will lead the meeting and someone who will share their experience of what living with addiction was like, strength in how they got better and hope, as in what they are doing now in recovery. In the second half of the meeting members can come in and share what they identified with the person who shared and/or what is going on for them at the moment.
There are many different types of meetings like 12 step study groups, literature meetings and share meetings. All meetings are self supporting and there are no dues or fees to pay. It is suggested that when you are ready, you join a group and be of service. This might be helping set up the meeting, make teas and coffees or meet and greet people who are coming in to the meeting. After you have been going to meetings for while and are abstinent it is suggested that you get a sponsor, this is someone who will guide you through the 12 step programme.
Some of us had ideas about what 12 step fellowships or the 12 step programme would be like before we properly tried them. We were sure, or thought we were, that it meant that we had to believe in God and to be religious. This was enough to put many of us off going to 12 step meetings for a long time.
In truth, 12 step fellowships have no connection or affiliation with religion. We are asked to come to believe in a ‘higher power' which some people choose to call God but this is an entirely individual choice. There are, potentially, as many Gods or higher powers in fellowship as there are people. In reality many members choose the meetings and honest connections with others in recovery as their higher power.
It is a simple process of following the steps taken by people who 'recovered from a seemingly helpless state of mind and body'*
Many of us also find that people who are already in recovery have an amazing ability to reach out and connect with those of us who are thinking about making changes in our life and considering taking action to get into recovery. This can be a great comfort when first attending meetings and so many things in life appear unmanageable.
In short, we think that it would be best to try a few meetings yourself before you make your mind up about 12 step fellowships. These can vary greatly from one to the next, a bit like pubs. We didn't dream of saying ‘Pubs are rubbish!' just because we visited one we didn't like, so we try not to do that with meetings either.
The 12 step programme was custom made by people with an addiction for people with an addiction.
*p xiii, Foreword to 1st Edition, Alcoholics Anonymous
If your alcohol or drug use has reached the point where it worries you, there are support organisations that are here to help.
If you want help, please see the services within this directory of available support across the Forth Valley area. Remember there are no fees or subscriptions for any of these services.
These services are open and welcoming to all. For details of meetings in your area please click on the web links below.
For cocaine, alcohol and all mood/ mind-altering substances
Tel: 0141 9596363
Tel: 0370 0508881
Tel: 0300 9991212
Tel: 0800 917 7650
Families Anonymous is a world-wide fellowship of family members and friends affected by another's abuse of mind-altering substances, or related behavioural problems.
Tel: 0845 1200 660
Feelings Meeting / Peer Support Group
Tel: Paul 07580 851151 or Lynda 07730 387474