If you are suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, you may be aware of Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. AA was founded in the early 1930s with the sole aim of helping those suffering from alcohol addiction. This fellowship group worked on the principle of members sharing their experiences with fellow members to help each other stay sober. Most participants work through the 12 steps, although this is not compulsory. AA has been extremely successful since its inception and it has helped countless millions of alcoholics all over the world get sober and stay sober.
There are now many other fellowship programmes that have adopted the 12-step programme, including NA (Narcotics Anonymous) and GA (Gamblers Anonymous).
What are Fellowship Meetings Like?
If you have a alcohol or drug addiction, you may be advised to attend a 12-step fellowship meeting as part of your treatment plan. Although you may have heard of AA or NA, you may be unsure of what a meeting entails and you may be worried about what to expect. Your opinion of these meetings is probably based entirely on what you have seen on TV or in the movies; you might be expecting to encounter a group of down and outs sitting around in a circle telling everyone else that they are addicts.
The reality is that AA and NA members come from all walks of life. They comprise men and women of varying ages and from a variety of cultures and backgrounds. These people meet to share their problems and support each other through their recovery journey.
Fellowship meetings are non-judgemental and supportive and are a place where you can sit and listen or share your story if you are ready. Those who attend fellowship meetings know that everyone there has been through, or is going through, the same journey that they currently are and, no matter what you tell them, you will not be rejected or judged.
Learning from Others
Fellowship meetings are a place where you can begin to be honest and where you can learn from the mistakes of others. You may find that other members will learn from your mistakes as well, and knowing that you are helping others can be hugely helpful when it comes to moving forward.
Another benefit of a fellowship meeting is that it provides recovering addicts with inspiration and motivation to continue their journey to sobriety. Seeing others further along in their recovery journey can act as motivation to keep going.
Then there is the fact that this is the perfect place to learn how to live in recovery. Fellowship meetings open up a whole new world and can become a second family to recovering addicts.
Members often socialise with each other outside of meetings and learn to have fun without relying on chemical substances. It is also the perfect place to develop the skills required to live a clean and sober life.
For those who do not want to open up about who they are, there is no requirement to do so at a fellowship meeting. Members of AA and NA do not have to use their real names and they can be safe in the knowledge that anything they say at a meeting will remain completely confidential. You can be as open as you like, or simply sit back and listen until you are ready to share. It is up to you how you approach a fellowship meeting and you will not be pressured by anyone to talk if you are not ready.
The good news is that fellowship meetings do work when it comes to addiction treatment.