Attending Your First Meeting: What to Expect

Support group meetings, especially 12-Step meetings, are exceedingly popular among those in recovery. Why? They offer a number of benefits including:

Attending the first meeting, however, can be a fearsome experience for some. New people and a new situation – many don’t know what to expect.

If you’re considering attending 350-355.htm” target=”_blank”>12-Step meetings or another type of support group to augment your ongoing recovery after treatment, don’t let uncertainty stop you. It’s a straightforward process, and for some people, it becomes a defining part of life after addiction. For others, different types of support groups provide more of what they need in recovery.

The Basics

At a 12-Step meeting, participants will find a uniquely structured organization made up entirely of other people with a history of addiction or drug use. There are no leaders or therapists in charge. All attend voluntarily and, depending upon the style of the meeting, there may be a speaker who shares his story of recovery, or a reading of the Big Book or some other topic presentation that precedes an open share time. All meetings are different but you may also encounter:

  • An invitation to celebrate a birthday or anniversary in sobriety of days, weeks, or years commemorated by a chip
  • An invitation to raise your hand if you would like a sponsor to meet with you as you work the 12 Steps outside of meetings
  • An invitation to share by first raising your hand
  • A time limit on how long you may speak if you opt to share
  • A reminder that there is no “cross talk,” (e.g., speaking directly to someone else in the room during a share or directly addressing what someone else has shared about)

Some meetings are 45 minutes long, while others are an hour or 90 minutes. Some are just for women, men, teens, gays and lesbians, or another specific group. Some require that you be in recovery while others are open to anyone. Check the details before you pick a meeting to attend.

Other Support Group Options

Many people in recovery prefer more structured support groups over the peer-led 12-Step meetings. These offer the same level of peer support but are usually led by a therapist who picks topics and facilitates meetings in such a way that participants take an active role in the meeting and focus on issues that are specific to their needs. Each session may be dedicated to a different point of discussion that affects patients in recovery, or the group may be more patient-led, allowing participants to choose a topic that is relevant to them that week.

They may also be geared specifically toward a certain patient population within the recovery community. Some groups are gender-specific, while others are focused on providing support to people in a certain age group or employed in a specific industry. Still others focus on supporting patients in recovery who are dealing with a particular issue like chronic illness, parenting and family care, or legal problems.

Augmenting Recovery

For some people, 12-Step meetings or other support groups play a major part in their recovery during treatment, and for this reason, they are a prime therapeutic option post-rehab because they offer the benefit of continuity as they transition home. For others, it’s a new way to build a community after treatment and remain actively engaged with their personal progress in recovery.

Learn more about the benefits of different types of therapy in rehab. Contact us at the phone number above now.

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