Why Twelve Step Meetings are an Effective Tool Against Relapse

March 7, 2018


Twelve Step Meetings are All the Time, Everywhere
I have told many a treatment group, "The fact of the matter is that twelve step meetings are happening all the time, everywhere." With the plethora of twelve step meetings in and around our city (or the entire world, for that matter) there is no excuse not to attend them on a regular basis. Twelve step meetings are about as accessible and available as a grocery store. There are morning, afternoon, evening, and even midnight meetings that take place on a weekly basis. As is often said, "The addict made the time to use...they can make the time to attend a meeting."
Twelve Step Meetings are Free
We spend a lot of time in treatment trying to help individuals understand the value of twelve step meetings. They are potentially the very most effective tool against relapse and they cost absolutely nothing (unless one decides to donate.) Meetings are potentially the only place on Earth where you can show up, get a life-saving service, not pay a dime, and they ask you to "keep coming back." Sounds like a good deal to me! Mark Lundholm, a recovering comedian, perhaps said it best: "Detox is where a person spends $10,000 to learn that meetings a free!" 
Twelve Step Meetings are a One-Stop Shop for Relapse Prevention
The recovery literature tells us that relapse warning signs consist of being too hungry, angry, lonely, tired or serious (HALTS). What this means is that if I find myself feeling too hungry, angry, lonely, tired or serious, then I need to halt or stop what I'm doing and take a look at the current state of my recovery program. The good news is that a resource exists that can serve as a one stop shop to help me address these warning signs: Twelve-Step Meetings.
Here's why: The cure for hungry is to eat; the cure for angry is to vent; the cure for lonely is fellowship; the cure for tired is to rest; and the cure for serious is to laugh and have fun.
When it comes to meetings, these are all being addressed by attending:
HUNGRY - I'm feeding my recovery with knowledge on how to continue to live clean and sober.
ANGRY - If I attend discussion meetings, I'm given an opportunity to share about what is going on with me.
LONELY - I'm surrounding myself with others who have the same goal in mind. The program is called "the fellowship of..." This means it is a collective group of like-minded individuals who come together for a purpose.
TIRED - A meeting provides me with a block of time where I can shut off the hustles and bustles of life and focus entirely on my recovery for 90-120 minutes.
SERIOUS - Ever have days where it just seems like your sense of humor is non-existent? I know we all do. Twelve-step meetings can be very humorous and enjoyable. If you get to know the people in the meetings through fellowship, they can even be fun! They become a social event in addition to being a meeting.
As you can see, twelve step meetings are a viable resource in the prevention of relapse because they single-handedly supply an individual with a way to address all of the relapse warning signs in one fell swoop.