(continued from 12 Step Meetings, Part 1)
In order to choose the most appropriate 12 step program or support group for your recovery, it is important to have guidelines that assist in determining which group(s) will be of best benefit.
Finding a 12 Step Meeting in Your Comfort Zone
Some meetings feel comfortable because they are gender specific. Many women might feel safer discussing personal issues in women-only support groups. On the other hand, some women may report that they don't "trust" other women and don't want to discuss issues with them, but this is often more an issue of self-trust. Both men and women often find that they can more easily convince members of the opposite sex of things that their own gender might catch them out on. Those who have been practicing addictive behaviors usually have become quite adept at manipulating members of the opposite sex to get what they want. In these cases, it is important that the addict learns to trust those of their own gender who will call them out on dishonest motivations and addictive behaviors. This is important, as those addictive behaviors are dangerous to the newly recovering person.
Find meetings that feel comfortable and safe. People share their stories in these settings, and members need to know that their stories are kept within the confines of the meeting. You may need to attend a meeting for a while before you feel safe sharing your personal stories with that group.
12 Step Meetings and Anonymity
The concept of anonymity is vital for those who wish to keep their personal involvement with 12-step recovery out of the public eye. This involves not only their identity and what they share about themselves, but also the identity and stories about others. The traditions of 12-step recovery mandate that every member maintains silence about membership in a 12-step program. This protects individual members, as well as the group. It is crucial that what is shared within a meeting, stays within the meeting. Anonymity is a difficult concept for many. Its use in the context of 12-step programs maintains that a person may disclose their addiction and their recovery to others, but may NOT disclose their membership in a particular group. That way, if they violate their recovery with relapse, it will not damage the efficacy of the group itself.
12 Step Programs and Relapse
Most who are familiar with recovery from addiction understand relapse as part of the process. However, this does not mean that 12-step recovery does not work. It means there was something about the person's recovery process that did not work to effectively protect them from relapse. The rest of the group will be safe from the repercussions of this person's behavior and relapse. Their recovery can continue.
Getting the Help You Need for Recovery
In addition to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program for alcoholics seeking recovery, there are numerous programs available for drug addictions. Narcotics Anonymous is the oldest and largest of those available for drug addiction recovery. There are also Cocaine Anonymous, Pills Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Marijuana Anonymous, and Nicotine Anonymous. Not all, but some of these groups, provide programs are affiliated with addiction-recovery program meetings for families of addicts. To learn more about these types of affiliated programs, Al-Anon and Alateen are a good place to start.