If you’re a member of AA, at some point in your sobriety you may be asked the following question: “Why do you still go to those meetings? You haven’t had a drink.” After all, things are much different now and your perspective has changed. Your life is full and busy with work, children and a million other things to do. While these thoughts are common among those who have been sober for some time, there are still a number of benefits you can reap by continuing to attend.
Here are 7 reasons why, if you’re currently going to meetings, you should keep on keeping on.
1. You remember who you are.
Going to meetings help you remember that you are an alcoholic and there is no cure. Alcoholism wants you to forget who you are. It’s constantly trying to lure you into believing that you are mentally and physically different from your fellows so that you would just pick up again.
We suffer from a disease and the only ammunition we have is abstinence. Meetings are a place where people tell their stories as well as share their strength and hope. Together, in these meetings, we are powerful in our triumph over the disease.
2. You realize you’re not alone.
Sobriety is more than just not drinking—it’s learning how to navigate life. However, many people who don’t suffer from alcoholism do not understand why we drank the way we did or continue to struggle in certain areas. The camaraderie of being able to share, listen, laugh and cry with others who fully understand the breadth of your struggle reminds us that we are not alone. We get sober for ourselves, but we don’t have to do it by ourselves.
3. You get to make sober friends.
There’s only one thing you have to change when you get sober: everything. Sometimes, this may mean letting go of old friendships. You’re no longer a drinking buddy, so why not meet people who aren’t drinkers as well. Find new sober buddies. In meetings, you won’t only make new friends—you may even discover a new family.
4. You are able to stay grounded.
Going to meetings reminds us of the spiritual nature of the 12-step program of recovery. While the steps and traditions may look good hanging up in meeting halls, they’re actually there so that we may live, breathe and practice them. You’re not supposed to remain the same person you were when you first got sober. What you receive is an opportunity to transform old thought and behavior patterns that once led you to remorse, guilt and trouble. Recovery is very growth orientated, which translates into character building. There are step study meetings, Big Book meetings and various other resources to help you grow and continue to flourish.
5. You can inspire others.
When asked to share, by all means do so. It may feel really awkward at first, but all you need to do is tell “your” story. There’s nothing like the ease and comfort that comes when people identify with parts of your story through a nod or a laugh. Aside from that, the newcomer needs to know how you did it. Maybe relapse was a part of your recovery. By sharing, you remind old timers and those in between that the disease is still kicking butt out there. You are then able to become a point of inspiration.
6. You can find a sponsor.
Attending meeting is a great way to find a sponsor who can take you through the 12-steps. After all, it’s easier to practice the recovery principles with a guide. They should be someone who has been through the process and has a working knowledge of the program. Listen to people when they share and notice whether or not they walk their talk. Find someone who resonates with you and don’t be surprised if someone self-appoint themselves to be your sponsor—it happens all the time
7. You are not drinking.
If you’re sitting in a meeting, it means you’re not out drinking. Meetings are a great place to be whether you’re new or just needing to be in a safe place filled with love, compassion and understanding. If you are new, don’t be afraid to introduce yourself and get involved. Grab some chips and let others hug and cheer for you.