Building Community with 12-Step Meetings

For many of us in early sobriety, 12-step meetings offer us life-saving support. Not only that, but they give us a community – a space to heal, to find our voice, and to feel a sense of belonging.

A 12-step meeting is a place where we learn the tools of 12-step sobriety.  Much of this learning happens when we simply sit, listen and observe. Sometimes the truth comes to us from those who share their story in the room. Sometimes the truth comes to us from an insight that arises when and where we have been confused and delusional our whole lives.

In 12-step meetings, there are no designated leaders or teachers. The group is the teacher. The group’s experience is teaching. Thus, each member has the responsibility to contribute to the teaching in a transparent and credible way. To contribute this way, each member must make a simple, yet profound, decision. To be honest.

Sharing honestly about our experience helps everyone in the room reflect on the nature of addiction and to offer some of the tools we are learning in the meetings. Sharing honestly about our experience with a group of recovering people provides us with an opportunity to integrate what we are learning about living sober in a safe place. Most of us couldn’t imagine speaking this honestly in any other place.

The benefit of this honesty is priceless – both to us and to those in the room. Most of us have never been this honest, ever. It is the difference between being free and being enslaved by the power of addiction. This honesty is the difference between living and dying