Almost all newcomers heard the same thing upon entering the program. It was “suggested” to them that they make 90 meetings in 90 days. Upon hearing this, they were often taken aback. For many of them, the thought of any type of commitment was viewed as an impossibility. While active, repeating any responsibility for more than a day was a prescription for failure. Then something wonderful began to happen. The program began to take hold and days and then weeks of sobriety were acquired. Their faces began to become known at both a home group and other groups as well. Before they knew it, they had made ninety meetings in ninety days. When their name was called they proudly walked up to receive their ninety day coin. When they sat down, some old timer turned to them and said, “Congratulations. Do you know what comes after ninety days? Ninety-one”.
By this time, hopefully our newcomer has accepted the reality of the program. Addiction is not like other afflictions. Going to meetings is not like a round of antibiotics. It is not something you take for a period of time and then are declared cured from your disease. Part of our medicine regimen are meetings. We need to have a lifetime prescription of meetings. Yes, the dosage may be different based on the case. But there is no doubt that frequent dosages of meetings are essential to sobriety.
Personal Reflection: Do I need to up my prescription of meetings?
Going to meetings are wonderful. They give us an opportunity to speak about what’s on our mind. Invariably at a meeting you will hear someone say, “I heard what I needed to hear today”. Somehow it always works out that a person will be speaking about an issue or a problem that is highly relevant to us at exactly this point in our recovery. We also very much enjoy the friendship and camaraderie of meetings. This is especially true of our home group where we get to know the members on a very personal level. Sometimes we will rush to a meeting because we had a very trying and emotional day and just need to vent.
Where we need to exercise care is when we say to ourselves that we don’t need to go to a meeting. At first blush, this might seem okay. Our lives were going well, or we were tired that evening or the weather outside was nasty. Of course there are times when we have a legitimate reason for missing a meeting. However, we need to remember that we are alcoholics or drug or food addicts. Part of our disease is a tendency to isolate. This was often the first step on the road to a slip. When that voice tells us we don’t have to get to a meeting, we need to jump up and go. It might be the most important meeting of our life.
Personal Reflection: Am I beginning to miss meetings?
Each of us is told upon entering program to choose a home group. You would think that people would choose a home group closest to where they live. The reality is that people will often chose a home group which often involves travel and inconvenience to get to. They will tell you they go to that group because it has “good sobriety”. When pressed, they will say, “people with good sobriety not only talk the talk, but walk the walk”. This means that a newcomer will always be greeted and given some phone numbers. At the end of the meeting, everyone pitches in and puts away the chairs and cleans up. During sharing, people are conscious of the time, so that many get the opportunity to speak. Members seriously refrain from the use of profanity. When there is a need for temporary sponsors or outgoing service commitments a lot of hands go up. When people share they identify and refrain from giving advice. The group is only as strong as the weakest link. We need to make sure that our behavior makes us a strong link in the group chain of members.
Personal Reflection: Am I a strong link in my home group?