The Value of the Meeting
The foundation of any 12 step program is regular attendance at meetings. You often hear phrases like “keep coming back” and “meeting makers make it.” I have often wondered what exactly is the magic of simply showing up for an hour each day, sitting with a completely diverse group of people who happen to share a common problem, and talking about that problem? Because frankly, there were several months where I did make regular attendance at meetings, and the magic absolutely did not happen for me. So why have the last 60 days been different?
I still don’t have all the answers, and I still believe it is overly simplistic to say just keep coming back and you will get this program. For me, I believe it is more than regular attendance at meetings that keeps me clean and sober. For me, a series of life altering events took place, which shook me enough to suspend my desire to relapse. But, then the magic of the meetings started to happen for me.
First, it felt like an obligation… go to a meeting every day, OR ELSE, and for me I did it to show the people in my life I was serious about recovery. And I heard things that were valuable, but I’m not sure how much stuck in my head because my life was so chaotic.
Then, as a little time passed, I started to settle in, and I got comfortable with the particular meetings I attended. I started to see familiar faces, I got the rhythm of the meeting formats. and the repetition of the message started to sink in.
Next, while chaos still loomed large in the rest of my life, I started to think of the meetings as a calm in the storm, a place to feel some measure of peace for an hour while the rest of my life raged around me. Messages started to hit hard and fast, and very often the central point of the meeting fit so eerily into my life that I realize that there are no coincidences.
Now, I consciously look forward to meetings each day. I look for ways to share with the group how the meeting, and the program in general, in impacting my life. I enjoy the small talk before and after the meetings. And I dream of the day that I have enough clean time to share my story with the group, and lead my own meeting. Tomorrow I will receive my 60 day coin, and I am as excited to share this with the people in the meeting as I am with my family and friends. And that excitement I am feeling is absolutely the magic of the meeting at work in my life.