Meeting Makers Make It
For those reading this post that are unfamiliar with AA jargon, my title is a common expression in any 12-step recovery program. It means that the greatest chance of success with recovery is in direct proportion to the number of meeting you attend, particularly in the early stages of your sobriety. A synonymous expression: many meetings, many chances, few meetings, few chances, no meetings, no chances.
For those reading who are familiar with AA, my post on this subject may not be completely to your liking. For a long time, I have absolutely hated this expression, and it aggravated me every time I heard it (and, believe me, I was aggravated a lot… this expression is used very, very often in the rooms of AA). The reason I hated it so much was because for about 8 months or so, I was a meeting maker, by most standards… I averaged 3-4 meetings every week. And you can probably guess what I am going to say next… I was far from “making it.” The meeting lasted for one hour, and guess what? There were 23 other hours in the day in which I was free to run my life into the ground, which I very effectively proceeded to do.
Now that I have some legitimate time under my belt, I am not nearly as aggravated by the expression, but I still think it needs to be modified to be correct. It is excellent to go to as many meeting as you can, but it is not enough to simply show up, as the expression might have you believe. For me at least, I needed to attend the same meetings on a very regular basis. For me this means every day, but of course individual needs may vary. By attending the same meetings regularly, a number of things happened that greatly enhanced my ability to stay sober.
First, it gave me personal accountability. I had a regular meeting every day of the week, that I expected myself to attend. In the past, I would give myself excuses… I don’t feel like going now, I’ll just hit another one later in the day. That may or may not have happened.
Second, and probably most important, it allowed me the opportunity to develop relationships with other regular meeting attendees. By developing these relationships, I became invested in the meeting, and actively looked forward to seeing these people each day, finding out how their lives are going, and sharing mine.
An additional benefit to these relationships is the responsibility I feel to these people. If I feel like I want to risk my sobriety, would I be able to walk back into that room, look into their eyes, and tell them I failed, or, worse, lie to them and pretend I still have 124 days when I do not? These people have been through the same hell I have, some worse than mine, and they are managing to stay sober, many of them for decades. If they can do it, then dammit, so can I, and to let them down would weigh very heavily on me.
So, perhaps it is not as pithy, but in my opinion, it would be a lot more accurate to say “Meeting makers of the same meetings each day, getting to know the people around you, and actively listening to what the successful people have to say, make it!”