The addict who is still addicted is working against a powerful force and the odds are against them. Continuing to use is not a choice. It is an unconscious reflex. It is response to a powerful force with little conscious thought. However, addicts can choose to go to a recovery meeting. They can choose to verbalize these addicted thoughts to peers at the meeting. They can choose to place their trust in the hands of others around them until they are able to trust their own thoughts again. This is not an easy thing to do and it requires an act of courage, which, once again, is why newcomers are the highest priority in recovery meetings.
The true power of a recovery meeting is the community and having a support network. There are various meeting types with different approaches to recovery. However, I am a true believer that the content of the approach is not the true mechanism of change. I believe the mechanism of change is having a support network; having a place to go and talk with people who are struggling with the same problem as you. I encourage you to try different meetings until you find the right community for you.
12-Step Programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous
12-step meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, etc. (they have everything anonymous these days) are the traditional approach to recovery. The big book of Alcoholics Anonymous was first published in 1939 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob. It’s an old book with a somewhat dated way of looking at sobriety. Many individuals who walk in to 12-step meetings will find plenty of things to not like about this book if they are seeking it. It’s easy for one to get hung up on specific passages in the book and seek flaws in their rhetoric. Addicts are great debaters, arguers, and contrarians. They became masters of this craft by arguing with themselves and others about why drugs and alcohol are not a problem.
However, as I stated above, the content of the approach is not the true mechanism of change. The true mechanism of change is having a support network. Find an AA meeting with people you relate to and build a support network. Find a sponsor at these meeting that can reframe the 12-steps into a more progressive and flexible process. There are plenty of individuals who are great at doing this. They channeled their contrarian skillset into discovering the positive and relatable aspects of the program. You can do the same. There are many universal truths about addiction that Bill W. identified. Also, you don’t have to be an alcoholic to attend AA. They welcome all addicts.
AA Meeting Directory: https://lacoaa.org/find-a-meeting/
Refuge Recovery is a mindfulness-based addiction recovery program. It is non-12-step based. I believe they start off most meetings with a 20-minute guided meditation; at least that is how the meeting I attended was conducted. After the meditation you sit in a circle and discuss what came up for you during the meditation. You are also free to discuss anything else you need support around. You don’t have to enjoy meditation to get something out of these meetings. I dislike meditating, but I found it helpful to take 20 minutes to reflect on the current state of my life. The people at the meeting were kind and I found their presence to be relaxing.
Refuge Recovery Meeting Directory: http://www.refugerecovery.org/meetings-in/
SMART Recovery (Self Management and Recovery Training)
SMART recovery is a scientifically based approach that uses non-confrontational motivational, behavioral and cognitive methods. I have not attended one of these meetings myself, but they sound very interesting. It appears that they have taken evidenced based therapy practices, such as motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy, and implemented it into a free recovery support group, which is fascinating. I intend to attend one of these meetings in the near future to check it out. If you are looking for a different approach to recovery, then I suggest you do the same.
SMART Recovery Meeting Directory: https://www.smartrecovery.org/local/
Any meeting with a community of individuals you can relate with will be of great help to you. Attending a meeting for the first time can be an anxiety provoking experience. If you feel anxious walking into one of these meetings, please know that this is a normal response. However, this is your typical social event. This is place where you can go to talk about you insecurities and reach out for help. People will support you if you let them.