M Meetings are attended for various reasons. For some individuals, meetings are attended in a response to a temptation, trigger, or craving to use or abuse a drug. For others, meetings are attended for those who are ‘working the steps’. Meetings are considered the fellowship portion of the program, where people in recovery gather and talk about things that are pertinent to recovery. The anonymous programs are inside either the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous or the Narcotics Anonymous Basic Text. The 12 Steps are in a specific order, so the recovering addict does not become overwhelmed in completing these steps or rush through them. It is important for the person working the steps to take their time and work each step as thoroughly and honestly as possible. After going through the first 11 of the steps, you will come to the 12th step here you are able to take someone else who was struggling like you were, through their steps.
The proceedings of these meetings do not have a rigid structure, but are more flexible to suit the recovering addict’s needs. Sometimes, benchmarks of sobriety are announced or celebrated. For many, staying sober for 24 hours is a huge achievement and is recognized and celebrated. If a member has been sober for a longer period of time, this can be celebrated as well. Chips, coin shaped tokens or key tags are given to indicate milestones of sobriety as an achievement for their hard work and dedication. This is a general overview of what happens at a 12 Step meeting.
Moments of silence:
Meetings will open with a moment of silence for those who are still suffering in their disease or who are struggling in their recovery. This moment of silence was taken for every person who is in attendance at some point. Many people die every day not knowing that there is a different way of life. This moment is followed by the:
Every 12 Step fellowship is a spiritually based program, they are by no means a religious program. When people are involved in a 12 Step program it is suggest that people find a Higher Power of their own understanding. The serenity prayer helps open the meeting by establishing a connection with a Higher Power of everyone’s understanding.
Read the 12 Step literature:
Each meeting is started by reading specific readings from each fellowship, these reading vary from fellowship to fellowship but all usually include reading the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions. It is important to devote the beginning of each meeting to reading literature to help embrace the program and it helps any newcomers get acquainted with the steps and the fellowship they are in.
There are many different format types for meetings. Some of these are speaker, speaker topic, topic, book study, step study, open, closed, discussion, men’s, women’s, young people, LBGT, new comers, or other literature meetings. All this information is stated when the meeting opens.
Speakers and Sharing:
During this portion of the meeting, depending on the type, people will share their experience on the topic of discussion. Typically sharing is limited to 3 to 5 minutes so others have a chance to share. Here people are able to talk about where they are in recovery, if they are struggling or whatever maybe going on in their life. It is also where people are able to hear the message of hope from people who have fallen on hard times and still made it through with their recovery intact. This portion makes up the majority of the meeting.
Before the meeting closes the person who is chairing the meeting will ask if anyone has a burning desire. A burning desire can be the urge to use, to hurt yourself or to hurt someone else. It helps to share those feelings in the meeting to take some of the power away from them.
At the end of the meeting there will be another moment of silence signifying respect for those who are still suffering with addiction, or are suffering in their recovery. Following the moment of silence the meeting closes with a prayer.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA)
Heroin Anonymous (HA)
Pills Anonymous (PA)
The Traditions are to the fellowship what the steps are to the individual.
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on AA (NA, CA, CMA, HA, PA) unity.
2. For our Group purpose there is but one ultimate authority - a loving God as He may express Himself in our Group conscience, our leaders are but trusted servants, they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. (using)
4. Each Group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting other Groups, or AA (NA...), as a whole.
5. Each Group has but one primary purpose--to carry the message to the alcoholic (addict) who still suffers.
6. An AA (NA...) Group ought never endorse, finance or lend the AA (NA etc) name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property or prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7. Every AA (NA...) Group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous (NA...) should remain forever nonprofessional, but our Service Centers may employ special workers.
9. AA (NA...), as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. AA (NA...) has no opinion on outside issues; hence, the AA (NA...) name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Neukrug, E. (2011). Counseling theory and practice. Australia: Brooks/Cole, Cengage Learning.
Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Treatment of Adolescents with Substance Use Disorders. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 1999. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 32.) Chapter 4—Twelve-Step-Based Programs. Available from: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64351/