Importance of Going to Meetings
Much has changed about addiction treatment in the last few decades.
PET Scans and MRI’s have given scientists greater insight than ever before into just what happens to a brain on drugs and alcohol. This growing body of knowledge has also spearheaded more effective pharmacological interventions, enhanced existing conventional therapeutic programs and even validated a number of alternative remedies. In the midst of these changes the importance of going to meetings as an essential form of continuous care has remained a constant.
Most addicts are keenly aware that their journey from addiction to a sober lifestyle does not end after treatment. However, even those who are initially zealous about their sobriety often reach a point when they feel they no longer need the structure of meetings. Those who abandon this critical component of long term recovery are very often surprised when their sobriety is derailed by a relapse. For those just leaving rehab, participation in daily meetings are vital for the following reasons:
a) Most addicts feel unprepared to reengage with society without the ongoing support provided in the meeting forum.
b) Meetings help to lay the groundwork for sustainable sobriety.
c) Regular attendance and interaction with others help people in recovery to maintain the discipline established for them in recovery that was lost while going through the cycles of addiction.
d) Meetings help recovering addicts to fill time typically spent drinking or in the obsessive seeking and compulsive using of drugs.
e) The group setting enables the development of new friendships and safer socializing opportunities.
f) Meetings provide opportunities to help share stories and ideas that help others which also encourage commitment to long term sobriety.
The 90 meetings in 90-day format has been shown to help people just leaving rehab to stay committed to sobriety during the most precarious part of their recovery journey. It also significantly increases the odds that they will implement the 12-Step process and follow through on promises, commitments and more firmly establish habits started in rehab.
People that have been abstinent for a period of time also need to consider lifetime aftercare as part of their sobriety maintenance plan. Although daily meetings at this stage of recovery are usually not necessary, having a regularly scheduled group meeting is important to…
a) Have a strong support system that can provide help to deal significant life occurrences and changes that may create undue stress and trigger a relapse such as work related situations, marriage, divorce or the death of a loved one to name a few.
b) Consistently reiterate the importance of vigilance in avoiding known addiction triggers.
c) Have a forum to explore issues and obstacles that may sabotage their ability to say sober and get feedback and support from the counselors and other participants.
d) Enable the person in recovery to stay strong as well as evolve and grow as they engage in the valuable process of helping to support, motivate and encourage newcomers and each other.
Meetings provide a venue where ideas can be shared that consistently add new tools and techniques to the recovering addict’s sobriety maintenance arsenal to combat potentially dangerous relapse events. According to a study in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, meetings are vital to the recovery process because people who regularly and consistently attend meetings typically stay sober, while those who don’t or attend randomly are at greater risk of experiencing a relapse. The ultimate goal of and most important reason for going to meetings is to prevent a return to the drug abuse lifestyle by sustaining long term sobriety.