Monday, July 16, 2012

Meetings

I want to take a moment and talk about the LDS Addiction Recovery Meetings.  I know a lot of you may have never attended a recovery meeting and so I want to give you a run down of what what to expect and my experience as well as answer some general questions that I myself asked before I attended for my first time.

Most of us have some idea of what a recovery meeting will look like even from limited exposure to the AA format through TV shows or movies.  Generally, this is how a meeting looks.

The seating arrangement in LDS meetings is always in a circle although the seats themselves can vary depending on location. 

Most LDS 12 Step meetings are an hour and a half long.  Some noon meetings last only an hour to accommodate a lunch hour for those that are working.

When first arriving at the meeting the room will be set up and there will usually be two missionaries and one or two facilitators to greet the participants as they filter in. 

There is a very light and war feeling in these meetings.  Remember, the Spirit dwells there.

When entering the room participants sit in the circle and wait for the meeting to begin.  For the first half hour of the meeting the missionaries conduct the study of the steps.  We study one of the 12 steps each week, in order, by each participant reading a paragraph of the step and progressing in the circle until the entire step has been read.  In some meetings we stop every few paragraphs and have discussion on the paragraphs just read.  I love this part of the meeting.  This is where we teach one another how to use the Steps.  It's awesome. :-)

Once the study of the step is complete, the facilitator (an addict with good recovery) then begins the sharing portion of the meeting by sharing their own experience of the step discussed and bearing testimony of their recovery.  The facilitator will then open it up for group sharing.  In 12-step tradition each person starts their sharing with some variation of "Hi, my name is ____."  In LDS 12-step tradition one person will start the sharing and then sharing will progress in a circle around the room giving everyone the opportunity to share.  It is NOT a requirement to share.  If someone doesn't want to share, that is totally OK.  We simply ask that they say their name so we can welcome them and then say "pass."

Once everyone that wants to share has shared, the time is turned back over to the missionaries for closing thoughts and a prayer.  Most meetings then have a "meeting after the meeting" period where participants linger to ask questions and to get phone numbers.

Some other questions that some of you might have:

How large is the group?

Group size really can vary.  I've seen as little as 3-4 people at a group all the way up to close to 30 in a group.  It depends on the type of group and the season.

Is it men and women?

General ARP (Addiction Recovery Program) meetings for family support and addicts are mixed men and women.  PASG (Pornography Addiction Support Group) meetings are separate meetings for men and women.  Currently there are only PASG family support group meetings for women (in the Utah County mission).

Is there sponsorship?
Yes.  Sponsorship is a huge part of recovery.  I am going to be writing an entire other blog post on sponsorship.  Once I do, I will link that post in here.

Group has been an absolute essential part of my recovery.  I would not be as far along as I am in my recovery if I didn't have it.  Group creates an environment of unity in the Savior but also unity with each other.  There is something very powerful about numbers.  We are not as alone, exposed and vulnerable to the predatory advances of the adversary.  On top of that I have made some of the sweetest most exquisite friendships that I have ever had with women from the group I attend; friendships that I know will last throughout all eternity. 

One song that I really love that sums up beautifully how I feel about group is Utopia by Alanis Morissette:





If you have any questions that were not answered in the post, please either post in the comments section to this post, or you can use the Contact Me feature located in the tabs above.  I would love to hear your questions!

Also - if any of you have had experience with these meetings and would be willing to share your testimonies of your experience there, whether anonymously or not, I'd love to hear from you.  Depending on the response I may just add the stories to this post or create a whole new one:-)
Oh and if you are looking for a meeting - you can find one here. :-)

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Ezekiel 34:11-12,16

"For thus saith the Lord God; Behold, I, even I, will both search my sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered; so will I seek out my sheep, and will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick"