5 Suggestions for the Newcomer Pt. 1
Since the action part of the program begins on step 4, all newcomers are in the fellowship, not the program. We are “in the program” when we are writing on a 4th step with the direction of a sponsor, not before. Many newcomers will not enter the program. Fact, a sad one albeit true. FELLOWSHIP is loosely defined as “a group of people who share a common interest or idea” (i.e., a chess club, or a fan club of Star Trek supporters, commonly referred to as “Trekkies”). PROGRAM is loosely defined as “a set of instructions.” No one ever goes “in and out of the program.” It’s impossible to go in and out of a “set of instructions.” However, as a result of not taking the instructions, many go in and out of the fellowship.
The recovery industry has many levels, starting at detox and funneling all the way to a sober living facility of some sort. All have merit and value. The focused goal is the same for all: recovery. Substance treatment centers whether they are: IOP treatment or outpatient treatment center often handle the clinical healing while preparing and assisting the client to peruse a 12 step fellowship to address the spiritual healing. Both are needed. Somewhere along the pipeline of the industry in most drug treatment programs, outside 12 step meetings are brought in. The learned suggestions must be practiced. The different forms of transitional housing like a halfway home, sober house, men’s sober living, or women’s sober living are where a recovery program for true sober life can be adequately be practiced. The following is a can’t fail system to ensure 12 step emersion of anyone seeking a foolproof solution. Share this info with any loved ones in need to increase their odds of success exponentially.
Here are 5 suggestions that will ensure abstinence while finding a sponsor and getting into the program. They are cumulative and must be worked together. A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. If combined these suggestions will never fail!
MEETINGS– Although meeting makers only make meetings, they are a huge part of recovery in general. They are not in and of themselves the answer but are imperative. Newcomers should attend daily. Typically, the healthiest meetings are literature based, step-based or men’s and women’s meetings. It also appears that the early meetings tend to be a bit more serious. Not many people get up at 6 am to go to a meeting to find romance or other forms of outside distraction. If the people in the meetings you are going to are paying more attention to their outfit than their literature, that’s not a good sign. Are we going to meetings for appearance or effectiveness?
LITERATURE – Read the Big Book or NA Basic Text. It’s not expected that we will completely understand and apply what we read. What we will do however has become more familiar with its language. We call it the “Language of the Solution.” As an addict, our automatic built-in – bs detector will help us identify who is sharing what’s “real.” When we feel or are moved by a speaker, we call that the “Language of the Heart.” Inspiration often follows passion. But “real” or “raw” doesn’t always mean it’s true in recovery. We use the literature as a filter for TRUTH. This is no different than the Christian who uses the Bible, the Muslim who uses the Koran, or Jew who uses the Torah as the standard of TRUTH. Although reading the literature alone rarely translates to personal application of its instructions, it can be beneficial. One of the major benefits is familiarity with the literature will bring familiarity with its language, again “The Language of the SOLUTION.” This will allow for pattern recognition. Recovery is full of themes. People who speak the “Language of the Solution” are easy to find. They speak on these themes often. Authentic recovery is consistent.
Some of these themes are:
Sponsorship, sponsees, 12 Steps, God, Higher Power, Helping Others, Prayer, Meditation, Inventory, Resentment, Selfishness, Step work, service, Bill W. & Dr. Bob, Jimmy K., the Basic Text and the Big Book.
Even though someone may be passionate, that doesn’t mean they are correct. All kinds of misinformation are often thrown around in the rooms. Be careful. “The Language of the Solution” and “The Language of the Heart” are both relevant, but heart not backed by solution can be dangerous. Many people in history have been enthusiastically led to death by blindly following passion devoid of TRUTH.
NETWORK – So we are going to meetings and reading the book. We’re doing the first two suggestions to make the third a possibility. Building a network is critical. Often called a support group, here we will refer to this team as a “NETwork.” If you were falling, you would probably want a NET to catch you. A few sober addicts or alcoholics that we trust and already talk with can make all the difference in the world when it counts the most. All human beings will let us down at one point or another. That’s why we need a few. If we are not already comfortable with someone, we probably won’t call them when we need help.
If we are going to a meeting a day and listening for the people, who are speaking solution we have a great start. Here is where the rubber meets the road. If we do the most laborious task of collecting and calling some phone numbers, we will have our NETwork. (See the METHOD and THE FORMULA in Part 2)