Recovery and Support Groups

Recovery/Support Group Meeting

Grand Canyon University: PCN-501

April 20, 2016

Recovery/Support Group Meeting


The Recovery Support Strategic Initiative was established by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in order “to promote partnering with people in recovery from mental and substance use disorder and their family members to guide the behavioral system and promote individual, program, and system-level approaches” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2015). These approaches “foster health and resilience; increase housing to support recovery; reduce barriers to employment, education, and other life goals; and secure necessary social supports in their chosen community” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2015). According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (2015), “Recovery support is provided through treatment, services, and community-based programs by behavioral health care providers, peer providers, family members, friends and social networks, the faith community, and people with experience in recovery”.

Alcoholics Anonymous, AA, is a “community-based support group” for individuals who have or continue to suffer from alcohol use disorder (Doweiko, 2015, p.514). This summary will discuss a graduate student’s experience in attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. This will include the location, format, contents, concepts and purpose of the meeting. Additional specifics of support groups will also be explored in this summary.

Part One: Summarize the Meeting


The Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was hosted by the Friendship Group and it took place at Rebos Clubhouse.Rebos Clubhouse is located on 219 North Parkway Suite 6 in Jackson, Tennessee. The meeting took place on Saturday, April 16, 2016. It began promptly at 10 a.m. and concluded at 11:10 a.m.


The Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was called to order by T. He introduced himself by saying “my name is T. and I am an alcoholic”. T. opened the meeting with a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer: “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference” (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 2015). T. asked that all cell phones either be turned off of or on vibrate and that there be no interrupting others while they are talking. He proceeded with the Alcoholics Anonymous Preamble which states that a desire to stop drinking is the only AA membership requirement. T. allowed new members and visitors to introduce themselves. Afterwards, he reviewed the announcements to inform the members of upcoming events. J. introduced himself and read “How it Works” from the AA Big Book. M. introduced himself and reviewed the 12 steps. The 12 steps are not a requirement for members but are a suggested guide to achieving long-term recovery (Doweiko, 2015, p.516). O. introduced himself and reviewed the thought, meditation, and prayer of the day. There was not a keynote speaker present for this specific meeting. The topic for the day was “The Miracle of Wanting to Change”. T. read an excerpt by Bill Wilson from the Big Book. He then opened the floor for discussion. After the discussion, T. presented chips for being sober 30 days, resentment chips, and chips to those that were interested in starting the program. The 7th Tradition basket was passed around for those that wanted to donate or contribute monetarily and the meeting was closed by everyone joining hands and reciting the Lord’s Prayer in unison.


As stated in the previous section, the topic of the hour was “The Miracle of Wanting to Change”. The group leader—T—emphasized how having the desire to change plays a major role in a successful recovery. He shared experiences from his journey to recovery and he stated that each time he relapsed, it was due to him not having the initial desire to quit. After T shared his story, others became more comfortable with opening up about their experiences. S. introduced himself and shared with the group how he had to hit “rock bottom” before having the desire to make a change. He stated that he lost three wives in the process and he has a distant relationship with children. S. said that he did not realize how serious his illness was until he pulled up in the parking lot for a rehab session and had to get high off his drug of choice before going inside the building. At that point, S. said that he was sick and tired of having to depend on drugs and alcohol to make him feel good.

The atmosphere of the AA meeting was very warming and welcoming. The members offered each other positive support and motivation to continue their journey. It was very evident that abstinence from alcohol can be a struggle, at times, but it is also a normal component of the treatment and recovery process. As T. stated when reading the AA Preamble, the only requirement is the desire.

Part Two: Discuss Concepts and Methods


This specific meeting was a 12-step meeting. It was emphasized that if these 12 steps can be successfully completed then refraining from using alcohol would be more desirable and seem much easier to achieve. The Big Book was used as well as the Bible to read an excerpt passage and scripture. The Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer were both utilized during the AA meeting.


The 12 steps were utilized because it is “the core of Alcoholics Anonymous” (Doweiko,

2015, p.516). The goal of AA is to “offer individuals a new lifestyle that they hopefully will adopt in place of their alcohol-centered former lives” (Doweiko, 2015, p.516). The 12 steps are a “guide to this transition” (Doweiko, 2015, p.516). The Big Book and the Bible were utilized to provide literary support on from a personal and spiritual perspective. Lastly, the Serenity Prayer and the Lord’s Prayer were incorporated in the meeting due to the spiritual component of AA. According to Doweiko (2015), “The AA program is designed to place emphasis on spiritual growth, without addressing religious issues” (p.527).


For recovery and support groups, a closed meeting “is for those individuals who identify themselves as addicts or for those who are uncertain and think they might have a drug or alcohol problem” (Narcotics Anonymous, 2016). Closed meetings provide “an atmosphere in which addicts can feel more certain that those attending will be able to identify with them, and share their experience, strength, and hope” (Narcotics Anonymous, 2016). In contrast, anyone may attend open meetings such as family members, probation officers, health professionals, and other members in the community. Most of those who attend open meetings are interested in how abusers “have found recovery from the disease of addiction” (Narcotics Anonymous, 2016).Open meetings allow individuals from the outside to see how recovery and support groups function (Narcotics Anonymous, 2016).

According to Addictions and Recovery (2016), “The 12 steps are a model for self-change”. It focuses on how to create a new life that makes it easier to refrain from any substance use (Addictions and Recovery, 2016). Doweiko (2015) stated that “The first step is the only one that mentions alcohol by name” (p.516). It “asks the individual to make a conscious choice to admit that she or he is powerless over alcohol on the deepest level of his or her being” (Doweiko, 2015, 516). Steps 1-3 “focus on helping the individual make a profound choice: First to confront the social stigma associated with the addiction, second, accept that this disease does affect the individual, and third, admit that the individual is powerless over alcohol: (Doweiko, 2015, p.516). These steps also include “the act of surrendering and turning one’s life over to a “Higher Power” of the individual’s choice” (Doweiko, 2015, p.516). Doweiko (2015) mentioned that “Steps 4-9 are a series of change-oriented procedures designed to help the individual (a) identify, (b) confront, and (c) ultimately overcome the personal character shortcomings that are thought to support the individual’s addiction” (p.516). Lastly, “steps 10-12 challenge the individual to continue to build on the foundation established in earlier steps” (Doweiko, 2015, p.517).

In a treatment and recovery process, having a sponsor is an intricate part of a 12-step program. “A sponsor is a former addict who has time and experience remaining sober and can provide support” when an individual feels the urge to use (Addictions and Recovery, 2016). A sponsor guides and teaches through the 12 steps and recovery.When choosing a sponsor, an individual must consider the form of the sponsor’s recovery and his/her serenity (Addictions and Recovery, 2016). It is also suggested that the sponsor is the opposite sex to prevent romantic feelings from developing (Addictions and Recovery, 2016).

A home group is a meeting than an individual attends regularly and feels comfortable. Being able to choose and identify a home group plays an important role in the recovery process. Home groups provides a place of support and belonging for individuals. Bonds and friendships are formed as each individual grows closer together.Members of home groups hold each other accountable and celebrate each other’s milestones in recovery (Narcotics Anonymous, 2016).


In conclusion, recovery and support groups can be very beneficial to one’s recovery. “Groups organized around therapeutic goals can enrich members with insight and guidance; and during times of crisis can comfort” and be a source of guidance (Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, 2005). Group meetings allow addicts to witness, firsthand, other individuals who have had a successful recovery. This provides encouragement and motivation to refrain from using. Group meetings teach member effective coping skills to replace their substance abuse by seeing how others have dealt with similar issues (Center for Substance Abuse, 2005). Although there are multiple recovery and support groups with different concepts and methods, they all serve the same purpose which is to help recovering addicts achieve life-long sobriety.


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