Should you do 90 meetings in 90 days, as they tend to recommend in the 12 step fellowships such as AA and NA?
As much as I advocate against the 12 step approach, and as much as I harp on the idea that you do not really need meetings in order to recover, I actually do recommend that a newcomer give this method a try, especially if other methods have failed them.
I did 90 in 90 when I first got into recovery. I’m glad I did it, and I would probably do it again if I were just getting sober today. Knowing what I know now, it is still a good investment of your time in early recovery.
Would I recommend it to someone who has been sober for a few years? Not necessarily.
My philosophy of recovery is that you need to start out in learning mode. You have to soak up a bunch of knowledge when you are first getting clean and sober, and daily meetings are a great place to get this form of input. Another reason that they are critical is so that you can stay “plugged in” to recovery mode. We can literally forget that we are recovering addicts and alcoholics (even if you are incredibly smart or very sharp), and meetings help us to remember that we are on guard against relapse. I can’t explain it much better than that, other than to say that you really need a ton of action in the first few months of your recovery in order to stay “plugged in” to recovery.
Networking is also a huge part of early recovery. They say “stick with the winners.” This is really all that matters. There are a lot of people at meetings that are not useful to you, other than to show you an example of what NOT to do in recovery. There are only a few people at every meeting that really have what you want to emulate. Stick close to those people and make them part of your recovery network. Don’t just stick with the winners, either. Avoid the losers. Is that a terrible thing to say? Maybe. But social conditioning definitely happens in recovery, and if you allow yourself to associate with those who have a bad or negative attitude towards recovery, then it will rub off on you too. So stick with the winners and steer clear of the losers.
Later in your recovery, meetings become much less important, and the shift is towards one of personal growth and holistic health. But in the beginning, daily meetings make a lot of sense.