The question that used to haunt me during early recovery was whether or not I need to join a support group and attend meetings in order to stay clean and sober. Since Iím an introvert, I donít feel comfortable in large groups and the idea alone adds a large piece of stress onto my already full plate.
Why I Decided to Attend Meetings
Surrounding yourself with people who are on a similar path gives you a sense of unity and, to be honest, it helps you realize youíre no longer alone struggling to overcome addiction. Although my wife, parents, and some of my friends were all there for me during the first months after rehab, I couldnít help but feel they are simply unable to grasp my situation.
Perhaps this was the primary reason I decided to follow my therapistís advice and seek a support group that fit me. That and the fact that everything was new to me and I had no clue what to make of it. Regardless of how silly you will consider my argument now, the truth is that you donít need to find everything out by yourself.
The Negative Side of Meetings
Because Iíve never been a religious person, you can imagine that I dreaded the idea of having to attend the popular AA meetings. Well, I must confess that back then I was less informed on the matter and thought that support groups with secular beliefs donít exist. I was wrong and frankly, Iím still embarrassed that I never bothered to search for this online.
The fact that I didnít know about the alternatives and attended AA meetings caused me to seek out their negative side. In my head, I thought that if I brought this up to my wife and parents, they will immediately agree with me and I will not be forced to attend the meetings anymore.
The problem with the AA meetings, as I see it, starts from their view on addiction and recovery. Even though it was never in the open, I felt that therewas a subtle pressure from the group to accept their views. Seeing what happened to my friend Dan and the perspective of having a lifetime dedicated to worshiping was off-putting, to say the least. But more on that some other time.
Support Groups and Meetings Donít Have to be Physical
While I was lucky enough to find a support group that shared my secular view on life, now I know you donít actually have to attend meetings to get the help you need. If you donít feel comfortable with the idea or youíve been ACTIVELY been searching for a group you can relate to without success, then I suggest trying the online medium. Simply put, you can become a member of an online recovery community and get support that way.
The wide accessibility of the internet has been a game changer for me when it comes to alcohol addiction recovery and provides you with the means to freely access all the information you need. Therefore, if the perspective of attending meetings or joining groups who donít share your views scares you, remember you donít have to take this path. Go online and search for pointers or for the help you actually need – just like what you are doing here, reading this post!