Tool 16: LIVE 12-Step Groups
Because the 12 Steps are truly a life-changing set of principles as we discussed above, often they can be internalized properly only through joining a live face-to-face group. Trying to give up our will to Hashem is hard, since He is abstract to us. But by learning to give up our will in the group, and learning how to share honestly with the group and our sponsor, we are able to learn how to give up our will and be honest with Hashem as well.
Through the group, we learn how to work the steps into our lives, and we are able to see what others do to break free and follow their example. We get to hear the real-life stories of others who were even worse off than us, and watch as they miraculously recover. We share hope, strength and experience with the rest of the group and feel a strong sense of “accountability”. And we get a sponsor (from the group) who has good sobriety, and we work closely with him on implementing the steps into our daily lives.
One addict, who is sober in a 12 Step program now for many years wrote:
I didn't get sober until I was desperate to stop and reached out frantically for help. A drowning person does not quit until they feel safe again. B”H for me it wasn't just a moshol (parable), I really felt I was dying, so I didn't give up.
I was told to go to meetings to meet other people and be introduced to the real me by looking at them. The support was tremendous.
Still, many come to meetings and do not get sober. They leave after two or three meetings and stay out there. The next thing I needed was faith in the steps - at least temporary faith, so I'd give it a shot. Nothing else worked, so I had nothing to lose and everything to gain, for I saw that the way things were going I was about to lose it all.
And I have not yet turned my back on the knowledge that I am just as close to losing it all today, too. And if that ever becomes “just words”, I believe I'll be lost for good. I don't think I'd be able to hold onto that reality without at least some live in-person connection.