Finding the great meetings.
In my work, I come in contact regularly with people who want to get clean and stay clean. They are motivated to do what it takes. But, when I bring up meetings, right away they bring up excuses. They don’t believe me when I tell them that there are some really great meetings out there.
They say meetings make them want to use.
Meetings make them want to relapse. Drug dealers hang out at meetings. All they talk about is drugs and getting high. All of the drug talk during the meeting is a trigger to use.
My experience of meetings is different.
I have been to the ones where the speaker goes on and on about the war story of using. However, usually, the speaker carries a message of strength, experience and hope.
Are the people I advise lying to me? Do they just want to avoid getting help? I don’t know. There are good and bad meetings. I do have some general advise that seems to help me find the good ones.
I tend to avoid the “clubhouse” meetings whenever possible.
It is great that places exist that are dedicated to meetings, all day, every day. And, it is not to say that there are not great meetings in these facilities. Yet, if a meeting is late at night and is the same meeting every night of the week, in my experience, I have found these to be the meetings that attract a rougher crowd. They seem to have less recovery, less clean time.
While I have never been approached by a drug dealer inside or outside of a meeting, I have been in meetings where the atmosphere made me uncomfortable. I could imagine hooking up with a new using buddy and going for a run.
The good meetings seem to be early morning or early evening.
I have also been to some incredible lunchtime meetings. The daily midday meeting seems to be an exception to the rule about avoiding meetings that meet every day of the week.
Any meeting can be a great meeting.
The fact is that my made up rules about good and bad meetings are, for the most part, meaningless. I would hate to steer someone away from going to that one great meeting where someone truly speaks to them and says what they really need to hear.
Keep coming back.
Probably, the better solution is to just go to a lot of meetings. First, find out how to find meetings in your area. Find a lot of them. Go to 90 meetings in 90 days. Or, if you have the time, go to 180, 270 or even 360 in 90 days. Meet people and get phone numbers. Don’t just get any numbers. Get the ones of the people who are clean. The ones who do service and work the program. Find out what meetings they go to. Before long, you will find that all of the meetings you go to are great meetings.