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What if I'm not comfortable with parts of the program or some people there?

Discussion in '12-Step Support Groups' started by stagsonline, Oct 28, 2014.

  1. stagsonline

    stagsonline Active Contributor

    It is normal to find some parts of the 12-step meetings odd or even feel uncomfortable about some people attending the support meetings. I have heard some people say that Serenity prayer is odd especially if you are not deeply into religious ways. What should you do about this?
    Damien Lee likes this.
  2. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    You know, religion is in the mind. If you, like the others, think of the Serenity prayer as more a tool of religion than a simple way of strengthening your resolve to recover, then support meetings will not work for you. You should let go of all your preconceived notions and focus on the recovery aspects. See the good side of the program. If you keep on entertaining the negatives, it'll be a long and winding road to a humane existence.
    Nick W. likes this.
  3. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I look at it like those "give a penny, take a penny" trays that they have at gas stations. You take what you need, and you leave what you don't. Since the program isn't ever going to totally conform to what you need, you keep what you can use, and leave the rest behind. As long as your working towards your goals effectively, it really shouldn't matter.
    medievalmama likes this.
  4. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    As stated, pick what you like and discard what you do not. You might not like everyone there, but I guarantee there are people you will really like. My local club actually owns a building where they have dances and parties on the weekends and holidays, they play group games till 3 am after the local bars close. It is more a matter of friends and fellowship that support each other than religion. The Serenity Prayer itself is not religion, it is a way for the addict to relinquish power and the desire to control. Some people keep the coins in their pockets at all time and clutch them when they are "in need of a fix or drink". The coin has no power, and they are not praying to a god. They are symbolically trying to gain strength. Figure out what will give you strength and use it. I admit, the beginning of the meetings can be boring with the reading of the steps and traditions. But it is important for the beginners, and it helps in unity as a group. It discusses goals, and stands as a reminder of what it is you are doing there. It is evidence that it is a serious matter, not a social gathering.
  5. stagsonline

    stagsonline Active Contributor

    I have attended these groups several times not as an addict but to offer support to a friend. The issue with my friend is that he finds it hard relating with strangers. Every time a new member would be introduced, he would start complaining about anything. I later on realized that he was trying to find a way out. The Serenity prayer is not his thing either but he tries and assumes that part.
  6. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    ah.. well here is an idea... find a smaller group. I have a local group that usually only has about six people, and does not offend have newbies. It sounds like your friend was just making up excuses though. If he found a small group, he would probably complain it was too small. Some people just do not want to go and make up any excuse they can. I do the same thing, but not with substances, I do it with food. I make every excuse in the world to eat the chocolate.
  7. stagsonline

    stagsonline Active Contributor

    That is a better idea. He always seems uncomfortable when he is around many people. The other issue with him is that he is yet to have courage to attend these meetings alone. I am always there to offer support to him but I am not seeing any progress especially in his behaviour.
  8. notodrugs

    notodrugs Community Listener Community Listener

    Do you think it looks like he is not being helped anymore by your constant support? What if you leave him alone for a while and tell him you'll come back when he has made a specific kind of progress?

    I agree with all the others here that you don't have to fully embrace all that is taught in the program. You just follow what works well for you. Either your friend does not know that or he is really making an excuse to be out of it. Have you asked him that? Try to maybe that will change his perspective. Or if it's just his excuse, let him know you are also aware of his antic. That may shape him up a bit. However, think of an approach that will not make him defensive all the more. You know your friend better.
  9. sammy

    sammy Active Contributor

    I think the premise of 12 Step groups are great but it really might not be an approach that will work for everyone. For example, I could see a person with social anxiety not doing very well in a larger group that has a constant change in membership due to new members joining and then some members leaving. The previous suggestion of a very small group might be a better fit for your friend. Also, there are online meetings as opposed to in person meetings. Maybe that would be an option for your friend?
  10. frogsandlegos

    frogsandlegos Active Contributor

    I hope you can become comfortable with the group. I just want to enourage you to give it time.

    Another way to look at it is like a grocery store. Take some things you like, and leave the things you don't there. Would you stop shopping at your grocery store because they sold onions and you didn't like onions?

    KUDOS to you for making an effort to quit. Respect yourself enough to resist temptation and take care of yourself. (((HUGS)))
  11. Twinsmommy31

    Twinsmommy31 Active Contributor

    I wouldn't even focus on liking everyone in the group. The main purpose of the group is to focus on your recovery. Its like in life there will be people you dislike but you still keep on going. I say focus on yourself, that is most important.
  12. I know it's a bit of a cliche but I always kept the "take what you need and leave the rest" adage in mind. No two people are the same nor are any two recoveries. I personally don't see any problem with cherry picking or interpreting aspects of the program subjectively.
  13. Kteabc

    Kteabc Member

    Recovery and getting sober is uncomfortable all around. You aren't growing unless you get outside your comfort zone. I hated rehab, meetings, the big book and all the people there for my first month at least. But I kept following their simple directions and before I knew it I felt like I was at home and loved every person there, well almost every person. Just keep doing what you are told no matter how you feel about it or what your mind tells you. It will get better.
  14. medievalmama

    medievalmama Community Listener Community Listener

    What came to my mind is "carry the message, not the alcoholic." But I can definitely sit on my throne of contempt at meetings. People annoy me, meeting formats annoy me. Sometimes I have to shut my eyes and just listen to what is being said instead of focusing on who said it.

    In my opinion, there is way too much Christian influence on the Fellowship. Some places better than others. I cringe when people start talking about "the Lord" or other faith-specific language. Remember, it is god as you understand god. That can be any faith, or no faith. It can be a Group Of Drunks, or Good Orderly Direction. Stick around. There are lots of different types of meetings.
  15. jeremy2

    jeremy2 Community Champion

    I guess the best course of action is to let your concerns be known to the person in charge. The whole purpose of attending those meetings is for you to benefit from it and that won't be possible if you find that environment not being conducive.
  16. juno

    juno Community Champion

    There are 12 step programs in almost every city. If you truly feel like you can't handle it or can't adjust, there is the option to find another meeting. You may have to drive a bit more than you had planned to, but may be it will be worth it in your recovery process.
  17. MrsJones

    MrsJones Community Listener Community Listener

    If your friend has been going to meetings for a short time I can understand why he is uncomfortable he has to get past the superficial feelings. That along with the fact that he is still dealing with trying to recover could be overwhelming to him.

    On the positive side he is attending the meetings. Something to think about though, is his attendance mandatory? If it is, this could very well be why his behavior hasn't made much 'progress.' He could be just waiting for the time for it to be over.
  18. amethyst

    amethyst Community Champion

    I think the best way might be to just ignore the things that you don't like or don't feel an affinity with and focus on the help that is provided to you. If you are serious about giving up drinking, you will find your own way in the group. As for other group members that you might find unsympathetic, remember everyone is struggling and having a hard time. You don't have to be friends with everyone. You are there for the same reason as everyone else is.
  19. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I personally love the serenity prayer :) But I understand why some people might not like it! But let me tell you that is ok not to feel comfortable with some parts of the program or even some people, all is good as long as you think the environment of tat place is good. I've gone to all kind of groups, and let me tell you the kind of environment of said group depends a lot on whoever funded it, and the person said person first attracted... how they interacted, etc.

    So as long the rest of the people there are nice and friendly... I'd not worry too much :) I've attended meetings of groups where the environment was so hostile!
  20. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    People that find AA, or parts of AA, uncomfortable may want to check out SMART Recovery meetings. They are an alternative to 12-step programs. I know several people who have tried SMART Recovery and really like it. This is from the SMART Recovery website:

    Our 4-Point Program®
    The SMART Recovery 4-Point Program offers tools and techniques for each program point:
    1: Building and Maintaining Motivation
    2: Coping with Urges
    3: Managing Thoughts, Feelings and Behaviors
    4: Living a Balanced Life

    [​IMG] Our Approach
    • Teaches self-empowerment and self-reliance.
    • Provides meetings that are educational, supportive and include open discussions.
    • Encourages individuals to recover from addiction and alcohol abuse and live satisfying lives.
    • Teaches techniques for self-directed change.
    • Supports the scientifically informed use of psychological treatments and legally prescribed psychiatric and addiction medication.
    • Works on substance abuse, alcohol abuse, addiction and drug abuse as complex maladaptive behaviors with possible physiological factors.
    • Evolves as scientific knowledge in addiction recovery evolves.
    • Differs from Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous and other 12-step programs.