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Jan Edward Williams, MS, JD, LCADC
AlcoholDrugSOS Services, Ltd.
Addiction has a powerful hold on those seeking to recover from it. In early recovery the individual commonly feels alone, afraid, misunderstood, and is almost minute by minute buffeted by messages and impulses to do what has become an engrained response to life's realities, namely, to pick up a drink or a drug, or both. The recovering person, therefore, desperately needs a safe harbor to shelter in even if only for an hour or so. A home group in AA, NA, or Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, or Families Anonymous can provide such a shelter. A home group is a 12 Step group that meets once a week (usually), and can be found in the 12 Step Group Directory for each area in the U.S. (readily available by searching in Google for your city, for ex., AA meetings, Baltimore). Pick out, say, three or four groups accessible to you and attend them perhaps 4-5 times, looking for the following characteristics. The group should have a solid core of home group members--you can tell this by whether the group announces it is open for new members at each meeting and identifies members by having them raise their hands, and perhaps has a greeter for newcomers at the start of meetings. It would be helpful if the group members are persons you can relate to and that the meetings that you attend have speakers with long term sobriety who talk about the 12 Steps. It is simple to join a home group: all you need to do is go up after the meeting to the secretary of the group (the person who starts the meeting, introduces the speaker, etc.), or another home group member, and say, "I want to join your group." You will then be asked your first name and initial of last name, telephone number, and your sobriety date, and will then be introduced to other home group members. At some point you may be asked to help out with the meeting by setting up chairs, making coffee, and the like. The implied minimal commitment made by joining a home group is that you will attend that group every week. Joining a home group is just another way to invest in your recovery; to help you to feel less lonely and more a part of the 12 Step Program to which you belong. As always, I invite comments and questions. Jan Williams, 05/23/2012.
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