Which 12-Step Fellowship is Right for Me?

For those new in recovery, you have probably been surprised to find a wide variety of substance or behavior specific 12 step support groups in your area. Everything from Cocaine Anonymous to Overeaters Anonymous to Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous is available to you, providing a community of individuals who understand exactly what it is you are going through. However, there are a few things to keep in mind as you delve into each of these fellowships in order to determine which meetings, home groups, and sober supports are a good fit for you and your recovery.

The most important characteristic of any 12 step recovery group is a track record of successful sobriety among its members. There are new recovery meetings sprouting up every day, and many make some effort to reinvent the wheel in terms fo the recovery process. For those in early recovery, it is far better to stick with what has been shown to work. In this case, that is the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous or, if you prefer, Narcotics Anonymous. Here you will find hundreds of years of cumulative sobriety among group members, a broad pool of sponsors from which to choose, and a pre-built support network in the form of phone lists and homegroup members. You can certainly incorporate some of these newly formed meetings and support groups into your weekly schedule, but the bulk of your fellowship should occur within these tried and true 12 step meetings.

When it comes to the decision between the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous and those of Narcotics Anonymous, your choice should be based on where you feel most comfortable and where you feel the recovery is strongest. A common opinion you will hear floating around the rooms of recovery is that Narcotics Anonymous is the more accepting and welcoming fellowship, while Alcoholics Anonymous is more traditional, structured, and regimented. It is possible to achieve lasting sobriety while working a program of recovery in either fellowship, so take this opportunity to practice some self-honesty and think about what it is you need the most - love and patience or accountability and structure.

One of the gifts of sobriety is a restoration of our ability to make choices for ourselves. No longer do substances run our lives - we are free to choose our activities and companions for ourselves once again. An early choice that must be made in sobriety is in which 12 step fellowship you are going to work your recovery program. There is no clear cut right or wrong answer to this question, so long as you are choosing meetings, sober supports, and sponsors who are as committed to the recovery process as you are. Surround yourself with winners, and you too can succeed in sobriety!