Recover 101, an Introduction to “Working” a 12-Step Program

TCDLA’s Attorney Wellness Committee is holding 12-Step meetings via Zoom at 5:15 on various Wednesdays. We hope to make the meetings more regular, probably every other week. We ask that those who want to participate reserve a seat at the table by preregistering so they can receive a Zoom link for the meeting. The meeting isn’t restricted to a specific type of recovery. In fact, it is an open meeting so attendees don’t have to be practicing a program of recovery. Willingness to grow is what makes these meetings a success for groups and for individuals.

Participants who want to maintain their anonymity can do so by not activating the video component of the Zoom program. In order to maintain complete anonymity, you will want to modify the screen name that is associated with your account.

What is a 12-Step Meeting?

A 12-Step meeting is a meeting of people, most of whom are “working a program of recovery.”

Programs of Recovery include:

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous;
  2. Narcotics Anonymous;
  3. Overeaters Anonymous;
  4. Cocaine Anonymous;
  5. Debtors Anonymous;
  6. Co-Dependents Anonymous; and many others.

A 12-Step meeting is described generally as a discussion among a group of people who seek relief from a pattern of behavior which has resulted in consequences which are not acceptable, or, if acceptable in the past, are no longer acceptable. Often the meeting will begin with the reading of a meditation chosen by the group. The reading is chosen for its potential to encourage a discussion of a topic likely to develop insight into the behavior or circumstances which may underly engaging in maladaptive behaviors. After the reading, one person starts the discussion by sharing thoughts that the reading brought to mind or by sharing their emotional status as it relates to their pursuit of recovery. The next speaker may be sitting next to the first speaker or may be selected in any one of several fashions. Each speaker elaborates on how the reading or the other attendees’ comments effected them. Attendees are free to “pass” if they don’t wish to share. The meeting usually gives all attendees an opportunity to share or ends at a certain, pre-arranged time. The meeting usually closes with a prayer or moment of silent meditation.

Why a 12-Step Meeting?

It is probably clear from the list of applications of the 12 steps that they are applied to many and diverse problematical behaviors and ways of thinking. A surprising element of the usefulness of the steps may be that, in most cases, the cessation of the maladaptive behaviors which bring us into the room is not the basis for the recovery sought. “Our liquor was but a symptom.” Alcoholics Anonymous (The Big Book) p. 64. Anxiety and fear commonly cause the behavior we are trying to end. That is to say that our thinking makes us sick!

It is said that there are many promises in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous which are brought about by 12-step principles. The promises are the result of “working the steps,” and becoming engaged in the work of the program of recovery. The most well-known collection of promises are found on pages 83 and 84 of the Big Book. This section of the book reads,

“We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it. We will comprehend the word serenity and will know peace. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others. That feeling of usefulness and self-pity will disappear. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows. Self-seeking will slip away. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not so for ourselves.”

Who should attend?

If you are currently working a program of recovery which uses one form or another of the Twelve Steps, you are encouraged to bring your recovery to this venue. If you would like to be a part of a 12-step program of recovery and have not tried it yet, we would love to have you. As you may know, or are likely to come to know, there are gifts that each of us give each other when we attend meetings. One gift we receive at meetings like this is the welcoming knowledge that we are not alone. I am usually unable to guess what I need from a meeting and have even less awareness of what I have to give to another attendee and that is when the magic happens.

What can we look forward to?

  • A community of caring people.
  • A group comprised of people who go way beneath the surface to discover how they really feel and why they make the choices they make.
  • A collection of friends that you may not have known before the meeting, but who you come to esteem and respect at depth almost immediately.

Watch for invitations to the meetings on the TCDLA listserve and make your reservations early. I hope to see many of you as we seek to “trudge the road of happy destiny” and learn to accept ourselves.

*I don’t claim to have any particularly deep understanding of any program of recovery, including the program of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is true despite having attended between 3 and 8 meetings per week for a little over 26 years. I have been told that “there are no experts in Alcoholics Anonymous” and I believe that to be the truth both generally and specifically of me.

TCDLA
TCDLA
Rick Wardroup
Rick Wardroup
Rick Wardroup is TCDLA’s curriculum director/staff attorney. He has served as co-course director for TCDLA’s Forensics seminar for the past eight years. His greatest strength is his desire to help attorneys in the development of their trial skills and coping/life-balancing challenges. He can be reached at and 806-763-9900.

Rick Wardroup is TCDLA’s curriculum director/staff attorney. He has served as co-course director for TCDLA’s Forensics seminar for the past eight years. His greatest strength is his desire to help attorneys in the development of their trial skills and coping/life-balancing challenges. He can be reached at and 806-763-9900.

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