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Self Help Group Essay

1843 words - 8 pages

I attended the “11th Step” meeting at the Newman Congregational Church. The 11th Step uses meditation as a form of recovery. This was an open Alcoholics Anonymous meeting that takes place every Tuesday night. It was very difficult to find a meeting that was convenient for my schedule. They frequently took place at night when I had class, or on weekend mornings when I had to work. I originally sought help from a previous professor in finding a support group, however, Courtney and I ended up finding this particular one on our own through searching the internet. Although it was difficult for me to find a group that was convenient, I believe this particular time is the most accessible to ...view middle of the document...

(I did however go home to search for AA meetings for young adults! Unfortunately, I did not find any with open meetings.) The group ended up consisting of about 20 people, many where middle aged but a few older adults also sat in attendance. The race and gender of this group was very wide spread. This showed me that the group was welcoming to all different individuals.
This meeting has a specific agenda that everyone seemed to understand, every chair contained a book which described the 12 Steps of Recovery that is used for many AA groups. To understand what each member of the group was dealing with both mentally and physically it was important to understand how they defined alcoholism. AA teaches that “ “alcoholism” is a disease that the alcoholic cannot cure alone. He or she need no longer feel guilty about being an alcoholic”(Kirst-Ashman & Hull, 2012 pp. 271). Without understanding that, I do not believe that attending this meeting would have taught me anything.
To begin, new members were asked to introduce themselves, but where not forced to if they did not want to speak. The group then took turns reading from the 12-Step book. Im not sure if they were all required to read a part of the chapter or if everyone was willing but I enjoyed seeing everyone participate. Some members looked over our way to see if we would participate in the readings but a women next to us continued instead. She continuously smiled at us throughout the meeting, it seems as if she was trying to make us as comfortable as possible. It showed me that the group has formed a relationship with each other and gives everyone a chance to speak. Once the portion of the book was finished, the group began a meditation. One person led the mediation and gave everyone instructions on how to relax themselves and to be thankful that they had made it to another AA meeting. Participating in the mediation was even relaxing for me. They did focus on their struggles as alcoholics but talked about the struggles of life in general and how to relieve yourself of every day stressors. Meditating with the group made me feel less awkward than I had walking into the door and gave me a strong feel for the meeting. The meditation lead members into the part of the meeting where individuals could volunteer to share experiences from within the last week or overall in their life. Every story was unique and yet they all shared a common bond about their experiences.
One woman had the largest impact on me. Not because her story was shocking or scary but instead because she shared how her ex-husband (who was also in attendance) was always “the alcoholic” in the family. Krist-Ashman & Hull says how alcoholism has a large impact on the dynamics of a family. Alcoholism “affects the entire family, what happens to one family member affects all others” (Kirst-Ashman & Hull , 2012 pp. 270). Seeing both members attend a meeting to support each other, regardless of the fact that they are no long together,...

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