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{New to Recovery}

Below is some basic information to get you started on your journey of recovery.

What's a Newcomer?

Newcomer is the term usually given to someone that is new to 12 step recovery. It's not meant to be derogatory or belittling in any way. In fact, people who may have relapsed and returned to recovery, often refer to themselves as a newcomer. There is no set time that someone "stops" being a newcomer. Again, it depends on the individual's experience within their 12 step program. Usually newcomers are encouraged to go to many meetings, get a sponsor, begin working steps, create a network of support, and keep coming back.

Basic 12 Step Terminology

Like all things in life, 12 step recovery comes packaged with a whole new genre of language and terms. Sometimes it hard to decipher everything that is being said. Here's some basic terms and saying that you will often hear in a 12 step meeting.

  • The 12 Steps: The basic guiding principles of any 12 step program. Originally proposed by Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) as a method of recovery from alcoholism,[1] the Twelve Steps were first published in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism in 1939.
  • The 12 Traditions: The guiding spiritual principles for a program of recovery. These are typically utilized for guidance on relationships between 12 step groups, individuals, an entire fellowship, and society as a whole.
  • Big Book: Commonly used when referring to the book Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • Basic Text: Refers to the primary book of Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Anonymity: A tradition of 12 step programs, anonymity ensures the protection of individual's identities displayed in meetings by the use of first names only. Anonymity is also viewed as a spiritual principle - being no more or less important than another.
  • Sobriety or Clean Time: Refers to the number of consecutive days without the use of alcohol or drugs.

I've Never Been to a 12 Step Meeting. What's it Like?

Every fellowship and meeting has a slightly different feel or flavor, but many of the fears and expectations that people have before attending their first 12 step meeting are myths rather than realities. Typically, no one is called on to speak. You do not have to identify yourself as an alcoholic or addict. Twelve step groups believe in attraction rather than promotion. So, it's unlikely that you will be inundated with pushy people. Some members may introduce themselves and, depending on the fellowship and/or group, offer a hug or a handshake. There are no "leaders," although there is a chairperson who opens the doors, sets everything up for the meeting, and directs the flow of the meeting. Generally, most people find that the fears they had before attending a 12 step meeting were unfounded.

Additional Resources

Below are a few resources to find more information on 12 step fellowships:

 

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12 Step Recovery Store: RecoverySuperstore.com : 12 Step Books, Recovery Books, AA Big Book, 12 Step Gifts, AA Gifts, Jewelry, Medallions, NA Merchandise, Al-Anon & Alateen Books, Recovery Gifts - Recovery Superstore, Inc.