90 Meetings in 90 Days- Advice for Newcomers into the 12 Step Program
No one can identify the roots of the Alcoholics Anonymous’ push for “90 meeting in 90 days” with any certainty. But, by the 1950s attending for 3 months, or 90 days, was being referred to as a milestone. And, current practice among all 12 step groups now asks that newcomers commit to a meeting for each day of that period because those meetings have the potential to change your life. Who couldn’t dedicate 90 days to completely transform their life for the better?
As a newcomer, being asked to commit to something for three solid months can be a little daunting. You may not even be ready to commit to more than 24 hours, which mirrors the program’s advice to take things one day at a time. However, the following tips should help you to stay involved, positive, and motivated. You can do it.
If you would like more advice, questions answered, or recommendations of 12 step groups that can make the difference in your life, contact 12Step.com at 800-653-7143. It’s time to make a change.
Prioritize the meetings
Obviously, if the meetings are the beginning of a life changing recovery from addiction, you need to give them precedence. You can’t procrastinate and put off attending. You can even attend two or three meeting in a day, if that is what you need to do when you become stressed or feel a relapse coming. When you make the meetings important, you are making yourself important. Care enough about your wellbeing to care about the meetings.
Create and value a daily schedule
One way to keep the meetings in a position of importance is to create clear lists of what you need to do. Generally thinking about a meeting a day can overwhelm you because it seems like it will take up all of your time. But, when you schedule your time, you will find that you can easily fit the meetings in. After all, you were able to make time to use alcohol and drugs and to build your life around that. You will definitely be able to make the time.
Ask for help
You probably became isolated as your addiction took a larger importance in your life. As you transition into a recovery phase with the help of a 12 step program, you don’t need to do it on your own. Ask people for help, and you will discover a number of people who were waiting for you to make this choice so they could reestablish their relationship with you. Also, these people can help you to make the time for meetings. They can offer babysitting or a ride. They can get worked into your schedule and help you to make your existing demands. Research indicates a reason people leave 12 step groups or relapse is that they aren’t willing to accept help from others. Open yourself up to that and you contribute to your own success.
Make a list of goals
You won’t wake up every day excited to go to meetings and within the three-month period, you will have interests and desires that feel—in the moment—like the most important thing in your life. When you go into the 90-day period, make a list of every goal that you have. Make a list of why you need to attend meetings. When you get a craving to drink or use drugs, look at your list and focus, breathe deeply, and be honest about what you need to do. You will be freshly motivated and that will help you to stay committed.
Celebrate your progress
Don’t wait until the end of the 90 days to give yourself credit. Acknowledge a week with seven meetings and two weeks with 14. Start a new pattern in your life where you treat yourself with something emotionally healthy. You can establish a system of rewards that aren’t based in alcohol or drugs. An article from the Textbook of Substance Abuse Research reports that one factor that aids long term recovery from a substance use disorder is involvement in rewarding activities, like exercise, social, or service activities. Consider using one of these to celebrate.
It will be a true achievement to make it through 90 days, but you can do it. Don’t let poor health get in the way. If you end up with a cold or with the flu, attending meetings will be tougher than normal. Maintain a healthy diet; get plenty of exercise; and rest fully. It’s time for some self-care. An addiction makes you secondary. Put yourself first.