Meeting Facilitator Notes
meeting is currently expected to take 1¼ hours. (See the “Timing”
document for time estimates.) Meeting facilitators are encouraged to
make adjustments to the format as needed.
reading “How Meditation Can Help Overcome Addiction” is quite
lengthy. While important, it doesn't need to be repeated every week.
It could instead be done once a month, such as on the first meeting
of the month.
check-in is nice in that it gives everyone a chance to talk, which
is the whole purpose of the group. It encourages everyone to speak
when their time comes. Check-ins can often take a good chunk of
time, 20 - 25 minutes for a group of 10. The check-in can be omitted
if time doesn't permit.
in mind some participants may not be able to read. They may have a
reading disability, need reading glasses, or be to shy to read.
one minute meditation is important to keep. It's just enough to get
people started. Other meditation classes can often be found in the
random sharing format requires individuals to be bold enough to
volunteer to speak. There are often awkward moments of silence while
we wait for someone to be bold enough to volunteer a thought.
are 2 ways random sharing can be implemented. One is to have people
raise their hand and be recognized by the leader. The other is to
have people just start talking with, “Hi, I'm _____.” followed
by their share. It may be easier to volunteer by raising a hand
ending by joining hands in a circle is common throughout all the
recovery groups. The upbeat quote after the Serenity Prayer helps
put everyone in a good mood for after meeting mingling.
is not a 12-Step program. There are plenty of 12-Step programs
elsewhere that people can join.
“Keeping Our Meetings Healthy”, Nar-Anon adds Dominance:
“FA is based on suggestion, interchange of experience, and
rotation of leaders. No member should direct, assume authority, or
give advice. Our leaders are chosen not to govern, but to serve.”
If the group is self-run and self-sustaining this should be added.
also adds Dwelling
On the Past:
“Harboring painful thoughts and speaking endlessly about hurtful
times with our loved ones blocks our recovery. Besides being
detrimental to our personal progress, continuous behavior of this
type within the meeting, week after week, is destructive to the
group's progress and unity. Such behavior can lead us back to the
Third Destructive Force, which is dominance.” (They must have had
a problem with this in the past.)
Quotes That Could Be Added
breath is one of the few actions that reside in both our somatic
nervous system (which we can consciously control) and
our autonomic system (which includes our heartbeat and other actions
we cannot easily access). So the breath is a bridge between the two.
By consciously slowing down the breath, we can de-escalate the
primal fear response that otherwise takes over.”
Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes—And Why
by Amanda Ripley (2008)
- Our brain is constantly making decisions. Constantly weighing the pros
and cons of two options. It makes a decision pretty fast. You want
it to always tip on the side of staying clean. Do the mental
exercise every day, and soon that desire to stay clean will become
the runner who takes every lap as a flat out sprint win in the long
run? Which gets you a better golf score: smacking the ball as hard
as you can with your heaviest club in the general direction of the
hole, or choosing the appropriate club after pausing to scope out
the best path through the hazards? Does the basketball team do
calisthenics at halftime, or does it rest and consider changes in
strategy? Are you best served by charging blindly ahead without
looking, or are you likely to hit a wall?”
Sherman, Ph.D. I Know
I Should Meditate, But… What You Can Learn About Health and
Happiness in Ten Mindful Minutes a Day This
book is free to download from:
let your problems define who you are. We are not “addicts”, we
are people who have a problem with addiction, but we are still
thou art pained by any external thing, it is not this that disturbs
thee, but thy own judgment about it. And it is in thy power to wipe
out this judgment now.” (Translated by George Long.) A central
tenet of the Stoic philosophy of Marcus Aurelius can be found in
this line from volume VIII of the Meditations. — as cited
in The Compass of Pleasure by David J. Linden.
Note on wording
- Chose positive words. Kindness, love, happy, healthy.
- Avoid negative words. Mean, hate, cruel, angry.
how just reading those words changes your feelings. When you read or
hear a word it activates that corresponding thought in your mind,
strengthening that thought. We want to strengthen positive thoughts,
and avoid negative thoughts.
refer to a negative concept, use the word “not” to negate a
positive concept. For example, instead of “mean” say “not
nice”; instead of “cruel” say “not kind”. This way even
though we are talking about a negative concept, we are still using
positive words activating positive thoughts in the mind. Instead of
saying, “I am not a crook”, say “I am an honest person”.
As Cognitive Scientist George Lakoff says in all of his books, “You
can't negate a frame.”
Symptoms of Addiction
the behavior continues despite continued negative life consequences
to the addict and others.
the addict's behavior seems necessary in order to “feel normal”
and to be able to face the typical stresses of life.
the addict repeatedly breaks promises to himself or others about
the addict regrets having engaged in the behavior.
The Seasons of our Joy addiction recovery meeting format was originally
designed to be used in a Drug Court program.
If the meeting is to be used in the community the group can be made
self-sufficient by passing a basket around during the Closing section and
adding a paragraph to the closing explaining the need for funds. Nar-Anon
says the following at the closing of their groups:
“At this time we observe our Seventh Tradition:
“Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside
contributions”. We have no dues or fees — but we do have the purchase
of literature, rent, and we make regular donations to our World Service
Headquarters. Newcomers need not contribute. While the basket is being
passed, we'll have the secretary's report and announcements.”
One version of Alcoholics Anonymous:
“Our Seventh Tradition states that we are self-supporting
through our own contributions. Our “passing of the basket” is to
collect money to cover rent, literature and other meeting expenses. Our
meeting also supports AA as a whole, our General Service Office (GSO) and our
local Central Office. Our Central Office wishes to let you know that the
historic $1.00 contribution is no longer enough to cover the expenses
incurred for the services they provide, therefore, they are asking all
members, who can do so, to increase their contribution to $2.00.”
For self run groups it's traditional to rotate the leader (often
randomly). This helps prevent anyone from dominating the group. The message
about preventing someone from dominating the group can be added to the
“Keeping Our Meetings Healthy.”
There are various medications available which can assist in recovery. For
heroin addiction there's naltrexone, which is now generic and fairly
inexpensive. (There's also a sublingual version which is currently very
expensive but often covered by insurance, and also there's a once a month
intravenous injection version which is very, very expensive, but it does last
for a full month.) An older medication still used is methadone, though
methadone can be addictive if abused, and it's easy to overdose, especially
during the first few weeks of maintenance treatment; they are often the
result of the dosage having been increased too quickly. (Doses of less than
50 mg have proven fatal to non-tolerant adults).
There are also medications available for alcoholics, including Naltrexone
(ReVia, Vivitrol), Acamprosate (Campral), and Disulfiram (Antabuse).
Rev. August 2014
President Richard Nixon's favorite phrase was, “I am not a crook.”
However, this phrase still contained the word “crook” which
activated the concept of “crook” in people's minds every time
they heard it. Nixon could have instead said, “I am an honest
person,” as this contains the word “honest” which activates
the concept of “honest” in people's minds.
Drug courts often make the mistake of having classes, which doesn't fix
anything. Instead they need to introduce the client to Processing Groups
because they work.