Hello, and welcome to the “Seasons of Our Joy” Recovery Meeting. My name is ____________and I will be your leader for this meeting.
At this time will everyone please silence your electronic devices.
The Seasons of our Joy recovery meeting is a processing group for those affected by addiction. We offer our help by sharing our own personal experience, strength, and hope, and by listening attentively when others share. We carry the message of hope by letting others know that they are not alone. We will respect your confidence and anonymity (an·o·nym·i·ty), as we know you will respect ours. Our program is not a religious one, but a spiritual way of life.
Let us begin our meeting with a minute of silent mindful meditation. This is a very healthy brain exercise which I encourage you all to try. During this minute try to focus your attention on the present moment. Clear your mind of thoughts and just observe the here and now. When your mind wanders, as it likely will, gently return your focus to the present moment. If a thought enters your mind, observe that you are having a thought and then let it go, and return your focus to the present moment.
Notice your surroundings; notice what you feel; feel your body; take a deep breath and feel your lungs swell; and always bring your attention back to the present moment.
(if you have a meditation bell say, “I will ring the meditation bell 3 times to begin our one minute of meditation. After one minute I will ring the meditation bell again 3 times to end our one minute of meditation.”)
When the minute is up I will continue the meeting. Let us begin.
(ring meditation bell 3 times to begin the meditation)
(Time one minute.)
(ring meditation bell 3 times to end the meditation)
Let's go around the room and introduce ourselves by first name only. I'm ______.
Everyone responds, “Hello ______.” (go around the circle)
Now we would like to welcome any newcomers to the meeting. If this is your first time here would you please introduce yourself again?
At these meetings – only one person speaks at a time. During the sharing part of the meeting we encourage everyone to participate. So that everyone feels comfortable and has a chance to contribute, we do not engage in dialogue, debate, or cross-talk during the meeting. Cross-talk is defined as speaking without being recognized by the leader, carrying on a separate, one-on-one side discussion during the meeting, or questioning or counseling another member. We do not give advice, and we make no judgments on others' sharing. Please feel free to ask questions after the meeting.
In these meetings we speak only about our own experiences and feelings. We accept without comment what others say, because it is true for them. We work toward taking more responsibility in our own lives, rather than giving advice to others.
By listening to others in the group, you are helping them. Likewise, when you share, everyone else is helping you by listening. We do not fix problems in this meeting; instead, we make it OK to have problems, which is the first step in recovery.
To “listen” another’s soul into a condition of disclosure and discovery may be almost the greatest service that any human being ever performs for another.1
Let's go around the circle and do a check-in. How has your day been going so far? I'll begin. Hello, my name is _________.
(Leader does check in. Then go around the circle for check-in.)
It is now time for me to introduce a topic for today's meeting.
This is an open share meeting. You may share on the topic OR, as always, you may share whatever you wish to share, keeping the focus on yourself if you can. Now it's time for me to share. Hello my name is _________.
(You may share on the topic, or share whatever is on your mind and wish to share.)
I will now open the floor for random sharing. Does anyone else have anything they would like to share?
10 minutes before the meeting ends:
This is all the time we have. If you need more time, please speak with any of us after the meeting. Thank-You all for sharing.
Anything you hear today is strictly the speaker's own opinion. If a member says something that you cannot accept, remember that he or she is merely speaking from their own experience. When you leave our meeting – take home those thoughts that will be most helpful to you – forget those you feel will not be helpful. The stories you hear are told in confidence and should not be repeated outside.
This program is self-run and self-sustaining. At the next meeting one of us will need to take the initiative to be the group leader.
And now for our closing quote:
“In a world in which any moments of rest, celebration, meditation — the festivals of any religious tradition or spiritual orientation — are often seen as "a waste of time" because they detract from productive work, it is crucial to remind ourselves that work is not the only valuable behavior. Doing, making, producing, must be part of a rhythm in which being also has its place. This is the ultimate message of the Seasons of our Joy: that there is joy in the seasons themselves, in our very decision to join in noting them, in celebrating them, in walking the spiritual path — the spiral — that they make.”2
After a moment of silence, will you join me as we stand, join hands, and together recite the “Serenity Prayer.”
Pause for at least 10 seconds of silence. After the moment of silence, everyone stands up, hold hands to form a circle:
1 from 'On Listening to Another' by Douglas Steere (1955)
2 The closing quote comes from Jewish scholar Arthur I. Waskow, who in 1985 concluded his book Seasons of our Joy about the Jewish holidays of the year with this paragraph.