Long Term Sobriety

One of the more frequent questions in SLAA meetings is “what happens”. What happens when I’ve been to meetings, or I’ve done the steps.One of the most comforting things in a meeting is to have people who have had success with the program, who have completed steps, who have found a sponsor, who have found serenity in their lives. Each ‘old timer’ adds depth to a group, brings hope to counter despair, brings a level of serenity to counter chaos.

That said, the question remains, what do the long time members of SLAA have and what can they do to stay active and interested in meetings.

  1. Take a leadership role. Help newer members with understanding the program.
    1. You can chair meetings. Chairing helps our groups direction. You may have chaired many times. Often you may be able to bring a new point of view or some depth to the chair.
    2. You can act as treasurer. This position is often overlooked. It is important to meeting function and you can guide a newer member to understand how this position of trust helps recovery.
    3. You can become a Group Representative. Working with the Intergroup helps recovery by meeting with others with longer terms of sobriety and from other meetings. Since each meeting is independent, often meetings develop styles and patterns which are different from ours. We all have the goal of reaching out to the addict who still suffers. Finding new ways, sharing them, can help meet this goal.
    4. Work with outreach. We reach out from SLAA in many ways. We can place our literature in libraries, addiction recovery centers, with Professionals working with addicts. We can work with Prison Outreach, going to meetings with those who cannot come to our meetings, bringing them into the circle of recovery, sanity and sobriety.
  2. Demonstrate fellowship. Often the weakest link in meetings is fellowship, the ability of members to enjoy the company of other sober people.
  3. Help with sponsorship. Often long timers have been sponsors for several times. Sometimes meetings with sponsors to share experiences and tips can be helpful. Sometimes helping sponsors with problems with sponsees, in an advisory rather than directly sponsoring role helps. Of course sponsoring is the BEST of service projects.
  4. Service service service. There is always a need for service. Sometimes this can be at the level of the meetings, but as we grow in time and serenity, local service sometimes seems repetitive. Serving at the intergroup or even at the national level can be rewarding. Some service may be in giving of yourself in larger groups, of telling your (successful) recovery story, writing for the journal.
  5. Greeter. Often the job of meeting greeter is left to the chairperson or assigned to a newer member of the fellowship. Perhaps rethinking this role and asking more sober members to act as greeters. It might set a tone for meetings of sobriety and serenity.

This has not been an exhaustive list but a starting point for creativity. We welcome suggestions for helping long time members or those with long term sobriety to feel welcome and useful and a vital part of meetings.

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