Twelve-step meetings can be a lot of fun at first. You are building a support group of people who really understand the things that have happened to you. You are learning a new way of life, and every meeting is an opportunity to meet new people and learn new skills for living a productive, sober life. For a while, you really look forward to going to meetings.
But sooner or later, for some people, going to meetings feels less interesting. It starts to feel like meetings are less something you want to do and are instead something you are told you have to do. Do you think you have learned what you needed to learn from meetings? The only thing you know for sure is that you feel bored quite often and that you aren’t really looking forward to going anymore.
Change It Up
If you’re feeling like you always see the same people at meetings and hear the same perspectives, the easiest solution is to go to some different meetings rather than avoiding the groups altogether. Are you able to go to a meeting in a nearby town or to a different meeting in your own town? If you usually only go to one style of meeting, are there other types you haven’t tried? Can you fit in an afternoon meeting instead of an evening meeting?
You may be able to rekindle your interest and excitement for your regular twelve-step meetings just by going to a different meeting occasionally. At the same time, it’s important not to completely cut ties with your support group. People you know, particularly your sponsor, can alert you when they see you’ve gotten off track. A sponsor can help you determine whether you are simply looking for a little variety or whether you’re trying to run away.
Reach Out to Others
Addiction is often called a disease of self-centeredness. During the time that you were actively addicted to alcohol or drugs, your entire focus was on your own desire to obtain substances that made you feel better. Whether you were chasing the feeling of being high or the sensation of numbing your feelings altogether, you probably didn’t worry much about whether you were hurting people close to you.
In recovery, when you find that you are experiencing feelings of boredom or disinterest toward meetings, your preoccupation is once again on yourself. At meetings, there are usually people who are new to the program or are struggling for other reasons. By reaching out to other people, you get outside yourself and stop being preoccupied with your own feelings. The next time you go to a meeting, make it a point to pay attention to who seems to be hurting or in need of someone to talk to rather than dwelling on what you’re getting out of the meeting.
Remember Where You Came From
When you are bored with meetings, it may be that you need to remind yourself of how bad things once were or how much worse they could get if you relapse. You probably still have a lot to lose. Listen to the stories that are being shared at meetings. Pay attention to the difficulties others are experiencing as a direct result of the use and abuse of alcohol or drugs. Many of the stories you hear are things that may still happen to you if you don’t remain vigilant. Addiction can lead to a whole lot of problems, including arrest, broken families, loss of self-respect and loss of good health. Think through the possible consequences of getting away from meetings and becoming less committed to recovery.
If you feel bored, remember that it’s only a temporary feeling. Look for people to help and listen for stories to be interested in and to learn from. Write down your feelings in a journal. Share your story with a newcomer and remember how bad things used to be in your own life. Stay grateful for recovery. Gratitude can replace boredom, and it goes a long way toward keeping you on the right track.