Are 12-Step Meetings Required in Every Sober Living Facility?

12-step meetings required in sober livingIn some sober living homes, residents are asked to attend a certain number of 12-step meetings each week. On occasion, 12-step meetings are held in the house on a weekly basis. In most sober living homes, however, 12-step meetings are recommended but not required for residents.

The Benefits of 12-Step Meetings

Twelve-step meetings are a traditional means of assisting patients to remain actively engaged with their recovery from addiction and drug abuse. It’s especially effective because it can provide a familiar experience that takes the patient from rehab to sober living to home. Attending 12-step meetings from the beginning of treatment and continuing throughout recovery can help to create a more seamless transition and give residents a therapeutic “home” that is safe and constant no matter what else may come.

The Function of the 12-Step Program

There are 12-step meetings in almost every city in the world, and in some places, they are scheduled daily, even multiple times a day, in order to provide options for attendees with varying schedules. Many people have one group that they attend regularly and call it their “home group” and attend other meetings as needed. Some meetings explore the tenets of recovery as described in the Big Book while others pick a discussion topic relevant to recovery or focus on the “share” of someone who has been clean and sober for a while and then open up to allow for those in attendance to share as well.

Here are a few 12-step facts for those who are unfamiliar with the process:

  • “Temporary” sponsors are other attendees at meetings who volunteer to serve in this capacity to those who would like to meet with someone regularly to “work the steps.”
  • There are meetings that are gender-specific, anywhere from 45 to 90 minutes in length, closed to people who are not in recovery, for specific populations (e.g., gay and lesbian, parents, or those of a certain age), and focused on the 12 traditions or exploring certain topics.
  • Anonymity of attendees is highly prioritized, and it is expected that attendees will keep the confidence of those who choose to share in the meetings.
  • There is no “cross talk” allowed, which means that when one person speaks, it is expected that no one will raise their hand and specifically address what someone else shared.
  • People are invited to talk to one another, exchange numbers for support, and discuss a personal share after meetings as they feel comfortable.
  • No one is required to continue to attend 12-step meetings for any length of time, sign any contracts, commit to being a member of the group in any way, or give any money to the organization.

‘Take What You Need’

There’s a saying that is often repeated among 12-step attendees when one or more members is uncomfortable or unhappy with someone else in attendance, something that was said, or one of the aspects of the program: “Take what you need and leave the rest.” This means that attendees who find something helpful in attending 12-step meetings are invited to focus on that and ignore those things they find problematic.

Learn more about how 12-steps meetings can inform recovery and augment a sober living stay when you contact us at the phone number listed above.