What to Expect at a Lighthouse 12-Step Meeting

One of the biggest roadblocks to attending a meeting is not knowing what to expect. We might wonder:
  • Will I be able to find it?
  • Will people see me go in?
  • Who will be there?
  • What if I see someone I know?
  • What will be expected of me?
  • Will I have to talk?
Although the answers to some of these questions might be obvious to some, they can still cause a lot of anxiety and fear, which is why we want to share what to expect.

Our meetings reflect a lot of the same practices as a typical 12-Step meeting, however, to be more specific about the format, we've provided the following breakdown of the logistics:
  1. Seating Arrangement: We sit in a circle, sort of. We actually use tables so it's a lot easier to take notes and keep things more organized.
  2. Opening: We start with the welcome, opening prayer and announcements. Announcements might include upcoming recovery events, updates on any new books or available recovery material or simply sharing some good news that's happened in our lives. Anyone is welcome to share an announcement.
  3. Reading of the Twelve Steps: There is a list of the Twelve Steps with a short description of each Step that we take turns reading. Depending on how many are in attendance, each person may be asked to read 2-3 in a row or just one at a time. No one is required to read. If you don't want to read, simply say "I pass."
  4. Reading of the current week's Step: We read the current week's Step (we go in order) one section at a time. Again, no one is required to read. If you don't want to read, simply pass. Following each section, we discuss and ask questions regarding principles taught. Our recovery meetings are like a giant think tank where we come together to learn and grow from one another. No question is stupid or dumb. All questions are welcome. We will do our best to answer, but you might consider speaking with the group leader or facilitator after the meeting if more clarification is needed. 
  5. Introduction to the sharing portion of the meeting: We read a list of guidelines which give a breakdown of what the sharing portion of the meeting looks like. It gives some do's and don't's so just pay attention and you'll do fine. 
  6. The sharing portion of the meeting: The portion of the meeting where everyone takes turns sharing 3-5 minutes regarding the current Step, the Step they are on or anything else pertaining to addiction & recovery. We use the typical "Hi, my name is...." phrase during the sharing portion of the meeting. We do our best to order the sharing so newcomers have the opportunity to share toward the end. We want you to feel comfortable, so we strive to let others share before you so you can get an idea of what sharing looks and feels like. Still, it is not required to share, so feel free to pass if you aren't yet comfortable. 
  7. Closing: Closing remarks given by the facilitator and group leader, followed by the closing prayer.
  8. The meeting after the meeting: Time allotted for additional questions, getting to know one another and the exchange of contact information.
We also have extra 'traditions' we like to incorporate:
  • Sobriety chips: Once a month we give out sobriety chips for milestones achieved.
  • Food: We also go out to eat once a month.
Still, our meetings offer so much more than just the logistical side of things, for we are a gathering place for women to come out of the darkness of isolation and into the light of fellowship and healing.
  • We will not be surprised when you walk through the dooreven if we may recognize you from somewhere elsebut only feel the utmost gratitude that you found the courage to come.
  • We wont't laugh at you, mock you or make you feel small, but will make every effort to warmly welcome, include and connect with you.
  • You will hear us laugh, a lot, even at our addictive behaviors. Our laughter is genuine and heartfelt, because through recovery, we have learned to be happy not only in the face of adversity, but even because of it.
  • You will likely hear the phrase "me too," as we can all relate to the trauma, pain, magnetism and isolation of addiction. 'Me too' signifies that you are not alone.
  • Tears, laughter and silence. Sometimes we will cry. Sometimes we will laugh. Sometimes we will sit quietly. We respect everyone's path.
  • We talk a lot about God, because without Him we would not be where we are. All glory is His. He is our healer, our Redeemer and our literal Savior. 
Ultimately, we are normal everyday women who have come together in order to heal. We have learned to accept the gifts that recovery has to offer: compassion, empathy, support, hope, healing, friendship and safety.

We invite you to do the same.