Mutual aid meetings are typically a good idea for people recovering from addiction, especially early on. Mutual aid meetings include ubiquitous 12-step meetings like AA or NA, evidence-based SMART Recovery meetings, or mindfulness-based Refuge Recovery meetings. These can all provide a sense of community, which is especially important for people early in recovery and a strong predictor of success. They can also serve as a way to regularly renew your commitment to sobriety. With these benefits in mind, is there any reason not to go to as many meetings as possible? In other words, can you have too much of a good thing? Maybe. Here are some signs you may want to scale back on your meeting attendance.
It’s great to have sober friends and meetings are usually the best places to meet sober people. Spending time with these people can be a great way of reinforcing your commitment to recovery. However, most people have others in their lives who are important to their recovery and deserve their attention. New friends are great, but not at the expense of the people who have always been there for you and are most invested in your recovery.
Attending meetings and connecting with your sober network are important parts of recovery, but they aren’t the only parts. Aside from all the other things everyone has to do every day, like going to work or taking care of other responsibilities, it’s important to have time for exercise, rest, and other parts of your recovery plan. It’s good to have a little time to yourself to rest and reflect. If your meetings are cutting into time that could be better used for other things, it might be a good idea just to do the other things. Marginal value is an important concept here. That means most people get a lot more out of their first meeting of the week than they do out of their fourth or fifth meeting. When the value of a meeting for your recovery drops below the value of doing something else, like journaling, exercising, or volunteering, do those other things instead.
There are several ways to feel burnt out from meetings. When you’re trying to build new habits and ways of thinking, repetition is key, but it can also be tiresome. Music teachers have a saying that you should practice something until you’re sick of it and then practice it 100 more times. So if you’re tired of hearing something in meetings, that’s probably a good sign. On the other hand, you don’t want to get to the point where meetings are actually miserable. It’s easy to mistake feeling burnt out on meetings with feeling burnt out on recovery. If you’re having meeting fatigue, try scaling back a little. Keep going regularly, but just not as often. This way, you’ll be happier to see your recovery friends and you’ll have more time to devote to other recovery activities.
The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-736-4183.