Finding and joining a support group where you feel comfortable and accepted is an important first step in early recovery.
Whether it’s AA, NA, or another support group, you want to know there’s someone out there that’s walked a mile in your shoes and understands your point of view. These meetings can provide you with a source of empathy and perspective.
Finding the Right Balance in Recovery
But…is there such thing as going to too many meetings? There can be, if you’re spending so much time in meetings that you aren’t taking care of yourself in other ways vital to your recovery.
Here are five signs you might be attending too many meetings:
- #1 – You’re exhausted
You stay up for a late night meeting, but have to be up at 5 a.m. to get the kids’ lunches made, get everyone off to school, and get to work. You’re losing productivity at work and you can barely keep your eyes open.
- #2 – You’re losing touch with supportive family and friends
It’s best to avoid those friends who are still using, but going to a myriad of meetings throughout the day can take you away from family dinners, helping kids with their homework, or spending time with aging parents. Sure, you’re not hanging out with your “old” friends, but when you’re isolating from the people truly in your corner, it’s a clue you need to pull back. Make sure to spend time with family and friends who encourage your recovery. They’re your allies and can help you heal.
- #3 – You’re letting other people’s recovery drama take over your life
You’re worrying so much about a group member’s relapse that you’re having anxiety-induced cravings to drink or use again. Others are leaning on you too much, and you feel like it’s your responsibility to take care of them. Remember, your first priority always needs to be taking care of yourself.
- #4 – You have no other interests
Your life right now is just work, meetings, sleep. You’re not pursuing the hobbies you once loved and everything seems tedious. Maybe you’re not reading, going to the gym, fishing, playing the piano, or doing other enjoyable things. A life without personal interests will lead to relapse. Get those fingers back on the piano, pick up that guitar, or go to a concert with some drug free friends and dance. Enjoy life!
- #5 – You feel terrible guilt if you miss even one meeting
Meetings don’t always make you feel better, but missing one shouldn’t make you feel like an awful person. Guilt can quickly lead to relapse, even if it’s guilt about missing meetings. If you find meetings helpful, go as often as you can, but don’t beat yourself up over missing some. There’s no law that says you have to go to meetings every single day in order to stay sober.
Remember, the point of recovery is to become your true self without drugs or alcohol taking away your identity, not to set the world record for meeting attendance.
Additional Reading: 5 Self-Care Tips to Remember in Early Recovery
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