Bridge Ministry - June 2019
But we aren't a glum lot. If newcomers could see no joy or fun in our existence, they wouldn't want it. We absolutely insist on enjoying life. "The Family Afterward," Alcoholics Anonymous, 4th ed., (p. 132)
A common surprise for someone who attends an addiction recovery group meeting for the first time is the amount of laughter they hear. The newcomer is often at a low point, uncertain and feeling vulnerable. Humor is the last thing on their mind, laughter the last thing they expect to hear. What do those people have to laugh about? The answer lies partly in why "those people" are there in the first place.
Even the simplest Google search for addiction recovery groups yields more than 40 that are based at least loosely on the Twelve Steps program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and many others that are influenced by but don't explicitly follow the Twelve Steps model. Clearly the number of people seeking help with addictions, whether to substances or to destructive behaviors, is enormous. For example, although no official numbers are possible, Alcoholics Anonymous estimates that in the United States alone there are about 1.3 million members comprising over 60,000 groups. It has become a truism to say that everyone knows someone affected in some way, either directly or indirectly, by addiction.
Question: Why have so many people organized themselves into so many groups? What is it that these people find valuable in sharing their experiences with others?
Answer: Misery loves company? Some people are naturally prone to lemming-like behavior? No. Experience suggests otherwise: Fellowship!
Addiction of any sort is an excruciating, potentially deadly condition. It breeds and is fueled by isolation. Its natural antidote is connection: communication among people with shared experience and a common purpose. And what's the most natural byproduct of such honest communication? Humor!
Given that there's nothing funny about addiction of any sort why are all those people in those meetings laughing? Because they are freeing themselves and one another of the addiction that they have in common but that isolates them from one another and the world around them.
Recognizing the effects of addiction in yourself, a loved one or a fried is a glum, painful prospect. But recovery is a joyful spiritual process and we in recovery are truly not a glum lot.
The Bridge Ministry of All Saints is a diverse group of people who have either personal or professional experience helping those who face substance or behavioral dependence problems. You can learn more about the ministry here:
The Bridge Team provides a compassionate ministry to engage the hurting, point to direct help, nurture personal growth, and celebrate recovery. Team members: BJ Andrews, Bruce Bennett, Marion Callahan, Charlotte Frazier, Bill McLellan, Ed Myers, Alan Nelson, John Orth, Beverly Pond, Richard Ribb, Terry Tottenham, James Williamson, with guidance from the Rev. Deacon Ed Woolery-Price.