See if this scenario relates to you. You’re fresh out of treatment and feeling all kinds of crazy emotions. You’ve been going to 12-step meetings and learning to share and get comfortable. But every time the meeting ends, several people invite you out to dinner afterward, and you have no freaking clue if you should go.
Groups outings with people you don’t know well are scary for everyone, but they can be especially terrifying for the newly sober. But would it be good for you? The short answer is yes. Going out with other fellows is a great way to connect and get to know them. You’re going to need support on this new journey, and having people to call every day will help you stay sane. That said, if you aren’t yet comfortable with it, don’t worry about hurting anyone’s feelings if you say no.
For my own personal recovery, I’ve found that these after-group outings are equally beneficial as the meetings themselves. Many 12-step meetings have restrictions on conversation, such as no cross-talk, and chilling with fellows outside of that setting can be more freeing and allow you to connect on a deeper level. It’s also a great way to find a sponsor (if you don’t already have one), and you will no doubt get invited to other recovery meetings you may be unaware of.
Jump in when ready. The opposite of addiction isn’t just sobriety, it’s connection.
By Clint Fletcher, Editor-in-Chief, Recovery Club America