Heard Around The Rooms


“It is often said that sobriety within AA is like being on a merry-go-round. It’s easier to stay on when you’re in the middle. You are more likely to fall off when you’re on the edge.”


Some of us tend to isolate and feel apart from AA fellowship and all it has to offer us. No wonder we are tempted to quit recovery when we stay on the edge – all the centrifugal force or ‘our alcoholic voice’, is encouraging us to bolt out the door. If we want recovery, we must push through our resistance and work our way into the middle of AA.

We ask for phone numbers from members who will welcome our calls when we are struggling or need to talk through our difficulties. We might not feel comfortable phoning or sharing our problems with strangers, so we can make test calls when we are feeling good, just to break the ice and say hello. This practice expands our comfort zone and prepares us for when we really need to share our problems with others. We can also offer our phone number to newer members and encourage them to phone us for support. Few can make it without a recovery network – we are social beings.

To engage with others and participate in the process of recovery is to be in the middle of the merry-go-round. Taking part in fellowship improves our chances of not flying off the edge. Steps One, Two and Three involve surrendering to the fact that recovery won’t happen by continuing strictly on our own terms, by doing things as we’ve always done them, we need to be open and willing to try something new.


Getting active greatly improves our chances of long-term recovery. Choosing a ‘Home group’ and doing service for the group, attending meetings on a regular basis, sharing regularly, offering support to others, working with a Sponsor, reading recovery literature and practicing the 12 Steps daily, are all examples of recovery participation which experience shows works.

Feeling a part of the fellowship significantly improves our chances of avoiding relapse. Arriving at meetings late, not sharing or contributing, being the first to leave and avoiding socializing may be natural for some us. Relapse is also natural for alcoholics. It’s worth thinking about how natural we can afford to feel or be, and ask the question, am I willing to change and go to any lengths for my recovery?

Adapted from ‘Beyond Belief, agnostic musings for 12 Step Life.’ By Joe C.


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