One of the strengths of AA and 12-step recovery is the opportunity to practice over and over the principles of this approach to recovery. Abundant meetings in most areas make is possible to receive a continual steam of support and input for prolonged periods.
Was this not how we became sick and alcoholic in the first place? We learned something by observation or experience, we did it once, then repeated over and over for a prolonged period? Until our patterns of thought and behaviour became so entrenched, they were our defaults? They were part of who we were.
So why would it not take the same to change? We practiced thoughts and behaviours of self-pity, escapism, resentment, anger, envy, and potentially a hundred other dysfunctions until they wove together to make up the fabric of who we had become.
I did 90 meetings in 90 days at the same daily meeting. A lot of people have asked, “Didn’t it get boring and repetitious”? It would have if I let my old thinking tell me it was. But gladly, I had some support from those who had travelled the path before me who compelled me to try to learn something new each day. Even if the same people spoke again and again.
To my utter amazement, they were right. New gems of truth and enlightenment began to emerge out of the same people at the same meeting day after day. Why? Perhaps it was because I was changing. The repetition I heard was slowly breaking down the walls of my old thinking. And my follow-through on a daily basis began to establish new patterns that further opened my mind.
Learning through practice and repetition is one thing that has kept me in the rooms of AA for a number of years, even though I can’t get any more sober than I was the day I first sobered up. It took a long time to weave the old fabric, it is taking a long time to weave the new one. Practice, practice, practice leads to progress, progress, progress.