A fellowship can be defined as a friendly association.
In 12 step context ‘fellowship’ is well defined in the beginning of AA’s Big Book Chapter 2, There is a Solution: “We, of ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS, know one hundred men who were once just as hopeless as Bill. All have recovered. They have solved the drink problem.
We are average Americans. All sections of this country and many of its occupations are represented, as well as many political, economic, social, and religious backgrounds. We are people who normally would not mix. But there exists among us a fellowship, friendliness, and an understanding which is indescribably wonderful.
We are like the passengers of a great liner the moment after rescue from shipwreck when camaraderie, joyousness and democracy pervade the vessel from steerage to Captain’s table. Unlike the feelings of the ship’s passengers, however, our joy in escape from disaster does not subside as we go our individual ways. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement which binds us. But that in itself would never have held us together as we are now joined.
The tremendous fact for every one of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer alcoholism.
Fellowship refers to the supportive and mutual relationship among individuals who are recovering from addiction or alcoholism. It is a fundamental aspect of many addiction recovery programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). The emphasis is placed on the importance of individuals coming together to share their experiences, strength, and hope with one another.
The concept of fellowship in addiction recovery dates back to the establishment of AA in 1935. It was built on the belief that individuals helping each other can achieve and maintain sobriety more effectively than they could alone. This supportive community forms the basis of many recovery programs, providing a safe space for individuals to connect and find understanding from others who have faced similar struggles.
Fellowship is often conducted through regular group meetings, where individuals gather to share their stories, listen to others, and offer support. These meetings typically follow a structured format, encouraging openness and honesty. Many participants find solace in being heard and understood by others who have firsthand experience of addiction and its challenges.
In fellowship, participants are referred to as “members” or “peers.” The nonhierarchical nature of these relationships fosters a sense of equality, empathy, and shared responsibility. Through fellowship, individuals gain the necessary support, guidance, and encouragement to continue their path towards recovery.
Engaging in fellowship can also introduce individuals to the concept of sponsorship. A sponsor is an experienced member of the recovery community who voluntarily guides and supports a newcomer on their journey of sobriety. This relationship is based on mutual trust and is intended to provide additional support and accountability.
Fellowship plays an integral role in addiction recovery, providing individuals with a network of people who understand and empathize with their struggles. Being part of a supportive community can help combat feelings of isolation and provide ongoing motivation to maintain sobriety.
Remember, fellowship is not limited to your time in treatment or early recovery. Many individuals continue to participate in fellowship and attend meetings even after achieving long-term sobriety. The bonds formed through shared experiences often last a lifetime and can serve as a constant source of support.
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