12 Step group initiation meetings

12 Steps Facilitation


11- 12 Step Group Initiation Meetings


Prior to the start of a 12 Step group, facilitators need to hold a couple of initiation meetings. These meetings aim to raise awareness of your upcoming 12 Step group and inform potential participants about its set up and criteria’s. Also included a sample format on how to conduct an hour and half initiation meeting.


  • What are Initiation meetings
  • Sample initiation meeting format


What are Initiation meetings

  • Now that you have done all the preparation work for your 12 Step group, it is time to hold a couple of initiation meetings. Initiation meetings are aimed at raising awareness of your upcoming Step Study so that people interested in joining can see for themselves what the Group is about and decide whether they would like to participate. Initiation meetings help potential participants understand how 12 Step groups are structured and conducted, what is expected of them and the scope of work and commitment involved.
  • It is a good idea to have your initiation meetings at least a month prior to the start of your 12 Step group. This will enable those interested in joining to decide whether they want to commit to working their 12 Steps in such group setting, to then be able to organize their life affaires and prepare their time schedules accordingly.
  • Try and have at least 2 initiation meetings as this will help promote your upcoming 12 Step group. Most probably those who attend your first meeting will pass the word around to others who would then get curious and become interested to attend the next initiation meeting. You can also distribute your 12 Step group flyer at the end of each of your initiation meetings and ask participants to pass the word around.
  • Initiation meetings usually last about 1.5 hour and are best to be held at the same venue where the 12 Step group will take place. As far as the rent for the meetings are concerned, you may want to pass the pot around or for the sake of simplicity, pay it equally among yourselves as facilitators.


Sample initiation meeting format

Below is a sample format of how to conduct an Initiation meeting.  For the Word version of this format, which you can adapt according to your own criteria and preferences, please refer to: 12 Step Group Worksheets


Preliminaries  (20 minutes)

  • Main facilitator opens the meeting with a moment of silence and meditation.
  • Each facilitator takes turns sharing their journey into recovery, briefly talking about their addiction, what happened to them, and where they are now as a result of working their 12 Steps  — and why they have decided to facilitate a 12 Step group.
  • Facilitators then distribute the following hand outs with the main facilitator recommending that the attendees study them, as the information will help them with their decision to undertake the commitment to work their 12 Steps in your Step Study Group. (Note, you may want to charge for the printing cost of these hand outs.)


1) What are 12 Step groups Explains the primary objective of 12 Step groups and how they are structured.

2) Pros and Cons of 12 Step Groups Explains the advantages and limitations of working the 12 Steps in a Step Study Group setting. Included is set of questions for your potential group participants to consider before deciding to commit to your Step Study.

3) 12 Step Group Rules Explains the rules and criteria’s group participants need to observe in order to take part in a 12 Step Study Group.

4) 12 Step Group Weekly Schedule Provides information on how long the group will last, what will be covered and what homework is expected of participants.


You may also want to provide the following additional handouts to the attendees. These are information that explain the fundamentals of recovery with the 12 Steps and can be especially beneficial for those with little knowledge of 12 Step programs and their approach towards recovery. (Note, copies of these hand outs can be found in the Recovery section of Hamrah’s website.)


1) 12 Step programs provides an overview of 12 Step programs, their purpose and approach towards recovery.

2) Addiction Recovery Plan explains the structure of the 12 Steps and how each Step acts as a tool towards recovery.

3) Goals 12 Steps  explains the goal of each Step and what each aims to help achieve in us.

4) Spiritual Principles  explains the spiritual principles behind each Step and how each Step aims to help us change ourselves.

5) Recovery Promises describes the freedom and miracles we can experience if we work the 12 steps.


Main facilitator: (40 minutes)

  • Describes the goal of the 12 Step group is to guide its participants through the 12 Steps in an organized and systematic way within a specific time frame.
  • Describes how the group will be conducted and which Fellowship book or workbook will be used as a guide to work through the 12 Steps.
  • Describes how long the 12 Step group will last, the role and responsibilities of the facilitators, and the rules and criteria’s expected to be observed by group participants.
  • Stresses that participation in a 12 Step group involves a lot of commitment and hard work. Emphasizes the importance of cohesion and teamwork amongst group participants and lets them know anyone who may hinder the objective or progress of the group or who fails to attend the sessions and or do the homework’s, may get dismissed. 


Group participation: (25 minutes)

  • Main facilitator opens the meeting for Questions and Answers. Other facilitators can contribute during this segment.
  • Attendees are also invited to explain what has interested them to work their 12 Steps in your group – (optional).


End: (5 minutes)

  • Copies of the 12 Step group Flyer are distributed. Main facilitator asks attendees to pass them around in places where they are likely to be people interested.
  • Main facilitator requests that attendees be mindful of the 12 Traditions and not to promote the 12 Step group or distribute its flyer in any Fellowship meetings.
  • The pot is passed around to collect for the rent of the venue.
  • The meeting is closed with everyone holding hands and saying the Serenity prayer.

Question or Comment

Hamrah welcomes any questions or comments you may have. We will reply back to the email address provided.

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