12 Step weekly schedule
8- 12 Step weekly schedule
For a 12 Step group to run smoothly, facilitators need to have a weekly schedule. This is so that you can plan what steps and material you want to cover on a weekly basis for the duration of your 12 Step group. Also included are two sample weekly schedules, one based on the 12 Steps of Narcotics Anonymous and the other on Alcoholics Anonymous as examples for your use or inspiration.
- Merits of a weekly schedule
- Sponsor needed Steps
- Example of NA Weekly Schedule
- Example of AA Weekly Schedule
Merits of a weekly schedule
It is a good idea to devise a weekly schedule before you start your 12 Step group for it will help you and your group members in the following ways:
1) A weekly schedule will provide you with a weekly plan on how to systematically guide your group through the 12 Steps within a specific time frame. It will help you be organized and practical on how best to guide your group through the 12 Steps.
2) A weekly schedule will help you, as facilitators know what step work you will need to cover on a weekly basis. This way you will not have to spend time each week deciding on what to do for each session, but will simply follow your pre-planned schedule. It is important though not to change your weekly schedule once you have devised it, for it may lead to confusion to both you and your group members. It is also a good idea to meet for 30 minutes prior to each weekly session, to confirm amongst yourselves what you will be teaching and your duties as facilitators for that session.
3) A weekly schedule will help your group participants know in advance how long the 12 Step group will run. This way they can arrange their life affairs accordingly as to devote their time to the duration of the course. For example you may have to rearrange your travel plans so as not to miss more than two sessions in a row.
4) A weekly schedule will help your group participants know what step work will be covered each week and what homework is expected of them. This way they can come in prepared for each session and or catch up with any homework if they have missed a session. It is a good idea to provide copies of your Step Study Group’s weekly schedule to your group participants at the beginning of the 12 Step Study Group.
Sponsor needed Steps
Most likely some of your group participants will be without a sponsor and you will need to come up with a plan for them to work the Steps that specifically require the help of another – namely Steps 5 and 8. Although most of the Steps can be effectively worked in a Step Study Group setting where members benefit from the guidance of the facilitators and the support of their group members, Steps 5 and 8 do require personal attention. Traditionally most of us work our 12 Steps with a sponsor where along the way we share our Step 5 and get guidance in reference to our list of amends. But for those of us who have joined a 12 Step group and who do not have a sponsor, working these two Steps in a Step Study Group requires finding alternative ways.
The truth is a 12 Step group is an effective way to learn and work the Steps, but it is like a classroom and not designed to offer the benefits of personal sponsorship. For example, as facilitators — especially if conducting a big Step Study Group, you will not be able to act as sponsors to 20 participants who need someone to share their Step 5 with. Nor are you going to be able to offer the proper attention in guiding them all with their amends list in Step 8.
But there are solutions, and you can deal with this situation in one of the following ways:
1) Recommend that group participants buddy up with one another. In a buddy system two members team up with each other in an arrangement similar to co-sponsorship. They can then share their Step 5 with one another and use each other’s support and guidance to work through their amends list in Step 8. You may want to tell them that they can come to you for guidance and suggestions – but only if they feel stuck in particular areas. Note that buddying up with other group members for the duration of the 12 Step group is highly recommended even for participants who have sponsors.
2) If there are not too many participants without sponsors, you as facilitators can divide them equally between yourselves to help them through Steps 5 and 8. But make sure you act in the capacity of a “sponsor” only for these two Steps and share the workload among yourselves. Otherwise taking on the responsibility of sponsoring every group member will overwhelm you and impair your effectiveness as a 12 Step group facilitator.
3) You can find other Fellowship members willing to help out in such capacity. Previous 12 Step group participants are often great candidates to fill this role. Having gone through the course, they are usually willing and eager to help.
Example of NA Weekly Schedule
Below is an example of Weekly Schedule based on Narcotics Anonymous’ “Step Working Guide”. For the Word version of this NA Weekly Schedule which you can use or amend according to your needs and preferences, please refer to: 12 Step Group Worksheets
Example of AA Weekly Schedule
Below is an example of Weekly Schedule based on the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book”. For the Word version of this AA Weekly Schedule which you can use or amend according to your needs and preferences, please refer to: 12 Step Group Worksheets