Start 12 Step group

12 Steps Facilitation


4- Start 12 Step Group


This page describes the things you need to do in order to start 12 Step group meeting.


1. Establish motive & commitment

2. Find co-facilitators

3. Decide how to conduct

4. Sort out logistics


Start 12 Step group - start a 12 Step meeting


1- Establish motive & commitment

  • 12 Step group facilitators are addicts in recovery who have a solid knowledge of the Steps and want to guide others through the 12 Steps of a specific Fellowship within a group setting. Needleless to say if you are interested in facilitating a Step Study Group you have to have a good working knowledge of the 12 Steps and how to apply them on a daily basis to your own recovery. As the saying goes in the Fellowships, “you have to walk the walk and not just talk the talk.” Which means you have to know from first-hand experience how working the Steps has not only helped you maintain your recovery but has improved your life. At the same time, the program teaches us that recovery is about progress, not perfection. In that none of us can work a perfect program but are entitled to our own individual journey. It therefore makes no sense to wait until you are working a “perfect program” to take on the challenge of starting a Step Study Group. The irony is many of us have found that the quality of our own recovery greatly improves when we have helped others in this manner. So do not allow fear to dissuade you from taking on this worthy commitment. There is incredible satisfaction in witnessing others work their Steps, to see them experience the joys and freedom that come from discovering this new way of living that works.
  • While the impulse to start a 12 Step group is praiseworthy, it is a big commitment. As a would-be facilitator, you need to make sure you have the time to devote to such an undertaking, which takes a fair amount of organizing and can last for several months. What you want to avoid is to taking on the commitment and then being forced to drop out half way through because of other life commitments. It is therefore a good idea to make sure before deciding to start a 12 Step group whether you have the energy for such an undertaking and whether your schedule over the next months allows you to commit to this time-consuming process.
  • Then ask yourself what your motivation is for wanting to start a 12 Step group. Is it based on your ego, about making yourself feel important or is it purely as part of your 12th step work, wanting to carry the message of recovery to other suffering addicts? Remember that doing 12th Step work should always be rooted in the principles of our Fellowship and the means to helping others and ourselves. That we should embark on this task not for financial gain, power or prestige. Bear in mind that our motives should not be based on gaining power. To start a 12 Step group for any other purpose usually leads to disappointment and resentment for all parties. If we take on the job of a facilitator with our motives based on spiritual principles it will be easier to do our work and then leave the results to our God. For instance, it should not matter how many people attend our Step Study Group or if they decide to leave half way through. These are concerns based on our egos and beyond our control. In fact, be ready for group participants to drop off especially once the work on Step 4 starts. But then again, we should let go of pride and not view this as a personal reflection of how we are conducting the group, nor feel discouraged by it. It may even be a blessing to start with a small Step Study Group to get a taste of it and become more experienced as facilitators.
  • We can never know how our 12th step work affects others. Whether they will get the message and start their journey into a new way of life or whether they continue with their life of addiction. But if our motives are right and we do our best to guide others through the Steps, then we can have faith that we have shown the way to an addict, that the seed of recovery has been planted. Recovery is an individual journey for each one of us. You may find someone who left your Study Group early may very well later on discover– as a direct result of attending even a few sessions — the desire to work the rest of the Steps. Therefore as facilitators we let go of control and respect each addict’s journey into recovery, in other words, “We let go and let God.”
  • Whatever else, as people interested in facilitating a 12 Step group we should not allow our fears or insecurities prevent us from taking on this worthwhile commitment. We need to remind ourselves that we too are addicts in recovery, working our program to the best of our ability on a daily basis and that we are there to purely share our experience, strength and hope of the 12 Steps to a group of addicts. Fears of not having the “perfect” knowledge of the Steps by the virtue of our program are baseless because perfection does not exist and it should therefore not deter us from doing this. When we facilitate a 12 Step group on motives in line with the principles of our program then whatever happens — whether someone benefits from our Step Study Group or finds faults with it and leaves – we have done our part for our Fellowship and have helped keep our own recovery.


2- Find co-facilitators

  • Conducting a 12 Step group is not something you can do by yourself. So before forming such a group, you need to find at least one or two other facilitators – people in recovery with working knowledge of the Steps. You need co-facilitators for the simple reason that the job is too demanding and too much of a responsibility for a single person. Co-facilitators have their own roles and responsibilities in addition to supporting the main facilitator throughout the course.
  • Once you have found a couple of other people interested in facilitating a 12 Step group, then you want to make sure you all agree on what the undertaking is about.
  • To establish your commitment is based on the right motives and criteria’s discuss the points below:

1.  What are our motives for wanting to start a 12 Step group?

2.  Do we have a good knowledge of the 12 Steps of the same Fellowship?

3.  Do we have experience of how the steps have worked in your life?

4.  Do we have the time and can commit to this demanding process?

5.  Do we have other life issues needing our attention and energy more?

6.  What are our expectations for the outcome of the 12 Step group?

7.  What are the fears holding us back from doing this?



3- Decide how to conduct

  • Now that you are all in agreement on your motive and commitment, you need to decide how you want to organize and conduct your 12 Step group. You have to decide how you will take your group through the 12 Steps, allocate your roles as facilitators, plus establish some guidelines amongst yourselves. Then you will want to set up some rules and criteria’s for your group participants. In addition, you will need to devise a schedule on what you plan to cover on a weekly basis and how long your 12 Step group will last.
  • For information and suggestions on how to go about this, please refer to: Conduct 12 Step Group


4- Sort out logistics

  • Next you need to sort out the practicalities of starting your 12 Step group. You need to find a venue, and how to pay the rent. Then you have to decide how you will raise awareness for your new 12 Step group so that others can join.
  • For information and suggestions on how to go about this, please refer to: 12 Step Group Logistics

Question or Comment

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