The Value of Fellowship in Recovery

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We usually only hear the word “fellowship” in popular movies about hobbits or in the rooms of recovery. Many chalk the word’s meaning up to a group of people walking to Mordor or getting coffee after a meeting. Is that all it really means? The word “fellowship” may be a recovery colloquialism, but it holds far more value than perhaps we realize.

What Is Fellowship?

All hobbit jokes aside, fellowship has a real-world definition. It is “a friendly association, especially with people who share one’s interests.” Simple enough, right? But in recovery, fellowship means a lot more than this. As a verb, “fellowshipping” is when people in recovery go somewhere together to spend time enjoying life in recovery. It could be getting coffee, going bowling, or reading the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. It could be when we go out with our closest friends from our recovery community. It could be the weekly “meeting after the meeting.” It might even be just kicking back in a recovery-friendly environment or doing 12-Step work together.

Fellowshipping is an especially helpful tool in meetings or groups where newcomers are common. We want to take them out fellowshipping with us as soon and as often as possible, so those who are new to recovery will know that they belong and they’re welcome. They’ll get to see how much we enjoy our lives in recovery. And most importantly, they’ll get to see that recovery really does work.

Fellowship as a noun means the recovery community as a whole and/or the immediate members of a particular recovery group. It means our friends, familiar faces, newcomers, old-timers, sponsors, sponsees, and more. It can also be used to describe just spending time with these people when not in a meeting. It can even mean the general sense of inclusivity and welcoming that our group shows to new people and each other. In short, fellowship and fellowshipping are the who, the what, and the how of trudging the road of happy destiny together.

Why Do We Fellowship?

We need each other. Nobody recovers alone — period. Without one another, there is no recovery community and, therefore, no recovery. We can’t work the 12-Steps without a sponsor. We can’t attend meetings without other sober alcoholics and addicts. We can’t stay in recovery without people to be of service to and carry the message to. We can’t do it alone. We need people with time in recovery to sponsor us, we need new people to be our sponsees, we need people to run the meetings and keep the lights on so there are places for us to meet and people for us to help. This is why we need the fellowship. Without it, we’d pretty much have nothing, possibly not even our recovery.

We’re in this thing together. Every day in recovery, we need each other in ways both small and big, for the good times and the tough times. The fellowship gives us a recovery community to call home, and fellowshipping with these people gives our life the fullness and joy that make recovery so beautiful.

How Does Fellowship Work?

Becoming part of the fellowship of recovery is relatively straightforward. Find a regular meeting — or two or five — and attend regularly. There are weekly meetings and recovery halls probably close by. Make yourself present at these places, and it won’t be long before the recovery community makes you feel welcome. It’s what we do and how we all get to keep our wonderful lives in recovery. There are no strangers among us for long, but we must each do our part. For those of us who are new, that means making ourselves regular attendees of at least a few meetings. We should share at these meetings and introduce ourselves to a few people, both before and after.

It helps even more when we start to do what people in recovery do: work the 12-Steps with a sponsor, be of service, and carry the message. Participating in the recovery lifestyle makes us an automatic full-fledged member of the recovery fellowship. People will take notice and help make sure we’re a part of everything that goes on.

Being new to recovery can be a bit overwhelming for some of us, and that’s understandable. It would help us greatly if we could overcome our shyness. We may need to introduce ourselves to people so they know we’re serious about our recovery. Don’t be afraid to extend your hand and greet the people you find at meetings. They won’t be strangers for long! It also helps if we learn to say “yes” to invites and don’t keep our hands in our pockets when people introduce themselves to us. We’ve got to be willing and make a little effort in recovery, but that’s the easy stuff. The 12-Steps and our higher power do all the heavy lifting.

The value of fellowship in recovery is virtually impossible to overstate. We simply cannot do this without each other. The road of a happy destiny is a long one — hopefully our whole lives long — and we’re going to be trudging together for a while through all of life’s ups and downs. So let’s do our best to get to know our trudging buddies, make them part of our lives, and continue passing the torch by welcoming the next newcomer.

Jaywalker Lodge understands the value of fellowship in recovery because we know how fellowship changed our own lives. That is exactly why we put such a huge emphasis on the community here. We’re all Jaywalkers, and Jaywalker Lodge is our communal home. We’ve each got to do the work for ourselves, but we never go it alone. Becoming a genuine part of the larger recovery community is essential, but we also have our very own Jaywalker alumni recovery community. This is the first taste of community and fellowship that many of our men have had in years — maybe ever. And we understand the power and importance of such fellowship for people who are new or struggling with recovery. We can’t do this alone. At Jaywalker Lodge, you’ll know that you’re never alone. If you’re ready to begin trudging the happy road of destiny with us, call us now at (866) 529-9255.

author avatar
Stefan Bate, MA, LAC, CCTP Chief Clinical Officer
Stefan Bate, BA, MA, LAC holds a Master's Degree in Applied Psychology from Regis University and is a Licensed Addiction Counselor in the state of Colorado. Stefan has wide-ranging experience in the field of addiction recovery including: working as a recovery coach, therapist, and program director.

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