We Believe #10: The Safety and Well-Being of the Group Comes Before Any Individual


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At Jaywalker Lodge, we help men suffering from alcoholism and addiction — especially those who have found recovery difficult in the past. That’s where we got our name, after all: the parable of the Jaywalker found on page 37 of the book Alcoholics Anonymous. This same book also gives us the 12-Step program, the foundation of recovery treatment at Jaywalker Lodge. We root ourselves firmly in the 12-Steps because they are proven to be successful at helping alcoholics and addicts find lasting, meaningful recovery. We know because we are Jaywalkers, and the 12-Steps are still working for us today.

In addition to the 12-Step program of recovery, Jaywalker Lodge is guided by a strong system of beliefs about recovery and treatment. We do things a little differently here, and that’s because we let our heart and core values drive and inform everything we do. We have summarized our convictions into 12 “We Believe” statements. These beliefs are the best way to know what Jaywalker Lodge is all about and why we do what we do. Hopefully, you will come to visit us, so we can get to know you, too.

We Need the Group

This month, we’re going to talk about what We Believe #10: We place the safety and well-being of our peer group above the wants and needs of any individual within it. We value and protect the safety and well-being of every individual at Jaywalker Lodge, but we do so with an understanding that we must protect the group above any single person. Otherwise, there would be no group at all. We’d just be wandering alone. If there is one undeniable fact about recovery, it’s that we can’t recover alone.

The 12-Step program doesn’t leave us with a lot of room for being a lone wolf. It’s almost entirely a wolf-pack scenario. It’s up to us to do the work, go to meetings, be of service, and practice the principles in all our affairs. But we do the 12-Step work with a sponsor and then with our sponsees. We go to meetings with other alcoholics and addicts, and we share with them. As far as service goes, by definition, we need other people for that one. When we practice the principles in all our affairs, a lot of those affairs will have other people right at the center of them.

There is no recovery without other people. If there were no alcoholics and addicts in recovery before we got there, we’d have nobody to show us what to do, nobody to talk to, and nobody to help us out. It was two alcoholics who devised the 12-Step program with a lot of divine inspiration, and we all rely on it to this day. People are the lifeblood of recovery. As long as we stay focused on the 12-Steps and 12-Traditions, we not only have our individual recovery but a functioning recovery fellowship to participate in.

This is the real spirit of We Believe #10 — without a healthy, functioning group, all of us are at risk. Think of it like this: if we’re all on a big ship in the middle of the ocean, what’s more important, one crew member or the whole ship? Without the ship, we’d all be struggling to stay afloat on open water. But it takes every member of the crew doing their job to keep the ship sailing. If one of our own starts trying to set the ship on fire, we have to consider the safety and well-being of everyone on board, as well as the ship itself.

Protecting the Fellowship

Looking at the 12-Traditions, we find that they function for the same purpose: to ensure that the health and continued function of the recovery fellowship is paramount over any one individual, to keep us all safe, and to give us tried-and-true guidelines we can follow to do our part in keeping the recovery community alive, so it can keep saving alcoholics and addicts. The 12-Traditions aren’t exactly rules or steps that we must follow “or else.” Instead, they are a list of things that if we don’t do, we run the risk of damaging the entire recovery community. If the fellowship goes down, then we’re all sunk.

We need each other, and we need the group. Considerations must be made, and guidelines must be set and followed. If any one of us becomes more important than the group, or if any one of us risks the safety and well-being of the group (or any individual within it), we risk sinking the whole ship, and that just can’t happen. We need one another, and our purpose is to lift each other up. To keep doing that, we need to keep the health and safety of the group over the individual always in mind.

Alcoholics and addicts often wind up as lonely and isolated people, a complete opposite of the state they find themselves upon entering recovery. Quickly, a man new to the fellowship of recovery will discover that he cannot get well all on his own. He will have to admit to himself that he needs other people, that he enjoys the fellowship of others, and that, most importantly, he needs their help. We work the 12-Steps with our sponsor, we attend meetings with other alcoholics and addicts, and we are asked to be of service to others. Each of these things entirely depends upon having other people with us. Recovery is the beginning of freedom, but it is also the end of loneliness and isolation. If you find your life stalled by alcoholism or addiction, Jaywalker Lodge is here for you, and we are ready to help. 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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