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What Is Fellowship?

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Here’s another term that you might hear people talking about at meetings and be like what are they all talking about? It’s Fellowship. Like many other slogans and sayings in AA it has a kind of old-timey and folksy feel. But what it basically means is hanging out with your new sober friends.

The three points of the triangle in the AA logo represent Unity, Service and Recovery. Part of the unity aspect is spending time with one another and developing bonds. It’s important to “fellowship” with other members in AA so that we can strengthen our own and others' recovery.

You might hear someone say something like “Is anyone fellowshipping after the meeting?” Sounds kind of weird right? Translation: Is a group of AA members getting together at the diner (or some other place) after the meeting. So now when you hear that you don’t have to feel like an outsider, you already know the secret code. Jump right in and join them. Everyone is welcome. Don’t forget to tip your waiter.

Sometimes members take it upon themselves to organize more involved “fellowshipping activities.” For instance, a meeting might organize an annual picnic. Think about not just attending but also joining the committee and helping organize things. What a great opportunity for service and to get to know your fellow members a bit. There are also AA dances. Sober dancing is certainly not for the faint of heart. But getting started is the hardest part. Once you hit the dance floor and realize everyone else looks like just as much of a dork as you, you’ll be fine.

The important thing to remember with fellowship is that just because we are sober that doesn’t mean that the fun and socializing has to stop. Added bonus: you’ll remember everything that happens!

Another key aspect of fellowship is to help reduce the feelings of isolation that many of us can sometimes feel. Addiction thrives in isolation. For many sober alcoholics, the tendency to isolate is strong. And it is a reflex we must consciously attempt to subvert. Much like picking up the phone and reaching out to speak with another sober alcoholic, participating in fellowship helps us and also helps the group.

Fellowship is about helping us realize all the good things life has to offer without drinking. We get used to talking to people and being genuinely interested in them without the aid of a social lubricant. We find joy in a simple outing with friends or a good warm meal at a simple diner. We learn to laugh again. We learn that all these things were here all along. And we never needed alcohol to enjoy any of them in the first place.

What kind of fellowship activities do you like to participate in? Do you have any ideas for a fun new activity that could really bring your group together?