Twelve Step groups are made up primarily of one thing: people. While there may be steps, traditions, literature, and informal customs, the most concrete building blocks of a meeting are the people. Lacking their presence, none of the other things mentioned above can have any effect.
The motives of each member vary widely, from hope to desperation to kindness to indifference to courageous to fearful, etc. If I am correct about that, then what could possibly unite such a diverse group of people? “Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” What is this message?
The definition: Message – Any notice, word, or communication, written or oral, sent from one person to another.
I once read that the message of recovery this this: “The Twelve Steps worked for me when I worked them.” That rang true when I read it, but I suspect have been other important messages carried throughout the decades.
My drawing shows one way that messages get carried. It is a person using semaphor flags on a naval ship. Holding the flags in various positions could be interpreted by anyone familiar with the method. This was a way to transmit letters and numbers from over a great distance without resorting to electronics, documents, or shouting.
This signalman is holding his flags in a position which stands for “annul”. It means the sender wants to start over with a new message. Somehow, that description seemed appropriate for me as I began my recovery journey.