8 Ways to Approach a Newcomer

8 Ways to Approach a Newcomer

Coming into a 12-Step program is a difficult task for many people. There are few people, if any, that come into recovery on a winning streak. Typically, people coming in are in pretty bad shape and need help to discern what it is they need to do next. 


Do you remember when you came into the rooms of your first 12-Step meeting? Try to think back to how awkward and unsure you were not knowing what to expect. Hopefully, you can remember someone greeting you, welcoming you to sit down, and then ask you to keep coming back at the end of the meeting. 


This is the goal of meetings across the world, to give people who need to stop drinking and using a place to come to so they can finally feel like they are a part of something good. This whole experience we give to newcomers is important to uphold because they need guidance just like you did when you first came in. Reaching out to newcomers does just as much for you as it does for them, and here are 8 ways to approach them.


Be Friendly

The first impression you make is always important. For a newcomer, they need some friendliness in their life, especially with all the consequences they are having to endure. Trying to greet people that you have never seen in the meeting before lets people simply know you are friendly. Your friendliness is a way to be of service right from the get-go for a newcomer who really needs to get connected. 


Be Genuine 

Showing them authenticity in your greetings and in your words will be important for a newcomer. Most likely they will already be experiencing high anxiety and some genuine warmth can make them feel comfortable enough to stay around. The more earnest they see recovery, the more they will be willing to try it for themselves.


Be Willing

You may not think you have anything to offer to a newcomer, but you most certainly do. Use your one-day-at-a-time perspective to give them hope that they can stay sober just as you have. Showing your willingness to be willing will also give them the willingness to be willing. You may have only started with a mustard seed of willingness and look at how much it has grown. By being a good example of willingness, they can follow your lead. 


Be Open-Minded

While newcomers need to be guided with suggestions for their recovery, you need to show some open-mindedness to their recovery. As much as you want them to have the same experience in their recovery as you did, they will still need to find their own. Obviously, if you think that they are putting themselves in jeopardy of relapse, you should advise them, but remember that being scolded or told what to do is a turn off for many. 


Be Considerate

Old school recovery used to give the impression that you should “sit down and shut up”. Some will need this type of instruction although others will need to be shown some consideration. There is no need to coddle newcomers into their recovery. You should just try to exhibit kindness to them, so they know they are in the right place.


Be Helpful 

Chances are they will have no idea what a 12-Step program entails. You have an opportunity to positively show them what they are in for. Give them a meeting schedule, invite them to birthday parties, workshops, or give them a commitment at a meeting. Your goal should be to make them feel part of the group as soon as possible so they can start recovering as soon as possible. 


Be Approachable

The best thing you can do for a newcomer is to appear approachable even before they come up to you. Practicing the principles in all your affairs gives the newcomer the impression that you would be someone they could come up to and ask for assistance. Once they come up to you, do your best to show them the ropes so they can start their own journey in recovery. 


Be Yourself

Most importantly, be the wonderful person you have become in sobriety. Using all these suggestions can show you how to greet the most important person in the room – the newcomer. You do not necessarily have to sponsor them. You can just show them all the gifts of sobriety you have received and share how you achieved your recovery. There were probably people in your meetings that “had what you wanted” and you can now be that for the newcomer. 


Now that you have made sobriety a priority for yourself, you can pass on your experience, strength, and hope to the newcomer. No need to talk the talk, just walk the walk and you will be transmitting hope for everyone to see, especially the newcomer. 


Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463

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