How the 12 Steps Affects my Mental Health

Towards the end of September and into early October, I didn’t attend any 12 Steps meetings for almost three weeks. I was on the fence about leaving and trying to stay clean on my own.

So, what effect did that have on my daily mood and happiness?

Fortunately I track my daily mood using a free app called Pixels (available from the Google Play store). It allows me to grade my mood each day on a scale of 1-5.

For me, 1 means I’m depressed, feeling low and unproductive. 5 means I’m having a very good day.

My Pixels scores show me that my mood started dipping a few days after I stopped attending meetings. And my scores remained lower for about two weeks – most days were scored at 1, 2 or 3.

But then, in the five days since I started attending meetings again, every day has been a 4 or 5.

So, my mood has significantly improved.


Correlation Does Not Equal Causation

It’s worth remembering that my mood scores may not have been directly influenced by my meeting attendance. In other words, it could all just be coincidence.

However, I don’t think it is.

When I attend 12 Steps meetings, I feel “topped up” spiritually. I spend time with people who are like me – addicts. They care for me and I care for them. I’ve been to three meetings in the last five days. Each time, I’ve left feeling better than I went in.

I’m pretty sure that the 12 Steps fellowship is doing great things for my mental health and managing my depression. At a bare minimum, it’s making me socialise rather than isolating myself at home.

I just have to keep reminding myself of these benefits on days where I think about quitting the 12 Steps! Addiction is a cunning disease and I’m sure there will be more of those days!

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