Why a Pan Fellowship?
“The Definition of Pan = All”
With all the Twelve Step Programmes out there, why one more? Aren’t most all of the problems covered? Well in order to answer such questions it may help to understand how this group started.
In 1999 a group of Alcoholics began getting together on retreat to study and review the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous together every 6 months or so. Word began to get around that this was happening and some of the group that had “other problems” also asked if some of those without alcohol problems could come and participate. It was decided that they could. At the end of one of the retreats it was realised that there were no meetings for all of us to attend and keep the momentum going that had begun at the retreat. So someone suggested that we start a meeting for that purpose. It was recommended that the meeting focused on working the solution, which we consider the Steps to be, and not focused on any “problem.”
The 1st meeting was held on the 22nd of April 2005 on a Friday evening and though it has ebbed and flowed it has been going strong ever since. We have learned much from each other, finding that most of us have “addictive personalities” and that there is great freedom in not having to stifle oneself from speaking of whatever new way that has presented itself in our lives. We have also seen that focusing on the solution rather than the problem brings greater reward for many of us. Most of us love our original programs and wouldn’t give them up for the identification and gratitude we feel. We have also found much solace in the realisation that we are all not so different than we have tried to make out.
Finally, if you belong to any other Twelve Step programme you are welcome through our doors. Our original literature happens to be a study of the 12 Steps from the point of view of a study of the AA literature; since the retreats were originally begun by AA members. Though we are sure that over time we will receive even greater understanding from all of the experience there has been working the Twelve Steps in each of those programmes.
One member attaches these thoughts:
The value of Pan fellowship for me:
(1) Focus on the emotional stuff rather than the substance / behaviour. Putting down the substance / behaviour for me is of limited value, because the pain underneath it rises to the surface without the medication. What I want and need is an approach that treats that stuff, which Pan does.
(2) Focus on the fourth column / my part in my disturbance. Understanding that ‘whenever I am disturbed, no matter what the cause, there is something wrong with us’. This enables me to take responsibility for my part and hence let go of the disturbance, rather than staying in a victim space of anger, fear or ego.
(3) Closely linked – step ten process. Nobody ever has to leave here with a disturbance. It works, and it makes my life palatable as I work the steps and find serenity. Pan people can have that *from day one*, even if their step four takes years, if they work the process.
(4) Strong recovery in the meeting – focus on message of strength and recovery rather than ‘being in the problem’. Valuable for two reasons: (a) seeing others’ recovery gives me hope and inspiration, and (b)
positivity begets positivity (and the reverse). Value of being in a room of miserable people is limited.
(5) Strong community. Encouragement to meet new people, reach out to newcomers, share step tens. Means I never have to deal with a problem alone, and that I have many opportunities to do service and get out of my own head. Lots of phone calls during the week – recovery takes place 24/7, not just during the meeting.
(6) Cross-addiction affiliation. I define my illness by my addictive personality rather than my addictions. If they went away and I didn’t work the steps, other addictions would come along and replace them. It could be any substance or any behaviour that would medicate the pain in the short term. (My core addiction is fantasy, which doesn’t have its own programme.)
(7) Very active focus on working the steps – e.g step study and chairs on Monday, chairs asked to focus on step work on Tuesday and Friday, active step work on Thursday, step tens on Monday, Thursday and Friday, etc. Steps are the solution.
(8) Active sponsorship – through sponsors and the wider community – Support for everyone in working the steps.