Why join a Region like EMER?
From time to time, we get asked why join a Region? What's in it for us? So we asked some of those who are already involved to give their answers to these questions. Here are their replies:
- On a personal level, it is through EMER that isolated people like me get the chance to experience what's it like to be in the heart of recovery.
- Being part of a Region makes our local fellowship 'larger'. Being in telephone and live conferences with sober fellows - and old-timers - helps to grow a culture of sobriety in our local groups too. The 12 Steps work in the practice of our daily lives: this is an addition to that daily life.
- The many different regionwide meetings and committees help us to evaluate and, when necessary, adjust the functioning of our groups and intergroup. For instance: we got tips on how to welcome newcomers in an appropriate way; we can refer members with specific issues in one country to long-time members with the same issues in other countries; or - thanks to the international correctional facilities committee - obtain advice on how to deal with legal matters or carry the messages to prison inmates.
- There are many different ways to carry the message and at EMER meetings we exchange our ideas and experiences. Hearing about work that has been done in medical institutions in Ireland, for instance, or the many meetings Israeli members have with therapists encourages us to do likewise. On the other hand, we ourselves are happy to share how we deal with the press in Belgium and explain how we undertook an extensive mailing to Church people. Though the actual response over here was rather modest, our ideas have inspired other intergroups who may have more success.
- Region enables projects or events that are too big for any one intergroup, or which require a more international approach to be undertaken. For example, creating an international telephone group or a buddy list in a language which is spoken in several different countries, or more translation of literature or building multi-language media libraries of speaker recordings.
- Region may be better positioned to address other 12 Step Fellowships than are young or small local intergroups. Region has a well defined structure of committees that makes smooth operation possible.
- Our Regional website sexaholicsanonymous.eu provides extensive, frequently updated information and technical features which are beyond the capacity of our own intergroup website.
- A major focus of the Region is our yearly, live Regional Assembly and Convention. Region assists the convention committee which is set up by the organising intergroup. The venue alternates: Warsaw in 2013, Jerusalem in 2014, Manchester in 2015 and Madrid in 2016, were all very successful and approached SA's International Conventions in scope. In some countries, the SA solution is accepted only very slowly and in other much more readily. So, it is good for both ends of the scale to be in touch with each other and to see each other having fun in sobriety. Regional events are ideal places to meet new and current sponsors or sponsees.
- Region sponsors a yearly travelling speaker workshop and promotes the events organised by its member intergroups. This gives more dynamism to recovery when perhaps not much is happening locally. Members who are active in EMER enjoy a lot of sober travelling. Region is able to help with the cost of such travelling.
- It is in service within the fellowship that I have experienced the most recovery... It is here that I have slowly recovered some of the sense of usefulness that I used to have in my old life, only now it is no longer built on lust and delusion. I no longer feel I am living a lie. That to me is priceless.
- Of course I will experience some of this at Intergroup level also, but it is only at Regional level that I get to connect with our worldwide service structure and enjoy the satisfaction of being a functioning member of a worldwide fellowship of recovering people.
- We know from long experience in both our own and other 12 Step fellowships that those active in service at ALL levels in this way have a far lower relapse rate. So service at regional level is like taking out the best possible insurance against further relapse.
- On the downside, members should be aware that the creation of a Region will likely arouse opposition from some members - those who see Region as a kind of gravy train for the few. But such opposition is also a help - it forces those of us doing service at regional level to make ourselves strictly accountable to our member groups and provide service of the greatest possible value to our members. In EMER's case I believe it is our website and the quality of our Regional Conventions that has dispelled doubts of this kind.