Small Group Guidelines

ALL Open Share and Step Study groups are expected to honor specific guidelines

designed to make the sharing SAFE and productive for everyone.

1. Keep your sharing focused on your own thoughts and feelings. Limit your sharing to 3-5 minutes.

This teaches us to become responsible for ourselves and begin to be honest about OUR own struggles. We don't talk about our family members, co-workers or others' problems. We learn to use "I" "me" and "my" statements and avoid "you" or "we". The time limit is established by the leader based on the number of people in attendance. This encourages members to pay attention to the lesson or testimony and organize their thoughts a bit before sharing. This gives everyone an opportunity to share and helps prevent any one person from dominating the group.

2. There is NO cross talk. Each person is free to express his/her thoughts and feelings without interruption.

Cross talk is when two or more people engage in a conversation that excludes or interrupts others. It includes making distracting comments or asking questions, speaking to someone else while another is sharing or responding to what someone has said during his/her time of sharing. We try not to interrupt thoughts or feelings. Encouragement is exposure with acceptance.

3. We are here to support one another, not "fix" one another.

This also helps keep us focused on our own issues. We do not give advice or attempt to solve someone else's problem. We do not offer book or counselor referrals. It is our firm belief that God will change each of us in his time and for each person's own good. We are not licensed counselors, psychologists, or therapists. It is up to individual members to pursue counseling assistance when they are ready. Christian counseling agency information is available on many CR group's information tables.

4. Anonymity and confidentiality are basic requirements. What is shared in the group stays in the group. The only exception is when someone threatens to injure themselves or others.

We do not share information from the group with friends, family members or other groups members out side of the group. This is called gossip. We cannot control what will happen to information after it leaves our lips. We learn to respect others right to share their information as THEY see fit. The only exception is if anyone threatens harm to themselves or someone else. There is a specific protocol which the ministry leader follows to ensure everyone is safe.

5. Offensive language has no place in a Christ-centered recovery group.

Our main concern is that the Lord's name not be used inappropriately. Offensive language also could include graphic description which could trigger flashbacks or even a relapse. Members are free to share difficult topics with discretion but encouraged to save details for private sessions with a sponsor or accountability partner.