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MAA offers several monthly “Back to Basics, A Design for Living” groups, which allow members to quickly get sober from compulsive media use in a safe, stable, small group setting. Back to Basics (or B2B) is comprised of intensive Twelve Step Big Book-study groups designed to help media addicts (a) understand media addiction, (b) fast from all unnecessary media, (c) gain personal sobriety, (d) develop a Media Withdrawal and Media Replacement Plan, and (e) complete all Twelve Steps of MAA with the support of a sponsor.
MAA Tradition Nine states, "MAA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve." The creation of Back-to-Basics sobriety groups falls under this Tradition. However, because this is a closed committed sobriety group, Back to Basics does not follow Tradition Three, which states, "The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop compulsively using media." Back to Basics requires participants to meet specific commitments, not included in open MAA meetings.
Please read the following information and complete the B2B Application Form at the bottom of this page if you wish to be placed into one of our groups for the next one-month cycle.
Program Purpose and Structure
Our purpose for the Back-to-Basics sessions is to provide a safe, structured environment where participants learn the principles of recovery, take the Twelve Steps, and have a life-changing spiritual awakening.
These month-long sobriety groups are led and sponsored by recovered members of MAA. The daily sessions are designed to help members get sober from media addiction and stay ahead of the disease.
Group Sponsors – Each B2B meeting is run by Group Sponsors. These are two or more recovered members of MAA, who have completed three cycles of Back to Basics and whose mission is to safeguard group integrity, cohesion, and safety. They are tasked with ensuring that meetings run smoothly, coordinating various group activities, problem-solving issues, and offering support to participants and individual sponsors as needed.
Individual Sponsors – Each incoming group member will be matched with an individual sponsor, who will meet with them a few times per week to assist them in working the Twelve Steps, review written assignments, and answer any questions.
B2B Members form a supportive group. Together, this tight-knit group of MAA fellows maintain a month-long media fast, share their experience strength and hope via outreach calls or during fellowship time, and take all Twelve Steps of recovery.
Back-to-basics groups meet every weekday for a four weeks. Group members and sponsors meet at the same time for 35 minutes Monday through Thursday and for one hour on Fridays.
Participants are required to arrive on time and are encouraged to attend the 15-minute fellowship time held each day prior to each meeting to get to know their fellow members, grow in mutual support, and build group cohesiveness.
The four-week cycle repeats three times with a one-week break between cycles; however, members are only required to commit for one month at a time. The media fast is maintained throughout the three monthly cycles and during the one-week breaks.
Please see the B2B groups listed in the Back to Basics Meeting Calendar in your local time zone. We currently offer groups (all shown in U.S. Eastern Time) at 12:30am, 7am, 8:30am, 1pm, and 8:30pm. These groups will begin their next monthly cycles on Friday, September 8, 2023 with a mandatory 90 minute Commitment Meeting. After a participant commits to being “All In” at the end of this Commitment Meeting, they will meet with an assigned sponsor over the weekend, then begin the first of four weeks of the B2B program on the following Monday, September 11, 2023.
Readings: During our Monday through Thursday meetings, we each take turns reading sections from Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous—the text with the best track record for helping people recover from addiction. The longer Friday sessions include special, interactive activities that engage all members of the group.
Step Work: Back-to-Basics groups are action groups, where members take all 12 Steps within the one-month session. We have found that most members find it necessary to repeat this monthly process for three consecutive months in order to build meaningful sobriety from the compulsive use of media.
Writing Assignments: Members will complete written assignments designed to aid in working the Twelve Steps of Media Addicts Anonymous and will share them with a sponsor.
Those who join a B2B sobriety group make a commitment to fast from all unnecessary media for a full month while working the Steps with an assigned sponsor. Like all addicts, we can’t stop using media compulsively unless we find a way to be held accountable for our addictive behaviors. This is why, in these committed, closed Back-to-Basics sobriety groups, there are consequences for continuing harmful media behavior. We have found this to be the “easier, softer way.”
To become a member of Back to Basics, we ask that you be willing to fast from all unnecessary media. Members may continue to use media that’s necessary for work, school, banking, family business, household maintenance, recovery, and spiritual progress.
Why do we fast from all unnecessary media and not just the media that is triggering or troublesome? For three reasons: 1) we have found that media is very seductive, and it's easy to rationalize its use; 2) while one form of media may not be troublesome, once we stop using our “alcoholic” media, we tend to transfer our compulsion to another form of media; and 3) to work MAA’s 12 Steps, we need the inner quiet and mental clarity to be honest with ourselves and our sponsor. We cannot do this if we are still secretly “getting drunk on media.” We must be sober to work the 12 Steps.
For more on this, see What Does Media Fasting Really Mean?
Closed B2B groups have policies in place to safeguard group integrity. Members are required to meet certain commitments, starting with fasting from all unnecessary media. These commitments have been developed to help each member attain and maintain media sobriety.
When you make these commitments, you are making them first to yourself, second to the group, and third to the Group Sponsors. We hold each other accountable throughout the course of the month.
B2B members are expected to attend ALL the meetings each week, with very few exceptions. Only pre-arranged absences for a narrow range of reasons or for a life-or-death emergency will be excused. Please make sure your schedule is clear during the set meeting times and that you budget adequate time for writing assignments, working the Steps, and meeting with your sponsor. If you anticipate missing more than two meetings for any reason during the upcoming B2B session, please refrain from applying now and sign up later, at a time you are certain to meet the requisite time commitment.
Please make sure you familiarize yourself with all the requirements for joining Back to Basics before applying for a group. At the group’s Commitment Meeting, members will be asked whether they understand these commitments and are willing to adhere to them throughout the month.
For more on the Back-to-Basics requirements, please read the Back to Basics Commitments.
Mental Health Considerations
Let us be clear, we are not a therapy group, nor do we have expertise in mental health issues. In joining Back to Basics, you have a responsibility for your own wellbeing and the wellbeing of others in your group by respecting the established guidelines. We take the safety of each member seriously.
These sobriety action groups are not for everyone. If you have a severe emotional or mental illness or if you physically cannot sustain the required rigor of going through the 12 Steps in the manner outlined in this program, we recommend you please wait until you are in a healthier place or have found other avenues of recovery. We are here to work the Twelve Steps of Media Addicts Anonymous and to keep our focus on media fasting. If you are under the care of a mental health professional, we ask that you clear this with them prior to enrollment in this program.
Once you join Back to Basics, please make sure you have the needed outside support if anything comes up for you during the one-month session. When you sign up for Back to Basics, you are stating that you are mentally and physically capable of participating fully in this intensive Twelve Step sobriety group.
Participating in Back to Basics requires an Internet connection and a digital device that can access the Zoom application. You MUST have your camera on throughout all meetings. Please make sure to download the Zoom app to your device and test your camera and microphone. The zoom link will be provided when you receive our email response confirming your enrollment in a B2B group.
Below are various assignments you will be asked to complete by the weekend following the Commitment Meeting. In the Pre-Commitment Assignments document, you are instructed to write your history with media addiction. It may be helpful to get a head start on these assignments, since you will be expected to review them with your assigned sponsor over the first weekend. The B2B commitments and writing assignments are designed to prepare you to begin working the 12 Steps in your first week of Back to Basics.
Media Fasting Plan
Resistance Worksheet and Resistance Worksheet Example
In the Meantime ...
Depending upon availability in the next month's sessions, or until you begin with your group, we encourage you to review our website for information on media addiction, attend MAA meetings, get to know members of the MAA fellowship, and listen to recorded talks by recovering media addicts, found under Solution Recordings and Open B2B Recordings. Here are some other MAA resources:
Urge Surfing Worksheet
Saturday Sobriety Meeting Format
300 Things to Do for Fun
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Would it be possible to attend at a different time on certain days?
A: No. Each member commits to their specific group and attends all its meetings. This cultivates unity and mutual support. We have found that we grow in our sobriety while working the 12 Steps together as a group (and keep each other accountable).
Q: What happens if I have a religious holiday, vacation or other personal engagement which would impact my attendance?
A: B2B members are required to attend ALL meetings during the four-week session, with very few exceptions. Only pre-arranged absences for a narrow range of reasons or for a life-or-death emergency will be excused. Please make sure your schedule is clear during the set meeting times. If you anticipate missing more than two meetings for any reason during the upcoming B2B session, please refrain from applying now and sign up later, at a time you are certain to meet the requisite time commitment.
Q: Some days I’m not able to be on camera. Is this ok?
A: For group cohesion and integrity, you must keep your camera on and be clearly visible at all times.
Q: How much time, other than meetings, is required each month?
A: Please budget time for pre-meeting fellowship (15 minutes daily), meeting time (35 minutes Mon-Thu and 1 hour on Fridays), meeting with your sponsor several times per week, and time for daily writing assignments and 12 Step inventory work.
Q: Can my partner and I be in the same group?
A: No. We recommend that your partner enroll in another group.
Q: Is this a one-month or three-month program?
A: Back to Basics is a four-week cycle, which repeats three times with a one-week break between cycles; however, members are only required to commit for one month at a time. The media fast is maintained throughout the three monthly cycles and during the one-week breaks.
Q: I already have an MAA sponsor. Can they serve as my B2B sponsor?
A: You may keep your sponsor during Back to Basics only if they are a sober member of MAA and are willing to help you work the 12 Steps and meet with you daily (M-F, and once over the weekend) while you are a participant in a closed Back-to-Basics group. They need to be willing to be in communication with your Group Sponsors.
Q: Must I have prior recovery experience to be a part of a Back-to-Basics group?
A: No prior recovery experience is necessary—only your willingness to get and stay media sober.
Q: I have other substance addictions.
A: Many of us have experienced recovery in other 12 Steps programs. If you are actively abusing substances such as alcohol or drugs, this is not the best time for participating in a closed Back-to-Basics group. We must be sober to work the Steps.
Q: What if I am currently working the 12 Steps in another fellowship? Can I still do Back-to-Basics?
A: Back to Basics is a time-intensive and rigorous program. Use your best judgement in consultation with your existing sponsor(s) in any other 12 Step fellowship(s).
Q: Is there a minimum age requirement to participate in a closed Back-to-Basics group?
A: Yes, you must be at least 18 years of age.
Q: Do I need to begin my media fast before the start of my group?
A: It is recommended that you begin your media fast three or more days prior to the Commitment Meeting, which is held the Friday before the first week of closed Back to Basics.
How to Apply
To apply for the next one-month cycle of Back to Basics, please complete the Back to Basics Application Form below and select your first and second preferred time slots. Local time zones are reflected in our Back to Basics Meeting Calendar.
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