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Media Addicts Anonymous
12 Step Recovery From
The Compulsive Use of All Media
Closed Back-to-Basics Step Studies
Media Addicts Anonymous (MAA) offers several monthly Back to Basics Step Studies, which allow members to quickly get sober from compulsive media use in a safe, stable, small group setting. Back to Basics (B2B) is an intensive study of the Twelve Steps using the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and is 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 a 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 falls under this Tradition. However, because Back-to-Basics meetings are closed, they do 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 Back-to-Basics Application Form at the bottom of this page if you wish to be placed in the next one-month cycle.
Program Purpose and Structure
Our purpose for Back-to-Basics 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 sessions are led and sponsored by recovered members of MAA. Daily meetings 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, solving problems, and offering support to participants and individual sponsors as needed.
Individual Sponsors: Each incoming 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, they 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 Step Studies meet every weekday at the same time for four weeks. Meetings run for approximately 50 minutes, Monday through Thursday, and approximately 80 minutes on Friday. This includes 15-minutes of fellowship time before each meeting begins, where members get to know their fellows, grow in mutual support, and build group cohesiveness.
The four-week cycle repeats three times with a one-week break between cycles (except following the last session of the year, which typically has a longer break). Members are required to commit for only one month at a time. The media fast is maintained throughout the three-month cycle and during the breaks.
We currently offer sessions at 12:30 am, 7:00 am, 8:30 am, 1:00 pm, 3:00 pm, and 8:30 pm US Eastern Time. Please see the Back-to-Basics Meeting Calendar HERE for your local time zone. All sessions begin their next monthly cycle with a mandatory 90-minute Commitment Meeting on Friday, March 15, 2024. 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, March 18, 2024.
Readings: During our Monday through Thursday meetings, we each take turns reading sections from the 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: A Back-to-Basics Step Study is an action group, where members take all Twelve 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 regular written assignments designed to aid in working the Twelve Steps of MAA and will share them with a sponsor.
Those who join a B2B Step Study 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 a committed, closed Back-to-Basics Step Study, we fast from all media which is not strictly necessary for work, school, and a limited number of things required for daily living (e.g., online banking). 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 is 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 Twelve 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 Twelve Steps.
For more on this, see What Does Media Fasting Really Mean?
Closed B2B Step Studies 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 your group, and third to your 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 (by carefully reading this page and the Back-to-Basics Commitments) before applying for a Back-to-Basics Step Study. At the 90-minute Commitment Meeting, members will be asked whether they understand these commitments and are willing to adhere to them throughout the month.
Mental Health Considerations
We are not a therapists, 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.
B2B is 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 Twelve 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 a Back-to-Basics Step Study 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 sent to you by email the weekend before your Commitment Meeting.
Below are various Pre-commitment assignments you will be expected to have completed by the Commitment Meeting so that you can review them with your assigned sponsor over the first weekend following the Commitment Meeting. The Back-to-Basics Commitments and writing assignments are designed to prepare you to begin working the Twelve Steps in your first week of Back to Basics.
Media Fasting Plan
Resistance Worksheet Example
In the Meantime ...
Depending upon availability in the next month's sessions (or subsequent ones), 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 Single-Speaker Talks and Multiple-Speaker Talks. 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 Twelve Steps together (and keep each other accountable).
Q: What happens if a religious holiday, vacation, or other personal engagement impacts 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 50 minutes Monday through Thursday and 80 minutes on Friday. This includes 15 minutes for pre-meeting fellowship time, followed by the Back-to-Basics meeting (35 minutes Monday through Thursday, and one hour on Friday). You will also meet with your sponsor several times per week, and need time for daily writing assignments and Twelve 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 (except following the last session of the year, which typically has a longer break). However, members are only required to commit for one month at a time. The media fast is maintained throughout the three month-long cycles and during 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 Twelve Steps and meet with you daily (Monday through Friday, and once over the weekend) while you are a participant in a closed Back-to-Basics Step Study. Your sponsor needs 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 Step Study?
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 Twelve-Step 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 Step Study. We must be sober to work the Steps.
Q: What if I am currently working the Twelve 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 judgment in consultation with your existing sponsor(s) in any other Twelve-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 90-minute 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.
If you are interested in applying for membership in the closed Back to Basics Step Study which begins on March 15, 2024, please complete the following form. This form is to be used only if you are applying for Month 1. If you are repeating Month 1 or continuing with Month 2 or Month 3, your Group Sponsors will notify Intake that you intend to continue.
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