Get Through Your First AA Meeting In 4 Easy Steps
It’s perfectly normal to be a bit apprehensive about going to your first AA meeting, so here are a few steps that can help you in going through your first meeting with flying colors.
Come early. It’s a no-brainer that being late can still give you that scary feeling that you’ re going to have a grand entrance and attract everyone’s attention. You can wait for a few minutes in the parking lot while you watch members go in. After gathering enough courage, you can walk in with the crowd, take a seat next to a member who looks safe (Oh, they all are, but choose someone you feel comfortable with) and expect for good things to happen.
When the meeting is finally over, you’ll realize, just like the others who made it, that there’s nothing really to be anxious about. A.A. members are there to help and they really want you to stay at the meeting and hopefully enjoy your attendance so you’ll keep on coming back till you’re sober enough to stand on your own.
Remember you are free to keep silent. Most AA meetings will not ask you to say anything. If in case members will be asked to say something, like introduce themselves or share their stories, you can simply say, “pass”, and they will understand. As you attend more meetings, you may be more confident to share your thoughts.
Don’t force yourself to look strong on the outside just to conform to the rest of AA members. You’re there because you need help, as most of them are. If you have nothing to share because you’re suffering, just listen to them and take your time to learn about AA’s 12-steps and traditions.
Attend the type of AA meeting which you’ll feel most comfortable at. If you’re simply curious of what AA is like, you can start with open meetings. It is open for everyone unlike closed meetings which are only for people who think they have problems with alcohol. There are also meeting categories like for men or for women only, and for others special groups. You can visit Sober.com for the AA listings.
You may want to go to several types of AA meetings (closed, open, Big Book, etc.) as they are not all alike. If you attend several types of AA meetings, you will find the most suitable AA meeting which best meets your needs. But, some people start out in open meetings where anyone can join, next to 12 steps meetings, then the BIG Book meetings, and finally, closed meetings. There’s really no sequence in attending different types of AA meetings so you can experiment on your own, depending on which type of meeting works best for you.
Attend the meeting and enjoy it, “one day at a time”. Don’t worry whether you’ll be going back or not. Just get in and see how it feels to be a part of a group of people who have felt the same pain you are actually going through. Who knows? You may enjoy it and keep on coming back.
A lot of alcoholics are a bit scared in going to AA meetings because they think they’ll run into an old drinking buddy or someone who knows them. So, why don’t you try the few steps above? They can help you in your first meeting and hopefully usher you back to a second meeting.