If you are an alcoholic, attending your first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting can be intimidating. This is especially true if you are not sure what to expect or how it will go. You should know that you are not alone and there is nothing to worry about. Every single person in the room was once in your shoes and took the leap to change their lives for the better.
It is, however, important to go into it prepared. Here’s what to expect upon attendance:
The first step in any AA meeting begins with the reading of a preamble which explains how it works:
“Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”
Typically, the chair of the meeting will also recite some AA literature followed by reciting the 12 steps to recovery.
After this, meetings can vary from one another. There are some things that they all have in common, though. For example, meetings usually last about an hour and include speakers (self-introduced by their first name only) who share their personal experiences with addiction and recovery. You’ll also hear testimonies of people who were once alcoholics like yourself and now live sober lives. There’s no pressure to speak at these meetings because everyone understands your struggle; however, it is important to participate as much as possible so you can make connections with others in attendance.
One thing that members of the meetings are advised against is engaging in “cross-talk”, which is when someone is speaking and another person interrupts them to speak about their own addiction or voice their own opinions. Many individuals who share a piece of their lives only want to be heard and listened to. There will be time after the meetings to give counsel to each other on a personal level if they consent to it.
One thing that becomes very clear when attending AA meetings is the humility of each of their members. Hearing others’ personal stories and experiences is something to be valued. It is a reminder that we are not alone and there’s nothing wrong with seeking help when you need it most. It is also proof that substance abuse disorders plague all types of people and are non-discriminatory. Despite all that, it’s also proof that with the right attitude and strong support, you too can overcome addiction.
Attending your first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting can be intimidating. This is especially true if you are not sure what to expect or how it will go. However, the reality of AA meetings is that they’re nothing like what most people imagine them to be – they’re welcoming and helpful! It’s important to remember that the only requirement for membership in AA is a desire to stop drinking; there’s no pressure at all to speak up or share personal stories unless you want to.
Looking to find a Houston AA meeting near you? Make sure to use online resources to find the one that works best for your needs.