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What Can I Expect From My First Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting?

If you have decided to attend your first Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, you have already taken a brave step in the right direction toward recovery. Maybe you have never been to AA before and feel a little intimidated or are unsure of what to expect. Taking the time to learn a little bit more about what AA is and what your first meeting might look like can help ease your nerves. You will likely find that the reality of AA is much lot different than how you’ve seen it portrayed in movies or television shows. 

At Sage Recovery, we believe that peer support plays an incredibly important role in the recovery from substance misuse. One of the best places to find this peer support is through a 12-Step program like AA. These types of programs are welcome to everyone. Further, they are completely free of judgment; rather, you will be met with nothing but compassion and respect at these meetings. 

What Are the Basics of Alcoholics Anonymous?

AA is a nonprofit organization that was started in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. The purpose of the AA program is to help others get sober and stay sober while supporting, and being supported by, others in recovery. It follows Twelve Steps of personal growth that help lead you through a mental, emotional, and spiritual shift. These steps allow you to come to a greater understanding of your addiction and find freedom through recovery. 

AA talks a lot about a higher power. A higher power can be defined in a lot of different ways. You don’t have to be a spiritual or religious person to follow this program. For some people, this higher power could be God, while for others it may be nature, the universe, or anything greater than themselves. AA does not push any religious beliefs and is not political. 

When you first begin this program, you can ask to be paired up with a sponsor. Your sponsor is someone who has been in recovery for a significant amount of time and can help guide you through the process. They are the person who you can call when you may be feeling tempted, experiencing urges, or simply need someone to vent to. As you get further in the process you may choose to be a sponsor to someone else if you would like. 

What Does the Structure of an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Look Like?

You can find an AA meeting that is local to you online. Meetings are typically held in churches, community centers, or other meetings that are open to the public. You should be able to find the time and exact location of the meeting online, along with whether or not it is an open or closed meeting. Open meetings are available to everyone, whereas closed meetings are confined to a particular group. 

When you first walk into an AA meeting you will notice that people tend to sit in a circle to include everyone in the discussion. The meeting will be led by a chairperson who is also in recovery. In general, you can expect the meeting to follow a pretty similar and easy-to-follow structure every time. 

The meeting typically begins with some of the following: 

Depending upon the type of meeting, there will then either be a reading from an AA text, or someone will begin the discussion. The discussion will be connected to one of the Twelve Steps or promises, another aspect of the program, or simply a general topic related to recovery. It may move around the circle, allowing each person a chance to share at least once. Meanwhile, everything you choose to share at AA will be kept entirely confidential so you can feel comfortable sharing as much or as little as you want. 

At the end of the meeting, there will usually be another brief reading or the recitation of a prayer such as “The Lord’s Prayer.” You then have the opportunity to mingle and chat with other people at the meeting if you would like to do so. 

How Much Should I Share at My First Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting?

You might be wondering what to share or how much to share at your first AA meeting. When it is your turn, you can introduce yourself and simply state that you are only listening. However, if you do wish to share, you can talk a little bit about where you’re at in your recovery or whatever else you would like to discuss. Nobody will pressure you to share more than you’re willing. 

If you would like to learn more about what to expect at an AA meeting, our team at Sage Recovery can help. 

Addiction affects countless people throughout the world who are from all different backgrounds and lifestyles. It doesn’t discriminate when it comes to age, race or nationality. Addiction can be a very isolating experience and you may feel like you’re in this all alone. Yet, in recovery, you will find a group of truly supportive individuals who want to help you achieve sobriety. If you are ready to take the first brave step toward living a sober life, our team at Sage Recovery can help. We can help you to find freedom from addiction. Give us a call at (512) 306-1394 today and a member of our team will be happy to answer any questions you may have.