Preparing For Your First AA Meeting
Going to your first AA meeting can be a little scary, especially if you don’t know what to expect. The good news is anyone can attend an open Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, and you will not be expected to do anything but listen. Here are some steps to help you prepare for your first meeting:
Preparing for your first AA meeting: Find a meeting
There are lots of ways to find a meeting. You can go to the Alcoholics Anonymous website, call your nearest AA intergroup office, or ask a church pastor or anyone else you might know in recovery. If you are going because you are curious about AA, go to an “open” meeting, which is for anyone. Closed meetings are for people who have already decided they have a problem with alcohol or other drugs and wish to stop drinking/using. Some meetings are for men or women only, are conducted in a foreign language, or are meant for other special groups.
Search for “Beginners” meetings to make things easier.
Preparing for your first AA meeting: Ask for a ride
If you don’t have a way to get to your first AA meeting, the local AA office can usually arrange for someone to pick you up.
Preparing for your first AA meeting: Get there early
Many AA meetings are held in churches or other buildings with multiple rooms. Get there early so you can follow someone else to the right place. If you aren’t sure, ask someone.
Preparing for your first AA meeting: Relax
You aren’t expected to do anything but listen in your first AA meeting. Even if they go around the room to read or share, you can pass when it gets to you. In the beginning of the meeting, they may ask if there is anyone attending AA for the first time. You can choose whether or not to raise your hand and introduce yourself.
Preparing for your first AA meeting: Guidelines for sharing
If you want to share, you can, but there are a few guidelines to follow. For one, most AA groups ask that if you have less than 24 hours sober, you should refrain from sharing, but you can raise your hand and ask for help so others in the meeting know who you are and can come talk to you afterwards. Also, most AA groups ask that you don’t “cross-talk” which means that when you share, you keep it on yourself and your experience, not responding to what another person shares. AA is AA. It is not an open therapy session. The chairperson will let the whole room know when it is time to share.
Preparing for your first AA meeting: You don’t have to donate
At some point they will pass the baskets to collect the donations, but you do not have to contribute. If you want to, the normal contribution is $1-$2.
Preparing for your first AA meeting: Ask the chairperson for a directory
When the meeting is over, you can ask the chairperson for a list of meetings in the area or a phone list of others in AA who are willing to be sober supports.
If you or your loved one is in need of treatment for alcohol or drug addiction please give us a call at 800-951-6135. Palm Partners supports AA and incorporates AA principles into it’s model for recovery.