April 2, 2010
Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps – What to Expect in an AA Meeting
If you are having drinking problems and have resorted to attend the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, you are probably determined to get rid of alcoholism. However, as with any new experience, you probably have butterflies in your stomach and wondering what the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps meeting is all about and how can attending a simple AA meeting be helpful in your state.
An AA meeting can be opened or closed. Open meeting invites anybody irrespective of their status – alcoholic or non alcoholic. Closed meetings are only for people who admit they have a drinking problem and want to stop it. Meetings are also held in foreign languages. Since it is an open meeting with no membership, most of them have a curious mix of people from different classes of society, different backgrounds and different ages. However, do not be shy as all they have come to attend the meeting for the same objective – to stop drinking.
Most meetings begin with a solemn prayer and sometimes first times are asked to introduce themselves. Sometimes, the meeting is unstructured and involves a few of long term members speaking about their addiction, their experiences and how they got rid of it. A few others are also encouraged to share their experiences as an alcoholic and their current motivations & efforts to get rid of their drinking problem. It is expected that people start their conversations with “I am ______ and I am an alcoholic”. Typically, in an AA meeting, a person is not allowed to comment or cross talk when another person is speaking.
Some meetings are structured where a guest speaker or a particular speaker talks for a few minutes on a specific topic. Sometimes, announcements are made and anniversaries marking years of sobriety are celebrated with a round of applause. Some meetings are dedicated to a certain chapter of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps Rule and is typically known as a “Step Study Meeting”.
A basket is passed around for voluntary donations of any amount. It is not compulsory to contribute. The meeting is generally brought to an end again with a prayer. Most members mingle before or after the meeting and some long standing sober members may even hand over their numbers to you if you are a beginner or are still recovering. Keep these numbers as these people will not hesitate to come and help you if you are craving for a drink and finding it hard to control or suppress your desire.
AA meetings can be different each time and vary from locality to locality as they do not have any strict guidelines or structure. If you feel your local AA meeting is not very helpful, you can attend other AA meetings around your neighborhood. Information on AA meetings can be found on the Internet or the newspapers.