If you have been discharged from a rehab facility and keen to prevent a relapse, attending local AA meetings can be a wise decision. The first step to doing that is to search for an “AA meeting near me” online or use an AA meeting locator. This will provide you with locations of Alcoholic Anonymous meetings near where you stay.
Why go to an AA meeting?
AA meetings are held at different locations during different times. So, depending on your location you can choose a venue that is convenient for you. Once you have decided to attend an AA meeting you may find it helpful to find out what goes in such meetings. It is alright to feel apprehensive before your first meeting since you do not know what is going to happen there.
Things that you can do to get ready for your first AA meeting:
- For those who are rather worried about attending an AA meeting, it may be better to opt for an “open” one. This is meant for anyone, while “closed” meetings are only for those that have admitted their problem and are willing to work on it. You can look for “beginners” meetings so that it is easier for you to handle.
- You can request for a ride to the meeting if you do not have a car. At times, the local AA offices can arrange for your pick-up. You should simply show up for the meeting. You may not say anything and none will throw you out for not sharing or speaking up. You can simply sit down and listen the first time around, because that is vital.
- Many AA meetings are held in buildings having many rooms or in churches. It is better to make sure you are there on time when the meeting starts. Reaching early is helpful as you can ask someone about the venue if you are not sure.
- You need to stay relaxed because you will not be expected to say or do anything on your first visit. You can easily pass up the chance to read or share your story. When someone asks if there is anyone new to the meeting, you can choose to raise your hand or not.
- You must prepare yourself not to cross-talk when you are at an AA meeting. If you wish to share, you have the right to do so, following certain guidelines. The chairperson decides when you can share your experience.
- Exposing your weakness or vulnerability during such meetings is alright. You are free to share anything you want about yourself. You can simply introduce yourself and admit that you have a drinking problem. Mustering the courage to share something takes a while, and that is understandable.
- You must remember never to offer advice to someone else in an first AA meeting or pass judgment about them. Some stories will be hard to hear and you may have opinions. But you need to keep these to yourself. When you pass judgment, you end up making the other person feel guilty and ashamed.
These are some things to keep in mind during your first AA meeting. There is not really much to prepare before a meeting except building enough strength to show up for it.