5 Survival Tips for Your First Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting
Your first Alcoholics Anonymous meeting can be scary and nerve-wracking, and might even be accompanied by feelings of shame, embarrassment, dread, and despair. These types of emotions and feelings are normal, and are positive signs that indicate you’ve finally accepted that you have a problem with alcohol addiction.
If you’re not overly excited about your first AA meeting, understand that getting through your first meeting is a major milestone and important first step toward recovery. Plus, you’ll eventually come to learn that these meetings can inspire and motivate you to become sober, and can provide you with much needed strength and guidance throughout recovery.
If you’re feeling nervous or apprehensive about attending your first AA meeting, call our helpline at 800-839-1686 to speak to a counselor who can make you feel more comfortable about going to AA. Also, check out the following 5 tips that will help you survive your first-ever AA meeting.
1. Remember There’s a First Time for Everyone
When you first walk into an AA meeting, you may feel like an outsider — especially if everyone else in the group is being friendly and chatting with one another. But keep in mind that every single one of these individuals felt exactly the way you do right now when they attended their first AA meeting.
In most cases, other AA members will notice a new face and make every effort to make you feel comfortable and welcome. Just remember there’s a first time for everyone, and that next time, you’ll no longer be the newcomer.
2. Introduce Yourself
Make an effort to introduce yourself when you first arrive at the AA meeting. If you’re not usually outgoing, or don’t feel comfortable introducing yourself right away, wait until the group leader or chairperson asks if there is anyone new to the group. Take advantage of this moment to break the ice, and introduce yourself to the group.
Remember that Alcoholics Anonymous is indeed anonymous, and you are not required to give your full name. You can simply say hello and share your first name, or say “Hello, my name is ___ and I am an alcoholic,” depending on what makes you feel more comfortable.
3. Be an Active Listener
Being an active listener is part of the recovery process when attending an AA meeting. Listening to other group members share their stories, experiences, struggles, and successes with overcoming alcohol addiction can help inspire you to become healthier through sobriety.
During your first AA meeting, focus on listening to each individual’s story to see if you can gain new perspective about your own problems with addiction. Also, try to maintain a positive outlook by focusing on the similarities between you and these individuals, rather than your differences.
4. Share When You’re Ready
Nobody will pressure you or force you to share your story and experiences at your first AA meeting. At the beginning, some people feel more comfortable listening quietly and familiarizing themselves with the structure, ebbs, and flows of an AA meeting before speaking up.
If you do feel like sharing, use the word “I” instead of “we,” since AA is about your personal journey toward achieving sobriety, and you alone are responsible for your actions. Over time, you’ll begin feeling more comfortable and empowered to share your experiences as a way of overcoming alcohol addiction.
5. Find the Best AA Group for You
Don’t be discouraged if you feel as if you don’t connect with other AA members, or if you feel the group is not the right fit for you. There are several types of AA meetings, depending on your unique preferences as an individual. For example, there are meetings for specific genders, and meetings for specific age groups.
Find an AA group that works best for you based on your personality and recovery needs. There’s nothing wrong with trying different AA groups until you find the one that makes you feel most comfortable and motivated to overcome addiction.
Do you need help finding a new Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in your area? Call our helpline at 800-839-1686 to speak with a counselor and receive advice and guidance on finding the best AA group. Your sobriety and anonymity is our top priority, and we’re available 24/7 to discuss your treatment and recovery options.