5 Ways to Survive Your First Time Speaking at an Alcoholic Anonymous Meeting

During your first few weeks or months of AA, you may feel most comfortable listening to stories being shared by other Alcoholic Anonymous members. But as time goes by, you may be asked to speak and share your own story. Your first time speaking at an AA meeting can seem nerve-wracking and scary, but your experience can actually enhance your journey on the road to sobriety.

Nobody should ever have to overcome addiction on their own, including you. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-839-1686Who Answers? to learn more about local alcohol rehab centers and AA meetings that can help you achieve lifelong sobriety.

Here are five tips to help you survive your first time speaking at an AA meeting.

1. Relax

It’s normal and natural to experience some anxiety before speaking for the first time at AA. You may be shy in nature, or feel uncomfortable and scared about sharing your addiction story with others.

Practice deep breathing before speaking, which naturally helps you relax. Also, keep in mind that nobody is judging you, and that your story could help other AA members overcome their own problems with addiction. The more relaxed you feel, the more easily and naturally your story will flow.

2. Be Yourself

Speaking at an Alcoholic Anonymous Meeting

Try to relax and be yourself when sharing at an AA meeting.

You don’t necessarily need a degree in public speaking to effectively share your story and have it resonate with other AA members. When it’s your time to speak, just relax, and pretend you’re sharing your story with your favorite friend or family member. Be comfortable, and keep in mind that part of overcoming addiction with AA is learning how to forgive yourself, and accept yourself for who you are.

3. Don’t Feel Pressured to Have a Plan

Some people do their best speaking using index cards and notes as guides, while others prefer speaking from the heart without having a plan. If you’re not the type of person who normally uses outlines or notes, don’t feel stressed or pressured about spending time on preparation. You might even become inspired after standing up and seeing the faces of other supportive AA members.

4. Speak in First Person

Your fellow AA members want to hear about your own personal struggles and stories associated with addiction, and about how AA has worked for you. Always speak in first person using “I” statements, and avoid saying “you,” “us,” and other pronouns when addressing AA members. This also helps you stay accountable for your own actions when sharing your story about addiction.

How Can I Become Comfortable Speaking During My AA Meetings?

5. Stay On Topic

Some AA meetings designate weekly topics, or choose specific topics for speakers. When delivering your message and sharing your story, try to stay on topic. This allows AA members to benefit more from your story — especially those who attended the meeting specifically to hear more about that particular topic.

Going to AA meetings should make you feel good about yourself, and about your decision to maintain lifelong sobriety. Turn your speaking event into a positive experience by remembering to relax, and being open to sharing your story with like-minded individuals with similar struggles.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, understand you’re not alone in your fight. Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-839-1686Who Answers? to speak with an addiction counselor about nearby Alcoholic Anonymous meetings and alcohol rehab centers.

How the helpline works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the AlcoholicsAnonymous.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC), a paid advertiser on AlcoholicsAnonymous.com.

AAC representatives are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. These representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. This helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither AlcoholicsAnonymous.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit AmericanAddictionCenters.org. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.