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What to Expect When You Go to Your First AA Meeting

Alcoholics Anonymous is a community of people who have one thing in common: they’ve all had a drinking problem. In recovery from alcohol addiction, each person goes to an AA meeting for different reasons.

Some people go because it’s what they know and trust. Others go because it gives them a safe space to process their feelings. Some go because they need the fellowship of others who understand what they’re going through. However you choose to attend your first AA meeting, it’s important that you keep an open mind free of judgment. Here is a brief overview of what you can expect when you first enter your local AA meeting:

Don’t Feel Pressured to Talk if You Don’t Feel Comfortable Yet

It can be incredibly intimidating to be at a meeting where everyone else seems so comfortable, open, and unflinching about their experiences with using and abusing alcohol and drugs. If you find yourself feeling more like a spectator, you are absolutely allowed to attend without actively participating in the meeting. During your first few meetings, you may find yourself still processing the information and the emotions that arise while listening to others share. It’s important to remember that you don’t have to talk at every meeting, especially if you feel like you don’t have anything to contribute or you’re uncomfortable sharing your own story. Be gentle with yourself and give yourself time to become more comfortable with the meeting format and with the people in the room.

Everyone Will Probably Stand When the Meeting Starts

This is just an old AA tradition that goes back to the early days of the fellowship. In fact, a lot of people who come to AA are not religious at all—they just want to stop drinking and are looking for a solution. When the meeting starts, people will often say a short prayer or affirmation. This is typically followed by a moment of silence during which people may be thinking about their intention for the meeting or reflecting on their gratitude for the fellowship of AA. After that, you’ll see people sit down, and the meeting will start. You may want to sit down, too, but don’t feel obligated to do so. You can stand or sit as feels most comfortable to you.

People Might Share Intimate Details on How They Ended Up at AA

When people share at an AA meeting, they will typically talk about their struggle with alcohol or drugs, their reasons for ending up at AA, and the tools they use to stay sober. People will often end their stories with something like, “and that’s what brought me here today.” Most people who speak at AA meetings will say, “Hi, I’m _______, and I’m an alcoholic.” This is the standard way for people to introduce themselves in AA.

Because AA is such a safe place to talk about your problems, people will often share things about their stories that they may not have shared with their friends and family members. If you’re a newcomer to AA, you will probably learn a lot from listening to other people’s stories. Some people may share things that resonate with you, and others may share things that are very different from your situation. No matter who shares, you’ll almost certainly walk away from the meeting with insights that will help you on your journey to recovery.

You May Be Asked to Join in a Simple Prayer or Affirmation Before the Meeting Ends

Some AA meetings will end with a prayer or affirmation, and others won’t. This is just something that happens at certain meetings, and it’s not intended to offend anyone. If you’re at a meeting that ends with a prayer or affirmation, don’t feel obligated to participate if you don’t want to. You can just sit and listen, or you can leave the room if you feel like you’d feel too uncomfortable staying. There may also be some variation on the “silent prayer” in which people close their eyes, bow their heads, and silently pray to themselves. You can be as involved or uninvolved as you want to be.

Detox With Briarwood

Briarwood Detox Center offers detox treatment for alcohol, opioid, methamphetamine, prescription drugs, and much more. Our experienced clinical staff provides round-the-clock monitoring throughout the detox process and our therapy team provides support to help manage the emotional response to treatment. Additionally, we have detox facilities located in Austin, Houston, and Colorado Springs with state-of-the-art amenities.

Briarwood is dedicated to facilitating a healthy and safe environment that empowers people to make significant and lasting changes in their lives. We look forward to supporting you or your loved one on the journey to recovery. Call (512) 277 – 3103 today for more information on our programs and admission process.

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