What Do I Need To Bring to AA Meetings?

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Alcohol abuse can quickly become a vicious cycle. You may keep trying to escape your life’s problems through drinking. Yet drinking causes more life problems.

For example, alcohol abuse puts your health at risk. Short-term risks include falls, burns, violence, drownings, and motor vehicle accidents. Long-term risks include cognitive disorders, heart and liver diseases, and various types of cancer.

An addiction to alcohol can also cause you to lose work opportunities and relationships. Going to Alcoholics Anonymous or AA meetings can prevent these situations or halt their perpetuation. Read on to learn more about how to prepare for this type of alcoholism support group.

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

The primary purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is alcohol addiction recovery. The members of an AA group work together to help themselves and others achieve and/or maintain alcohol sobriety. It is an informal society and not associated with any religion, organization, political party, etc.

What Are AA Meetings?

AA meetings are gatherings of AA members. The times and locations that these take place depend upon what the group members decide.

In-person meetings can take place in locations such as churches, office buildings, and community centers. Other meetings can be conducted online or on the telephone. These can take once, twice, or even more times a week.

Beyond that, meetings may only welcome certain individuals depending on the type.

Types of AA Meetings

Most AA groups host two types of meetings. These are either open or closed meetings.

Open meetings are for everyone interested in the AA program. Attending members are often individuals who will officially join the program later. However, non-alcoholics can also attend if they wish.

Closed meetings are for individuals who want to stop drinking only. These include newcomers and those who have been attending regularly.

What Can You Expect at Your First AA Meeting?

Most AA meetings follow a similar schedule of events.

You’ll arrive and find several AA members already present. Some will be outside doing activities such as making coffee. Others will be inside and talking with others or standing or sitting alone.

You can talk to these members if you wish, but you can also stay by yourself. Keep in mind, though, that other members will likely greet you, introduce themselves, and try to engage in conversation. Remember that social connections are a crucial part of Alcoholics Anonymous.

When the meeting is about to begin, the members will have seated themselves. The chairs usually form a circle. One person, the leader or chairperson, will sit in the middle of the circle.

Meeting Opening

Meetings usually begin with the chairperson reading the AA Preamble. He or she may then lead the group in the Serenity Prayer.

After these ceremonies, the leader will then ask if any newcomers would like to introduce themselves. Some people will raise their hands, get called upon, and then say a short introduction about themselves. You do not have to participate in these if you don’t want to.

Once this is taken care of, the chairperson will lead the group into the meeting’s main purpose.

Types of AA Formats

Meetings will also have a variety of purposes. Some involve discussing AA topics. A common focus of these discussions is AA literature, such as books like Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and Alcoholics Anonymous (often called the Big Book).

You may also encounter a 12-step meeting. The members present in these meetings discuss one or more of the Twelve Steps.

Others will have selected speakers talk to the members present at the meetings. These are usually members that have achieved alcohol addiction recovery. Requirements for the amount of time the speaker has been sober vary depending on what the particular AA group prefers.

There are also meeting formats that focus on helping AA beginners and newcomers.

After the Meeting

Once the meeting concludes, many members stick around to socialize. You do not have to stay. However, many of the people present at this post-meeting gathering can offer you many helpful tips.

Do I Have to Prepare Anything for AA Meetings?

You don’t usually have to prepare any physical materials for AA meetings.

The main exception to this would be if you have a court order to attend AA meetings. In these situations, you usually have to prove that you went to the meeting. Sometimes your referral source will give you a slip that you need to get signed.

Beyond physical materials, there are some possible mental preparations that you may want to make.

For example, you should prepare yourself to keep an open mind. If you’re not Christian, you’ll probably notice that there are some Christian aspects involved with the Twelve Steps and some meeting activities. Try to look past these and know that no one should try to indoctrinate you.

You may also want to read some of the relevant AA materials beforehand. This can make it much easier for you to join in discussions with other AA members about the topics.

Other Important Support Group Resources

If you’re not an alcoholic but have an alcoholic friend or family member, the Al-Anon Family Group can be a good resource. Helpers at Al-Anon support individuals affected by the alcoholism of someone close to them. You can attend Al-Anon meetings or utilize other resources.

Also, if you’re struggling with drug abuse, consider trying Narcotics Anonymous or NA. NA meetings are similar to AA meetings, but they focus on drugs rather than alcohol.

Find the Best Addiction Support Group With Us

Remember to be patient with yourself. Alcoholics Anonymous can be a big help, but alcohol addiction recovery can be a long and frustrating struggle. A lot of people have recovered from it, though, and there is a chance you can be one of them.

If you need to find the right AA meetings for you, consider using our resources. We use information collected directly from SAMSA, Alcoholics Anonymous, and Narcotics Anonymous. Use the resources on this webpage or call us to find the right Alcoholics Anonymous group and meetings for you.

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