You can expect to be nervous. That’s ok. You just need to know that you are a huge value to the people who have been attending the meetings for years, because eventually you yourself will stay sober by helping others to stay sober. So most likely you will have more help than you can digest.
In my first meeting I was freaked out by the endless hugs and shit. I mean endless..If the meeting has a lot of people you can become really overwhelmed by that. The hardest part for me was dealing with shame and presenting myself the right way, but I learned pretty quickly how accepting all the members are. Do not be scared to be yourself. If ever there were a place where it’s safe to be yourself, this is it, but if you’re anything like me, who isolated himself for 12 years, it’s okay to take things cautiously and stay in your comfort zone at first.
There are certain guidelines that will be read before the meeting starts. After that it’s mostly just stating your name, saying “I am an alcoholic” (if you are in a closed meeting) and then introducing yourself or if you don’t want to, just say “pass”. Always use “pass” if you don’t want to talk.
People tend to cry, laugh and make stupid jokes that totally are not funny at all. Personally at my first meeting I found all the laughing to be fake, but I guess once you keep coming back and your life gets better it’s hard to be serious all the time.
Watch out for creepers and 13th steppers. It’s very rare of course but I assume it happens. There might be someone who will try to take advantage of your vulnerability, but as I said it’s very rare so there is nothing to worry about, just keep that in mind.
Ok now this god thing. You have to keep in mind that there will be a lot of talk about god, just because when the Alcoholics Anonymous book was written, most people were Christians, so don’t get thrown off by that. You will eventually be able to find people in the group who don’t believe in god, if you’re having this problem, like me because I don’t believe and I am not religious. My advice would be not to try to understand everything, and to keep your judgment in the back of your mind, not the front. Try to enjoy just being around people who don’t drink. I guess that’s what keeps me coming back, it’s very therapeutic just knowing that I have other choices besides going to the liquor store and getting wasted. It’s amazing how you feel differently and lifted up after these meetings. So far I usually use meetings to defuse my urges and cravings. The only requirement to attend them is to have the desire to stop drinking, that’s all, you don’t have to agree with anything.
Is AA a cult? I think so, but I don’t let the things I don’t like stop me from learning all the stuff that will keep me sober. I mean, nothing in life is perfect. So I take what I like and throw out the shit that is useless. That said, I am still going to different meetings so I can finally pick my home group. It’s important to have a home group because people eventually get to know you and they’ll keep you accountable for your bullshit.
I am new to this sobriety thing, and I do hate that god thing because I am not religious… Yes I need to talk shit about it a little bit more…It sounds really fucked up, just like all the higher power stuff, but I do talk sometimes with people between meetings about it, and I get logical explanations about what it means. I came to the conclusion that the Alcoholics Anonymous book, or so called “Big book” is almost like a fucking bible that needs to be explained by a priest. That’s something that you have to deal with, but being surrounded by good people who are willing to help you is what makes it all worthwhile to me.
Alcoholics Anonymous makes you grow spiritually, as I think it is based on spirituality. I feel like my addiction destroyed me to the point where I lost all touch with this part of me, and it is just fucking crazy how much spirituality can help you to get back in touch with the old you before you started using. I found that being all empty inside was one of the reasons why I had a hard time quitting drinking. Addiction took everything from me and the scariest part is that it almost took me from me. You need to get back you first before you start rebuilding your life. I think AA can be very helpful if you are willing to look through all the bad stuff that might not work for you and accept a bit of a cult environment. After all, the benefits are big; you are saving your life.