When you decide to start attending NA or AA meetings (or similar meetings) for the first time, it is normal to be apprehensive. Sharing with strangers can be challenging, especially when you are discussing something as personal and complicated as recovery. Rest assured, you will not have to share if you do not feel comfortable. It is fine to sit and listen to the stories of others. For some people, it takes several meetings to feel comfortable enough to share with the group.
At your Cocaine, Alcoholics, or Narcotics Anonymous meeting, a leader will start the meeting by reading the group’s preamble, followed by the serenity prayer. Many people will join in with the serenity prayer, but it is fine if you choose not to do so. The chairperson (person leading the meeting) may ask if it is anyone’s first time at a meeting or that specific meeting. The goal is not to make a person uncomfortable; it is done so people know that you’re new and can offer help and support. If you feel comfortable, you can indicate that you are new to the group, but it is fine to remain silent.
Throughout the hour-long meeting, people will share their stories. Cross-talk (commenting on other’s stories, offering advice) is discouraged. After someone ends their story, the group thanks them, and someone else begins to speak. At the end of the meeting, the group recites the Lord’s prayer (again, you may choose whether you would like to participate), and the meeting is adjourned. After the meeting, many people stay to socialize around snacks and coffee. You are welcome to stay, as well. Anonymous programs do not seek to force anyone into recovery; the belief is to live as an example of recovery.
Attending AA meetings for the first time can be scary, but you are not alone. Remember, everyone in the room had to decide to walk through the meeting doors for the first time. By doing so yourself, you are creating a supported path to continued sobriety.
Do you have questions about AA, NA or CA? We would love to listen. Call (844) 978-1524