That tumbler of amber liquid sloshing around seemed so attractive at a point in your life, till you discovered just how deadly it could be. Now, there couldn’t be a sight more abhorrent to your senses! What a long way you have come, indeed - from a wreck to someone wanting to turn their life around, going back to normalcy after ages of inebriety.
Meeting fellow sufferers
If you have heard about AA meetings and want to give that avenue a shot, there are a few things you should know before you go to one of them. Here they are:
1. No fee
Do know that there are no charges involved in attending an AA meeting. Since most meetings are conducted in a hall and refreshments are provided, there is a collection to meet the cost of eats and hall rental at the end of the session. There is no obligation to contribute, but most attendees do put in a bob or two.
Some people feel that all attendees are forced to stand up and share their stories or experiences with alcoholism with the others. That is not so. You are most welcome to share, of course, but there is no pressure at all. You may be invited, but you can surely decline if you are not in the mood to do so.
3. Local AA meetings
Obviously it would be better for you to attend a meeting close to home. Going to a meeting far away will sap your time and energy. Also, the prospect of driving so far will discourage you from actively attending a meeting. You should use an AA meeting locator or AA meeting directory if you are looking for one closer to home. You can even type ‘AA meeting near me’ in your smartphone’s browser and see which one is located closest to you.
4. Type of meetings
There are all sorts of these meetings. Some start with the chairperson reading out the AA Preamble and then leading a group prayer. In some others, which are called ID meetings, members share their stories – what they were like, what transpired in their life, and how life has changed for them and is like in the present times. This encourages the others to share openly too, and the circle becomes supportive for everyone present.
Another type of meeting is the Steps meeting where details related to the AA 12-step program are shared with all present.
5. The religious aspect
Some people think that these meetings are religious in nature. That is not so at all. While it is true that some meetings are held in church halls, but that is only because they are large and convenient. Also, they are quite affordable to rent. The theme of AA might be spiritual, as in to uplift one’s spirit while abstaining from liquor and using one’s life to the betterment of self, but there is no religious angle involved in the meetings.