Every meeting of AA is unique. A meeting in Iowa will be different from a meeting in Florida. The core stays the same, but the way each meeting is conducted varies. Also, the kind of energy you feel in a meeting can be different, but the frequency level is the same – sobriety.
Your first meeting
Most meetings were held in a community center or at a spacious place outdoors or indoors before the pandemic. Thereafter, meetings became online. Now, slowly, things are coming back to normal. Yet, you can find online and offline meetings both nowadays. Search for “AA meeting near me”. You can find one easily in your area.
As you enter the place
You will find people sitting and chatting. A few will be making coffee. Others may be scribbling something in their journal. As you enter the place, take a seat wherever you are comfortable.
It’s normal to get butterflies in the stomach in your first meeting. However, coming here with an open mind and humility is more beneficial.
The meeting begins
The meeting usually begins with a leader (or chairperson) reading out the AA preamble. This follows with a short prayer. After that, members read some AA literature. This includes reading from the Big Book and the 12 traditions of AA.
After the initial session
After prayer and readings, the leader of the group asks whether there are any newcomers. As a first-timer, you can raise your hand and introduce yourselves.
A meeting with a lot of newcomers features a round of introduction so that members know each other and start feeling at ease.
This is followed by each member sharing their experience or achievement. Say, if somebody has achieved 100 days of sobriety, there would be a cheer and a celebration. This may vary with meetings.
Somebody may want to announce something. Or share a story. Or give some inspirational short speech.
Nothing is compulsory in a AA meeting. Prayer is not compulsory, nor is sharing your experience. You can even hold back from giving your introduction if you feel uncomfortable speaking in front of people for the first time.
So, relax and keep an open mind here.
People share their alcoholic stories, experiences, and other information only when they want to.
Also, you must respect other members’ privacy. Anonymity is an understood thing here. Please do not announce back to the world that Mr. X or Miss ABC is a ‘drunkard’ or something like that. Avoid spreading the stories, which people share in a meeting, outside.
AA is all about helping each other quit alcohol in an anonymous manner and keeping in mind the welfare of all members.
So, if you are thinking of joining an AA meeting in Iowa, please remember the basic concept of this group. It has nothing to do with anybody’s personal life. It is all about alcoholism and how to fight it successfully. That’s why people only talk about alcohol-related matters here, no religion or politics.