What Can You Expect From Your First AA Meeting?

What Can You Expect From Your First AA Meeting?

What Can You Expect From Your First AA Meeting?

Are you thinking about attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting? Follow this guide for everything you can expect from your first AA meeting.

Keyword(s): aa meeting

AA is known for helping members make their way through the 12 steps to alcohol recovery and marking milestones with recovery coins

However, the idea most people have of actual AA meetings comes from movies and TV shows. If you've never been to an AA meeting, you're probably wondering, "What is it actually like?"

Over 100,000 AA groups worldwide have already helped millions of members on their path to recovery. Could they help you, next?

Read on to learn more about what to expect from your first AA meeting.

AA Meetings Have Structure

One misconception about AA meetings is that they operate as a free-for-all discussion group. In other words, it may seem that during an AA meeting, everyone has to speak. This can seem pretty intimidating if you've never attended an AA meeting before.

The reality is that AA meetings are structured. Each meeting has a "chair" or facilitator that keeps things on track. While you may speak to your experiences if you wish, it isn't required or even the central focus of each meeting. 

AA Meeting Topics

AA meetings fall into three categories based on different topics. These topics become the focus of individual meetings. Topics include:

  • Speaker meetings: one speaker is given the floor, usually for 30-40 minutes, to share their recovery story before opening the floor
  • Step meetings: the chair guides a discussion on one of the 12 steps of AA
  • Big Book meetings: the chair guides a study group on the Big Book

Most AA groups will also offer gender-specific meetings. Some people feel more comfortable when they attend gender-specific meetings.

What Kind of Atmosphere Should You Expect From Your First AA Meeting?

What should you expect from the overall vibe of your first AA meeting?

Chances are, you will receive an outpouring of warmth if you announce that it is your first meeting. Most members are huggers, so they may want to hug you. You will also receive the phone numbers of several members to increase your day-to-day support.

AA meetings are also intimate in nature. The objective of AA is to create a safe space for recovering alcoholics to meet and open up. You should expect to witness vulnerability and hear honest accounts of alcoholism and recovery. 

That being said, AA meetings aren't sad or morose. While it's not abnormal to cry during an AA meeting, you may be surprised at how much laughter there is in these meetings. Ultimately, it may feel like an emotional experience, but not a negative one.

Get the Help You Need With AA

Do you think that you're ready to attend your first AA meeting? If so, the first step is finding a meeting near you. Most cities and towns offer an AA group but there are also online meetings you can attend.

Not sure where to find an online AA meeting? Take a look at our directory of online AA meetings to get started. If you are preparing to begin an AA chapter, take a look around our store for AA coins, literature, and more.