Going to a meeting with a bunch of strangers for the first time can be scary enough. Let alone possibly be expected to speak, or god forbid, stand and say your name. Sometimes it’s best to dive in headfirst, however, you are probably here because you’re curious or still have lingering questions.
We’re here to help with that. We are not here to glorify the program, drugs, or members of the fellowship. We only wish to provide accurate and realistic insight into the once mysterious brotherhood.
What Kind Of Meetings Are There?
12 Step based meeting, are everywhere today. Especially with the internet. In todays times, joining a meeting is as simple as a google search and punching in a zoom link. Today, We are going to teach you the In's & Out's of joining the fellowship as a "Newcomer".
Meetings come in all forms, sizes, and formats. There are meetings for everything from Alcohol Abuse to NArcotics Abuse as a whole. There are also Substance Specific Meetings, like Crystal Meth, Heroin, Prescription Pills, Marijuana, and Cocaine anonymous. There are even meetings for Eating Disorders. A simple search for Your Substance or disorder of choice, and the word “anonymous” after, will generate meeting guides to help you find your meeting of choice. Meetings for family members of Addicts & Alcoholics also are regularly held. This is simply to educate the family's of the individual. They are called ALANON.
Finding Meetings In Your Area
In today’s digital, pandemic ridden age, finding help with mental health and substance abuse is easier and more readily accessible than ever. In the wake of the COVID-19 disaster, Most medical and work-related facilities that were able to go contactless did.
The same goes for things like Therapy Sessions & Alcoholics / Narcotics Anonymous Meetings. Normally, you can just pull up the “Meeting Guide” App in your phone’s app store. (Google Play for Android, App Store for Apple Devices.) There are other apps and websites that achieve the same thing, (Meetingdirectory.com for example) Finding a meeting in your local area, You put in your location info and desired distance/time parameters and it spits out the resulting meetings and times within that day/distance you’ve selected. They are usually held in dingy church basements, community centers, school gymnasiums, outdoors, on beaches, or in parks, or even their own dedicated locations called “meeting Halls, Alano Clubs, etc… “.
But buyer beware, During regular operating procedures, There may be a greeter or greeters there to shake your hand, introduce themselves, welcome you, and maybe even give you the dreaded hug that we sometimes so badly need. This is not meant to scare you away, But get you out of your comfort zone so to speak and interact with another human being.
In the days of the COVID pandemic, you can simply google AA/NA/CA/CMA/OEA Meetings in any part of the world, and follow the zoom links that your browser feeds back to you, and there you have it! You can attend local meetings from your living room or on the go, Which is really handy if you have a busy schedule. Or you can attend a meeting ANYWHERE in the world with just a couple of clicks!
It’s no secret that online meetings have their shortcomings. There are differences, like the coffee and donuts, seeing your local regulars, the handshakes. Introducing yourself feels a little less or a little more awkward depending on your comfortability level. But they still do the trick when you need a meeting.
What Types Of Traditions / Rituals Do They Follow?
There are 12 steps to the program, filled with tasks that one must complete. There are also 12 Traditions that we are expected to follow in everyday life as members. These steps and traditions are as follows.
Step 1: We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
The first step outlined in the Big Book is essential to jumpstart the alcoholic’s recovery process. AA firmly believes that individuals cannot overcome alcoholism on their own. They are unable to exercise willpower or personal strength that could prevent them from drinking.
Step 2: Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
Alcoholics Anonymous is based on the belief in a higher power. For some, this higher power may be God; for others, it may be a belief in the universe itself. The point is that recovery begins, in part, by looking to an entity greater than yourself.
Step 3: Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
While some entering AA bristle at the mention of God, the end of Step 3 makes it clear that God can come in many forms. It can be anything that is Greater than Yourself, that provides you with courage or strength. Things like the Ocean, The Fellowship, and the Universe are acceptable.Really, it can be anything that you wish, other than yourself. Again, the purpose of this step is the further acknowledgement that alcoholics cannot recover on their own.
Step 4: Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
During this step, many participants make a list of poor decisions or character flaws. They outline hurt they caused to others, as well as feelings, like fear and guilt, that motivated some of their past actions. Once the individual has acknowledged these issues, the issues are less likely to serve as triggers to future alcohol abuse.
Step 5: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
As AA members work this step, they sit down with someone – often their sponsor – and confess everything they identified in Step 4. This step requires the recovering individual to put aside their ego and pride to acknowledge shameful past behavior. The step is also empowering, as the alcoholic no longer has to hide behind guilt and lies.
Step 6: Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
In this step, the recovering alcoholic acknowledges that he or she is ready to have a higher power – again, whatever that may be – take away the moral shortcomings identified in Step 4. This step simply involves a willingness to change.
Step 7: Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
This step requires the person to focus on the positive aspects of his or her character – humility, kindness, compassion and a desire for change – as well as step away from the negative defects that have been identified.
Step 8: Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
During this step, recovering alcoholics write down a list of all the people they have hurt. Often, this list includes people they hurt during their active alcoholism; however, it may go back further to include anyone they have hurt throughout their entire lives.
Step 9: Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
Paired with Step 8, Step 9 gives recovering alcoholics the opportunity to make things right with those they have hurt. One’s sponsor can be a big source of help during this process, helping the recovering alcoholic to determine the best way to go about making amends.
Step 10: Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
Linked to Step 4, this step involves a commitment to continue to keep an eye out for any defects of character. It also involves a commitment to readily admit when one is wrong, reinforcing humility and honesty.
Step 11: Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
Step 11 commits the recovering alcoholic to continued spiritual progress. For some, this may mean reading scripture every morning. For others, it may mean a daily meditation practice. Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t have stringent rules on what form spiritual growth takes. It simply involves a commitment to take time to reassess one’s spiritual and mental state.
Step 12: Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The final step involves helping others and serves as motivation for many to become sponsors themselves. By going through the 12 steps, individuals have a major internal shift and part of that shift is a desire to help others.
The 12 Traditions
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers
6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.