When a person decides to attend a 12-step meeting, there might be some hesitation or uncertainty about what to expect. There might be questions such as will there be anyone I know in this meeting or what do I talk about? These concerns are normal and most individuals experience doubt when attending their first meeting.
12-step meetings were designed to be a safe place in which to share stories of recovery, hope, and strength. There is a great deal of support in 12-step meetings and at some point each person in the meeting has also experienced their first meeting and might have felt the same way you do.
If you are new to a meeting, the group leader may ask your first name and whether or not this is your first meeting. You can sit wherever you want and wherever is most comfortable for you. You will listen to the beginning of the meeting, which usually involves an introduction from the group leader and a welcome to that particular meeting. The group leader will ask if there are any new members present and you should raise your hand and introduce yourself. The group leader will read from a little book that you were handed when you entered the meeting room. Someone from the group will read the preamble and the 20 questions. Some 12-step meetings may be organized differently but most begin this way, followed by members who wish to share.
Many first-time meeting attendees prefer to listen to the other members to see what is expected in a meeting. You do not have to speak during your first meeting unless you want to. No one in the group will pressure you to speak if you are feeling uncomfortable. Many first-time attendees may start with giving their first name and stating that they wish to listen only. That is totally acceptable.
As you listen to the stories shared, you may find yourself identifying with other members and what experiences they had during their addiction. Many seasoned meeting attendees will also share stories of strength and hope. They may talk about their first meeting and where they are in recovery today. After all members have shared, and no one else wants to share, the group leader will close the meeting.
Everyone who has attended a 12-step meeting has been the new person once. It can be scary to reveal to others your experiences as an addict, but over time and with continued meeting attendance, you too will share your stories and hopefully help the next new person who is feeling uncertain about what to expect.
An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (800) 877-4520.