Are you drinking too much?
If you would like to speak with someone right now
Please call the AA helpline
(10am - 10pm every day) T: 1300 22 22 22
All helpline volunteers are sober alcoholics
They understand what you're going through!
What to expect at a meeting....
For most of us, going to our first meeting was pretty scary, and we weren't sure what to expect. We were mostly delighted to find that people were friendly, helpful and non-judgmental, and most importantly, spoke "our" language.
There are different types of meetings - some study the Big Book, or the twelve steps or twelve traditions, some are topic meetings (a different topic each week), still others are "ID" meetings where people just tell their story - how it was, what happened, and how it is now, and in doing so, share their experience, strength and hope. It's worth trying a few different ones to find one that the right "fit" for you.
The format of most meetings is fairly standard. There will be one or two people hosting the meeting - the chairperson and the secretary. There's no hierarchy here ... anyone with enough sobriety can do a period of time leading meetings. The chair person will introduce themselves, and give a brief introduction to the meeting. Then there may be a reading, and then the chairperson will choose people to share on whatever the topic is. The chosen person then speaks for about 5-10 minutes. There is an important rule in AA that we allow each person to speak uninterrupted. Meetings usually finish with "passing the basket" (each person contributes whatever they like, to cover the costs of the venue, tea and coffee, and the general running of AA - and then everyone stands, and cites the Serenity Prayer.
All meetings are different - if you don't like your first meeting, try a few more before deciding it's not for you. Some are more serious than others, some are very Higher-Power focused and others have a lot of agnostics or atheists. It's not a religious program, but it is a spiritual one - you'll learn what that difference is.
Our Rainbow Group LGBTIQ+ meeting on SUNDAY nights prides itself on being a relaxed & pretty informal meeting. No pressure. No expectations. Just a safe environment where you get to listen, share if you want to.
Early on, we were advised in meetings to listen for the similarities, not the differences, because underneath, our stories are all pretty much the same - we drank, we got to the point we couldn't stop, and life got ugly. Listen for how the other people in the meeting found a way out of this desperate situation, into happy and meaningful lives today.