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to be terrified of going to an AA meeting for the first time?

(32 Posts)
AreBags Fri 25-Mar-16 11:06:40

I'm a big drinker. I always have been - I used to spend my pocket money on vodka to drink alone at the age of 15. I need to change.
My last relationship broke down almost solely because of my drinking and it affects my life in all manner of other ways. I'm constantly anxious and I know that I'm ruining my life.
So today I've decided to stop, but there's no way I can do it alone. I've been looking at AA meetings in my area and there's one at 1pm but I'm TERRIFIED - what should I expect?

BoyFromTheBigBadCity Fri 25-Mar-16 11:11:14

I don't know what to expect but loads of us are here to hold your hand.

You are taking control. Amazing woman.

marryoneorbecomeone Fri 25-Mar-16 11:13:37

Well done for recognising a problem and dealing with it! flowers

I'm in AA, been going since early Dec last year, not had a drink since, and I am IMMEASURABLY happier.

Ok, so firstly you won't be expected to do or say anything. Part of AA culture is welcoming new faces. Try and spot someone who looks like they know what's going on. I always head for the tea and coffee! Then sit and watch. You don't have to say anything. Look for the similarities in the stories and people. Everyone is very very non judgemental, it's a safe and confidential place to be.

Each meeting has a slightly different feel, so try a few defo.

PM me any time. Very very best of luck!

BlueCheeseandcrackers Fri 25-Mar-16 11:15:12

I have no idea what to expect but I'm guessing the other people feel the same too!! Amazing that you have admitted you need to make changes! If you find it too hard maybe find out where your local CRI is and meet 1:1 with a worker before starting group work.

CMOTDibbler Fri 25-Mar-16 11:15:23

I don't know what you should expect either, but wanted to say well done for deciding to go, and wishing you strength

marryoneorbecomeone Fri 25-Mar-16 11:16:09

By the way, AA detractors moan it's too religious. I assure you it depends on the group and in my experience the vast majority of AAers aren't in the slightest bit religious but recognise there's something special about being in a group with the same goal - to stop drinking.

FWIW I drank TONS and then steadied myself daily with heavy duty drugs. Am off all that now bar ADs.

DolorestheNewt Fri 25-Mar-16 11:17:25

Of course you're apprehensive, but as far as you can manage it, try not to be.

All my recovery has been in London, and I'm aware that meetings in other areas - rural meetings, for example - can be very different, but FWIW here's my two pennorth.

I'll describe what I found at my first meeting - actually, what I didn't find! I DIDN'T find a single dirty mac or whisky bottle. I found a room of 30 people, varying ages from early 20s upwards (now, some years later, you may even find some teenagers). Everyone was clean (in both the hygiene and drug sense). And everyone was sober.

I was very lucky that it was a very proactive meeting in terms of welcoming newcomers, and I am aware that meetings vary in this respect. Healthy meetings recognise that the newcomer, and the opportunity to help a newcomer, is the lifeblood of everyone's sobriety.

I listened to people describing the agains in their drinking: "I had a blackout again, I was sick again, I slept with someone I didn't know again, I drank again when I said I wouldn't, I humiliated myself by not being able to keep myself from getting drunk at supper with friends again." I listened to those stories, and I was amazed that I was in a room of people who were exactly like me, though I hadn't realised they existed. crucially, I realised they were no longer doing these things.

I listened to people describing things that had happened to them in their drinking that had not yet happened to me: hospitalisation, arrest, children taken away.

I would hope that they'd have a literature stand. My most vivid recollection from my first meeting was taking away the Newcomers Pack. In it, was a leaflet that had one page: IF YOU CAN STAY ON THIS PROGRAMME FOR 24 HOURS, YOU CAN STAY ON THIS PROGRAMME FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. I read that and knew I could do it, and that I was finally liberated. For me I'd come home.

You'll get lots of other posts with messages about AA that are both positive and negative, and I know that there are other routes to sobriety. I haven't tried those: all I can tell you is that I know many, many people with tens of years of sobriety behind them, so AA definitely does work.

Just remember that recovery is based on staying sober for 24 hours, no longer. If you can't stay sober for 24 hours, stay sober for an hour. The point is, don't project into the future. Just stay sober.

I wish you luck at your first meeting, and hope that you can identify with what you find there.

RoomForASmallOne Fri 25-Mar-16 11:23:39

Have PM'd you.

GabiSolis Fri 25-Mar-16 11:27:40

I've been to a few AA meetings with a friend who has been going for a number of years. She occasionally chairs a meeting and likes to have a 'friend' there she can focus on if it gets difficult to talk about herself (most meetings aren't open to non-alcoholics btw and the ones that are will clearly state so on any online listings etc).

Honestly, even as someone who is not an alcoholic, I have never felt more welcome anywhere. All the AA meetings I have been to have been the same. People have all been the new scared person and they do all they can to make others feel at home.

Well done and good luck with today!

BlueJug Fri 25-Mar-16 11:31:57

DP went. Saved him and therefore us. Don't know what you should expect though.

Good luck OP.

AreBags Fri 25-Mar-16 12:03:09

Thank you for the kind words everyone. In the last hour I've decided to go and not to at least 4 times each. Certain now though - thanks

Coconutty Fri 25-Mar-16 12:05:44

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

jellyfrizz Fri 25-Mar-16 12:27:36

Well done for taking control. You can do this!

BillSykesDog Fri 25-Mar-16 12:30:27

Have you phoned ahead? If you let them know that you are coming for the first time they will often have someone come and meet you or call you beforehand to talk you through it then come to the meeting with you to show you the ropes and make sure you're okay.

Alasalas2 Fri 25-Mar-16 12:34:11

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

marryoneorbecomeone Fri 25-Mar-16 12:36:50

Our group doesn't have a phone number, just a number for the secretary, so don't worry if you don't call ahead.

OP the meetings are usually 90 mins, so by 2:30 today you'll have already taken the very first step to conquering this.

"It works if you work it! Keep coming back!"

stopfuckingshoutingatme Fri 25-Mar-16 12:38:19

Good luck op - in general I hear that AA is definitively the most effective way to handle this

Brave you are

marryoneorbecomeone Fri 25-Mar-16 17:34:40

Still alive OP?grin

PrivatePike Fri 25-Mar-16 17:41:53

So glad you decided to go OP. Hope it went ok x

LifeofI Fri 25-Mar-16 18:16:52

good luck flowers

DeKneesAreDeProblem Fri 25-Mar-16 18:37:31

Sorry to hijack this, OP, and I hope it went very well if you ventured out.

My local AA Group is in a relatively small area and I know an awful lot of people here. I know there's a thing about "confidentiality" in AA but I really worry about it in our small community.

Can anyone advise?

BikeRunSki Fri 25-Mar-16 18:41:34

Did you go OP?

My mum went 40 years ago. She's still going...

elmersfud Fri 25-Mar-16 18:44:30

Hope it went ok OP x

BikeRunSki Fri 25-Mar-16 18:45:45


My mum's been involved in AA for 40 years. She is very strict on the confidentiality (although did have to let slip how she knew a megastar actor when we popped in to see him in his dressing room at the National Theatre), it is part of the philosophy of the organisation. You could try a meeting s little further afield if you're worried.

RapunzelStyle Fri 25-Mar-16 18:46:08

Hope it went well. You will not regret it.
On my first meeting I was surprised how few folk looked like sterotypical alkies! Some were many years in recovery so just looked "normal" if you see what I mean, not dishevelled etc. Lots of well off, educated, middle class, women. Definitely not all homeless men!

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