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Old 11-24-2013, 09:50 PM
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AA questions

Hi all, I am considering going to my first AA meeting tomorrow. Can someone tell me what a closed meeting is? I have never been to one - do I have to go to one with a beginner designation/label? The beginner times do not work for me and I would hate to just skip it all together. Do I need to be prepared in any way? Will I have to talk? What do people talk about? Do people go around and say their names and that they are an alcoholic? I really have no idea how this works and would love a bit of an idea so I'm not totally overwhelmed if I go.
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:13 PM
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Hi Renarde--

A "closed" meeting is for alcoholics only--anyone is welcome at "open" meetings. A "beginner's" meeting would be great, but any meeting will be fine. It is likely that the secretary will ask if there are any newcomers, and it is traditional that you introduce yourself by first name and say "I'm an alcoholic."
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Renarde View Post
Hi all, I am considering going to my first AA meeting tomorrow. Can someone tell me what a closed meeting is? I have never been to one - do I have to go to one with a beginner designation/label? The beginner times do not work for me and I would hate to just skip it all together. Do I need to be prepared in any way? Will I have to talk? What do people talk about? Do people go around and say their names and that they are an alcoholic? I really have no idea how this works and would love a bit of an idea so I'm not totally overwhelmed if I go.
Hi Renarde! Congrats at deciding to try an AA meeting! Something to keep in mind is that all meetings are different, so take the time to try a few out to find some that you like

I go to one meeting that is "closed" and at the beginning of the meeting it states "This is a closed meeting and the only requirement is the desire to stop drinking"- You do not have to attend a beginner meeting prior to attending a closed meeting. Some meetings do go around the room having each person say their first name and the whole "i'm an alcoholic" bit. Some do not. You are never forced to talk although I have been to one where they did ask random participants in the meeting to share... and I simply stated that I was going to pass that night. You never have to share. Lots of people say that they want to pass and that's okay. You also do not need to prepare in any way.

Each meeting is different in regards to the exact topic- there are some discussion meetings where the topics vary, there are speaker meetings (I personally love these) where you listen to someone share their experiences and how they obtained sobriety, there are big book discussion meetings where you read a portion of the big book and then discuss what it means to you... as I said, they're all different.

Good luck and don't be nervous at all! It gets easier each time, trust me!
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:17 PM
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this is a pretty good guide, I hear...
Your First AA Meeting<
D
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:21 PM
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Hi Renarde.

Every AA meeting is slightly different in the way it is run so it isn't possible for anyone to tell you exactly what will happen. A closed meeting means that it is only for people with a desire to stop drinking. Anyone can go to an open one..family or friends etc who are there to support.

At some meetings I've been to, we go round the room introducing yourselves and saying we are an alcoholic. At some meetings we don't.

There is no expectation put on you to share or do anything uncomfortable. I would however make a point of telling someone, preferably before the meeting, that you are a newcomer. They will then make a point of looking out for you and you will be given people's numbers to call if you need to. Please do that. They are there to help and it helps them with their sobriety too.

I hope it goes well. Come back and tell us all about it x
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Old 11-24-2013, 10:34 PM
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Hi Renarde,

Closed meetings are for alcoholics only, as opposed to open meetings, which anyone can attend. Most of the meetings in my area are open meetings, but I do attend some closed ones as well. They are basically the same format.

You do not have to go to a beginners meeting for your first meeting. But I would highly recommend you check one out, as they tend to focus on the first three steps, i.e., the steps that directly address not drinking. I have almost 8 months sober and I still usually go to one beginners meeting a week.

You do not need to prepare in any way.

You do not have to talk if you don't want to. Usually, in the beginning of a meeting, the chairperson will ask if it's anyone's first AA meeting ever, or if it's anyone's first time at that particular meeting. If you wish, you can just raise your hand and say your first name. That's it. But you don't have to if you don't want to.

What people talk about is dependent on what kind of meeting it is. If it's a big book meeting, people will read and discuss a chapter or portion of the book. If it's a speaker meeting, then someone will tell their story and people can comment after. If it's a discussion/topic meeting, then the chairperson will choose a topic, maybe share a little bit, and then turn it over for the group to share.

I've only been to one meeting where they actually go around the room and everyone introduces themselves. This was a beginners meeting. If you don't feel comfortable saying your name, you can always say pass.

My advice to you? Just go in with an open mind. And if you're up to it, raise your hand hand when they ask if anyone is new. Some meetings will pass around beginners packets so you can get people's numbers and some AA info. It's also a good idea to hang around after the meeting for a bit and just chat with some people. Trust me, everyone will be nice and welcome you accordingly. It's always good to start building some connections with people and get a few phone numbers to call. But again, this isn't a requirement. If you want to bolt right after, that's your prerogative. Do what makes you feel comfortable.

Let us know how it goes!
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:27 AM
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Thank you all so so much!!! I really appreciate your replies. I have one picked out for this morning and will let you know how it goes!
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Old 11-25-2013, 05:44 AM
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Hi and welcome.

Excellent info above.

"Do I need to be prepared in any way? Will I have to talk?"

I found the only preparation I finally needed was being honest with myself about my drinking and part of that was for me was accepting that I can not drink in safety.

You may just want to give your first name and if you want to say I'm an alcoholic. Some people plan to say nothing and that's OK, then at the last minute say a few words.

It would benefit you if you could say that your new.

You'll get much benefit from listening and identifying.

BE WELL
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:12 AM
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it was the only that saved my life. and i tried everything else
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Old 11-25-2013, 11:31 AM
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Renarde, I'm looking forward to the scouting report you post for those who consider doing likewise. I hope it went well.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:28 PM
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You'll be surrounded by a bunch of people holding hands and chanting in Old English, eyes glazed over, and wearing black, hooded capes. There will be a burning at the stake, of course, but they don't burn anyone who's new.

Several chickens will lose their heads, the blood of children under five years of age will be let, and anyone carrying a Capital One card in their wallet will have to take a vow of silence for ninety days.

A basket will be passed around, ostensibly to pay for expenses, but the true intent is to get the DNA from newcomers so that the group can cast a spell on them, making them believe that they only talk about a "higher power" so that they won't scare people off by taking about "God," which, in turn, is truly the devil. In any case, if you don't comply with everything they suggest, and you don't agree with everything that's said, you'll experience spontaneous combustion exactly five minutes after you start making fun of AA with your buddies.

Closed meetings are pretty much the same, except anyone who has ninety days has to consent to an act of self-immolation with the person who has the most time in the group. This can be very time-consuming and tiring, since most times the two participants go back and forth, exchanging words like, "You go first." "No, you go first." "No, you go first..."

Oh yeah, don't drive to the meeting. Take public transportation, have someone drop you off, or walk, but for God's sake, don't drive. When you identify yourself as a newcomer, other members will follow you out to your car and lock you in your trunk until you commit to getting a sponsor.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:30 PM
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Originally Posted by EndGameNYC View Post
You'll be surrounded by a bunch of people holding hands and chanting in Old English, eyes glazed over, and wearing black, hooded capes. There will be a burning at the stake, of course, but they don't burn anyone who's new.

Several chickens will lose their heads, the blood of children under five years of age will be let, and anyone carrying a Capital One card in their wallet will have to take a vow of silence for ninety days.

A basket will be passed around, ostensibly to pay for expenses, but the true intent is to get the DNA from newcomers so that the group can cast a spell on them, making them believe that they only talk about a "higher power" so that they won't scare people off by taking about "God," which, in turn, is truly the devil. In any case, if you don't comply with everything they suggest, and you don't agree with everything that's said, you'll experience spontaneous combustion exactly five minutes after you start making fun of AA with your buddies.

Closed meetings are pretty much the same, except anyone who has ninety days has to consent to an act of self-immolation with the person who has the most time in the group. This can be very time-consuming and tiring, since most times the two participants go back and forth, exchanging words like, "You go first." "No, you go first." "No, you go first..."

Oh yeah, don't drive to the meeting. Take public transportation, have someone drop you off, or walk, but for God's sake, don't drive. When you identify yourself as a newcomer, other members will follow you out to your car and lock you in your trunk until you commit to getting a sponsor.
I don't really understand your response. I asked these questions in sincerity because knowing what to expect in advance makes me more comfortable with trying new things, I've never known anyone who goes to AA, and I didn't want to make any assumptions, not because I think it's a cult. I sort of can't believe that you took the time to write up something this unhelpful that appears like it might be mocking my post. Maybe this was a joke that I'm not getting...? Anyway...
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:34 PM
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To everyone else, thank you for the support and input! I wasn't able to go today because of some unforseen circumstances (family illness) but it's on my radar for next week and I am looking forward to it. I will be sure to come back and post.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:40 PM
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Well, meetings can be rather unusual, so do not judge the whole program by one meeting. For example, last night's meeting here was a birthday meeting. This honors those who are celebrating a sobriety anniversary during the month. It is a very unusual meeting because the members of the group often talk about those members who are having a birthday. Usually, no "cross-talk" is allowed--you don't comment on what another person says or does. And we end the meeting with chocolate cake.
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Old 11-25-2013, 08:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Renarde View Post
To everyone else, thank you for the support and input! I wasn't able to go today because of some unforseen circumstances (family illness) but it's on my radar for next week and I am looking forward to it. I will be sure to come back and post.
I'm glad you're still willing to try it out. I went to one tonight where they picked a topic (tonight was "progress") and people walked up the podium to share. This was the first time I'd been to a meeting where one actually had to walk up to the podium to share- I personally didn't share haha.

I'm sorry about your family illness... and if you have a chance before next week, you should definitely just find one on a spur and see what it's about, before next week- just so that you can't put it off
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Old 11-25-2013, 09:15 PM
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Originally Posted by Renarde View Post
I don't really understand your response. I asked these questions in sincerity because knowing what to expect in advance makes me more comfortable with trying new things, I've never known anyone who goes to AA, and I didn't want to make any assumptions, not because I think it's a cult. I sort of can't believe that you took the time to write up something this unhelpful that appears like it might be mocking my post. Maybe this was a joke that I'm not getting...? Anyway...
I wasn't mocking you at all, Renarde. Just having a little fun. I apologize for my insensitivity around your genuine concerns.
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:27 AM
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Ok. I misunderstood! I'm still a newbie I guess!!! Thank you!
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Old 11-26-2013, 07:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Renarde View Post
Ok. I misunderstood! I'm still a newbie I guess!!! Thank you!
It's not you, it's me. I respect your bringing this to my attention.

I'm on your side.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:02 AM
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It made me laugh a little, but only because that is so very close to the image I had in my head of what AA would be like.

I am so glad I went to my first meeting OP. I felt at home. These people understood me. I will be returning. Give it a chance. You can go and say nothing at all, sit at the back of the room with a pair of sunglasses on. You can look at the floor the whole time. Just be sure to really listen.
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Old 11-26-2013, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by EndGameNYC View Post
It's not you, it's me. I respect your bringing this to my attention.

I'm on your side.

I have to admit, it did make me laugh
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