I went to my first meeting on Friday. It was in the city so I went in on the train (I could have driven but I hate having to look for a park and the train is just easier). There aren't any other afternoon meetings locally which is why I went to the one in the city. I even told my husband that I was going ( I did think of lying and telling him that I was going shopping instead but then I thought I didn't want to have to make up an excuse every time I go so it would be easier to be honest from the start. Besides, he was off work that day so he drove me the train station).
I know the meetings are confidential but I want to write about my experience in the hope that it will help others who may be thinking of going but aren't sure what to expect. I will not break any confidences (I didn't know anyone there anyway) so I will just be describing what the room was like and the basics of the meeting.
I arrived on time. 5 minutes early actually. So I stood outside and pretended to be looking at my phone whilst checking out the area. I saw a couple of guys enter the meeting with coffees in their hands, so I grabbed myself a can of diet coke so I had something do do with my hands. Not sure why that was important!
There was a sign that said AA meeting with an arrow pointing to the room where it was being held. Everyone walking past could see the sign, which put me off for a second. What if someone saw me go in? The odds of someone I knew being there were low but still... I didn't really want people see me going in. But then I thought, who cares, I came here for a purpose and I am going to go through with it. So I went in.
There were chairs lined up in a row and facing the front of the room. A man sat at a table at the front, and he seemed to be running the meeting. The room was already nearly full so I took an aisle seat half way up the room (maybe subconsciously I did that in case I needed to make a quick get-away!). The girl sitting next to me introduced herself and shook my hand. She was very welcoming and I was put at ease immediately. I relaxed back into my seat, curious to see what would happen next.
The man at the front of the room (I guess you could call him a chair person?) asked if this was anyone's first meeting so I put my hand up. A few others put their hands up too. Everyone were very welcoming and I felt really glad to be there.
The chair person then chose several people to speak. If they didn't want to 'share' they just said hi, my name is such and such and I am alcoholic, and stated how many days/months/years they had and the next person was then chosen. They stood up the front and spoke about their experiences with alcohol and their recovery.
I felt at home in that room. and as though I had a connection with these people that I had never met before. It was an amazing feeling and it stayed with me all day.
Afterwards, a few women came up to me and introduced themselves to me, and one of them gave me a starter pack. They were really friendly. People were chatting outside, so I stood there for a second but I felt really shy so I left.
I am so glad I went. My only disappointment was that they didn't hand out any chips. I was on day 180 and I really wanted a 6 month chip! Oh well, maybe the next meeting I go to will have them.
I will definitely be going back. Even though it's a bit far away, I liked the lunch time meeting as it means I can go when the little guy is at school. That particular meeting runs everyday (except Sunday and I work on Sundays anyway). I was thinking of going to a different meeting closer by on Saturday afternoon but I didn't get there. So I am planning on going to one tonight.
So that was my first meeting. I loved it. Even though I am 6 months down the track I think meetings will be beneficial. I kind of wish I had gone to them from the start, they would have helped so much. Maybe I would be further along emotionally if I'd gone earlier. Oh well. I'm 6 months sober and that's the main thing. Now I can move onto the next stage of my sobriety and meetings will hopefully help me do that.
If you aren't sure if meetings are for you or not, I highly suggest you go. Just to see what they are about. And if they aren't for you, you don't have to go back. That's just my thought on it anyway.