AA Meetings: Different Strokes for Different Folks: Part 2
In AA Meetings Part 1 we talked about different meeting sizes and styles to meet different needs. We also provided a list of all the meetings in Palm Beach County, as well as a link to find 12 step meetings throughout the country. If you’re brand new to the area or to 12 step programs, you’ll want to check out AA Meetings: Different Strokes for Different Folks: Part 1.
Now let’s look at more meeting styles and what to consider:
Open meetings vs Closed Meetings, what’s the difference?
An open meeting is just that, open to everyone regardless if you identify as alcoholic. Closed meetings are (you guessed it) closed, which means they are limited to people who consider themselves alcoholic and often members of AA (meaning they have the desire to stop drinking.)
Meditation (or 11 step) meetings
Meditation meetings generally center around the 11th step (Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.)
Even if you’re just getting started and have a hard time sitting still even do NOT be intimidated.
These meetings can be exactly the perfect intro into meditation that you need. There is no pressure here. Often there’s a speaker who shares about their experience with meditation and a lot of the time their struggles with it. These meetings are good reminders that YOU ARE NOT ALONE. Lots of people struggle with meditation and many times you get to hear about the many different ways people find to meditate that are nothing to do with the traditional sitting in lotus position and chanting or whatever you might be thinking version.
People in AA find all kinds of ways to meditate including listening to guided meditations, listening or playing music, spending time in nature, going running or doing other physical activity. These meetings can give you an opportunity to share about your thoughts, struggles and desires around meditation and mindfulness and will give you good ideas from what other people share about their own practices. Often there is also opportunity for a brief meditation which can be guided by the speaker or the group depending on the particular meeting.
Special Interest Meetings
(LGBT, Women’s, Men’s, Young People)
These are just a few of the different special interest meetings that exist. If you are just starting out and feel more comfortable speaking in a group of only other men or women, then maybe single gender meetings are a good option to check out. These can also be excellent meetings for finding a potential sponsor. If you identify as queer or are interested in being in a meeting with queer fellows to hear about their specific experience in recovery, then lgbt focused meetings are a good option to check out. If you are a young person in recovery and want to know how other young people stay sober and what to hear more about their particular challenges and tools, then young people focused meetings are a good option. These meetings are also good options to find fellowship opportunities to hang out after the meeting.
- Take the 90 in 90 challenge. (Just one meeting a day for 90 days)
- Get there early and leave late. (Easiest way to meet other sober people)
- If you are too shy to share at first, thank the speaker after the meeting and introduce yourself to at least one other person after the meeting.
- Raise your hand if you’re counting days to announce your day count.
If you don’t like meetings right away, just keep trying-guaranteed the more you go to, the more comfortable you’ll be. Bonus: you’ll meet lots of other sober people and even find some meetings you really start to like.