It is not unusual for your fear and hesitation to hijack a bit of hope for your first AA meeting. You may be flustered with a lot of thoughts about the things you will be expected to do, secrets you will have to share, and people you might meet.
However, the good thing to know is that almost everyone who attends their first AA meeting has such thoughts! There are things you can do to gain an understanding of how to make the most of your first AA meeting in Virginia:
- Try to focus on the similarities: Everyone has been through different journeys, some of which will not resonate with you. Instead of comparing your battles and invalidating others’ experiences, try to find the similarities between you and other members. Remember that there are always more similarities than differences. If you are confused whether you identify as an alcoholic or not, you may try going for open local AA meetings in Virginia.
- Be punctual and honest: The most important note to take from your AA meetings is to not miss out on listening and sharing. Nervousness about these meetings might tempt you to arrive late, stay silent, and leave early. But, it is always better to face the fear.
- Find a friend: Going alone can be a daunting experience for you. If you have a friend who also has a problematic relationship with substance use, try going with them. Otherwise, forge friendships with the people in the meeting. Go out for a coffee with them later or listen intently to their issues in the meeting.
- Do your research: Facing troubles in the process of finding the ideal AA meeting in Virginia can be off-putting. Take note of the types of AA meetings around you. As unnerving as it seems, it only takes one click to check out the nearest ‘AA meetings near me’. Learn about them and choose the one that suits you best! They are available to you in various formats – open meetings, closed meetings, meetings for young people, beginners’ meetings, discussion meetings, etc.
- It is okay to not share: This is a useful reminder to calm the nerves! You do not have to share everything; you might as well choose to listen to everyone’s unique experiences and find solace in the fact that you are not alone. Just listen and make an attempt to form a bond. While this may put you out of your comfort zone, it will also help you realize that socializing goes beyond having fun with alcohol.
The reality is that you will leave the meeting feeling more understood and hopeful than before. After a while, you will be able to develop your own mechanisms to stay sober, like using a Sobriety Calculator, and form mutual associations of care. It is all about taking the first step and attending that first meeting.
If you want to locate a meeting near you, you can visit aa-meetings.com. This top-notch resource is your best bet for knowing which recovery programs are taking place in your area.