Basic Information about AA and NA
How do I find and AA or NA meeting to attend?
- Use the telephone directory. Both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous list local numbers in the white pages of the local telephone directory. When you call AA or NA, you will either be answered by a 12 Step volunteer who will talk with you and give you the information you need, or hear a recording that gives day, times and locations of area meetings plus the first name and telephone numbers of members you may call for more information.
What can I expect when I attend? What is a meeting like?
- Fellowship. When it’s done right, you will come to care about the members of your group, and they about you. Relationships are an important part of wellness and life satisfaction. Through this fellowship, you will experience acceptance. You will be valued, not blamed. When you begin to try rationalizing a way to use again, someone will recognize what you’re doing and care enough about you to warn you and try to stop you. You will learn a great deal about recovery from both the advice and the mistakes of the members of your home group.
- Hope. By hearing the stories at the meetings and looking at the lives of other members who are recovering, you will come to recognize and believe that recovery is genuinely possible. You will gain hope and energy that will assist your recovery.
- A standard meeting format based on the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions. The meeting lasts for about an hour. It opens with the Serenity Prayer. Each member of the group introduces himself or herself (example: “I’m John and I’m an an alcoholic”). A speaker shares his/her recovery story if it is a speaker meeting, or if it is a discussion meeting, there will be a discussion. The meeting closes with the Lord’s Prayer. Afterwards there is a fellowship time with tea, coffee and conversation, plus an opportunity to look at, maybe purchase, available literature. There is no charge to attend AA or NA meetings –a basket will be passed, and most people will put in a dollar, but it’s fine to not put in anything if you don’t have it to spare.
What is a sponsor? When and How do I get one?
A sponsor is a member of the AA or NA group, someone who has good recovery and is a teacher, advisor and guide for another member who is trying to recover. As in most life situations, you get out of AA/NA what you put into it. Ideally a member should become willing to do “whatever it takes” to gain recovery and tries to “work the program” instead of just being a detached observer at meetings. Having a sponsor is an essential part of “working your program”. Your sponsor should be the same gender as you –men sponsor men and women sponsor women. Get yourself a sponsor soon. You find a sponsor by listening to the speakers and finding someone whose recovery you admire and want your recovery to be like his/hers. Ask that person to be your sponsor. Do not be discouraged if s/he cannot. In that case, or if it’s taking you a while to locate a sponsor, ask at the end of a meeting for someone to be your temporary sponsor.