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Enchanted,
I can tell you what happens in an AA meeting. I've never been to a CA or NA meeting but I believe the "format" is the same. Here goes:
A group of addicts meet for an hour, sometimes an hour and a half. The meeting is started with some readings from the Big Book of Alcoholics. The preamble, How it Works and the Promises (my favorite). One person chairs the meeting and prior to the start of the meeting, he or she asks for volunteers to read. If you are asked, it is totally ok to say no, the correct verbage for you to say is "I'll pass today". Itís totally OK!
After that is done, the chair asks if there are any newcomers, out of towners or people coming back after a "road test". You DO NOT have to speak up. Totally OK!
When someone does say they are a new comer or back from road testing, they are asked if they would like phone numbers from the people in the rooms for support (gender specific).
After that, the chair person briefly qualifies. What that means is they give you a brief history of what it was like for them while drinking, what happened and how they are today. The chair will then ask if anyone is having trouble staying away from a drink. This opens up the floor for those that may be struggling, and want help right away.
Depending on what kind of meeting it is, open discusion, (chair asks if anyone has a topic), or reading from the Big Book, Grapevine, Twelve Step, and so on, the meeting begins. Some meetings are open, which means anyone can go and some are closed which means they are for alcoholics only. If you look at a meeting schedule (I got my first meeting schedule online) it will tell you what kind of meeting it is and if itís open or closed.
While the preamble is being read, you will hear that AA is self supporting through our own contributions. What that means is we donít accept outside funds from anyone. About 40 mins into the meeting a basket is passed. People usually put a buck or two in. AA meetings are typically held in churches and halls and we have to pay rent. You donít have to contribute, Totally OK!
A few examples; If its a open discussion meeting, once the topic is chosen the chair is responsible for keeping order in who raised their hand and wants to share. Again, you donít have to, totally OK! If itís a reading meeting and your passed the literature to read and donít want to, simply take the book, say, "I'll pass", and hand it to the next person. Totally OK!
At the near end of the meeting the chair will ask if anyone has a burning desire. That gives the opportunity for someone to share on something that is bothering them. That "share" typically closes the meeting. Finally, the chair asks the group if there is anyone willing to be a sponsor, and if so, to raise their hands. This shows the newcomers who they can ask for help and sponsorship. The chair also at this time asks if there are any AA related announcements, i.e.; upcoming events, new meeting locations etc". Next, the "chips" are given out to people that are having an anniversary of sobriety. The first chip is white, for those that want to get sober (first day of sobriety). Next is (depending on the group is for one month, then two, three, nine and a year or multiples of sobriety).
The meeting closes with the Lords Prayer, everyone in a circle holding hands.

You free to share at the meetings as long as it relates to alcoholism. There is no cross talk. In other words, other members donít speak to you direct or tell you what or what not to do. They will talk about their experience, strength and hope about what happened to them.
This has been my experience at the AA meetings I attend, your mileage may vary...........:D

Your Friend,
Marilyn:wave:





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