When you attend your first AA or NA meeting, the environment may feel a bit awkward. You’re just re-learning what it feels like to be sober, and you may not be ready to open up to a room full of strangers.
In fact, you may be surprised that some members are so comfortable talking about their pasts. But that’s the beauty in these groups. There are members in all stages of their recoveries, so you get a lot of diversity.
As a newbie, however, how do you get to the point of sharing? Do you really need to share anyway? In this post, we want to talk about the importance of opening up and making the most of your AA or NA meetings.
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Why is it Important to Share at Your Meetings?
Sharing is a main component of AA and NA meetings. However, you don’t have to expect yourself to feel comfortable sharing your inner thoughts and feelings right away. Some topics may be related to the steps and more general in nature, so practice contributing to these discussions first.
Here are the benefits to sharing at AA or NA:-
- Release pent up stress and tension
- Free yourself from stress and anxiety
- Get fresh perspectives from people outside your circle
- Contribute to the conversation
- Share your experiences to help others
- Offer hope and inspiration to those who are struggling
- Find clarity in issues you’re dealing with
- Prevent isolation and remind yourself that you are not alone
- Prevent yourself from internalizing thoughts and feelings; when said aloud, you may understand your own emotions better.
What Can Happen if You Don’t Share at Your Meetings?
You may not think that sitting quietly at an AA meeting could harm your recovery, but not allowing yourself to open up and engage could set you back. While it’s fine to give yourself time to get more comfortable in a group setting, you don’t want to isolate yourself.
Not sharing at your meetings could lead to problems such as the following:
- Feel like an outsider in the group
- Unable to get the full benefit of being part of a community
- Slip into denial or delusion
- Put yourself at risk for relapse
- Contribute to feelings of anger or frustration
- Make it more difficult to build friendships
What About Confidentiality?
All material discussed at AA and NA meetings is encouraged to be confidential. Members are frequently reminded that what goes on during the meetings stays at the meetings.
However, since there are no concrete confidentiality laws, be mindful of the names and places you discuss. For example, if you are going to complain about your boss, don’t use her name specifically.
In the end, there are no disadvantages to opening up at your meetings. This is a safe place that is free from judgement and bias.