What Are Al-Anon Meetings Like?
What Are Al-Anon Meetings Like?
It is common to wonder what to expect at your first Al-Anon meeting. You’ve searched “meetings near me”, arrived at one, and are starting to feel nervous, that is perfectly fine. You might feel the same as when you first started a new school or job.
It is imperative that you realize the goals of these meetings are to support each other. Your mind will naturally race and you might feel nervous. However, once you’ve entered the Al-Anon meeting, you are taking a big first step in your life. These meetings do not offer support for addicts but rather their families and friends. It is most often the people living with or around addicts that need help the most.
Common Questions For First Time Visitors-Do I have To Speak?
One common concern for first-time visitors is the worry they might have to speak in public. These groups don’t require you to speak if you don’t want to. You might find that you want to listen and watch, rather than speak. Over time, you can decide when you feel comfortable enough to share your experiences. The main purpose of these meetings is to support everyone around you.
The next portion of an Al-Anon meeting is when introductions begin. At this point, the Chairperson will go around the room, allowing each member to introduce themselves. It is during the introductions that members of the group have an opportunity to share anything they would like. Again, you may share if you would like but you are not required to. There are times when those who are visiting an Al-Anon meeting must share their experience. The sharing portion of an Al-Anon meeting does not follow a certain protocol. Members of a group are allowed to share anything they want with the rest of the group.
Al-Anon meetings will begin with the reading of the Serenity Prayer. This prayer is often recited right at the beginning of an Al-Anon meeting. You shouldn’t feel embarrassed or worried if you don’t know this prayer. You can choose to memorize it outside of the meeting or learn it as the weeks go by at the meetings themselves. After the Serenity Prayer, there will be a series of readings that are done, typically by the Chairperson. The first reading will be that welcomes everyone to the fellowship. Next, the preamble of the Al-Anon meeting is read. These readings will only take a couple of minutes.
The first thing you will notice after the meeting has started is the importance of structure. Al-Anon meetings are not on a whim type of events. Instead, Al-Anon meetings follow a set protocol that is rarely broken. If a meeting night is on Wednesdays, you can ensure that will be the set night. In addition, Al-Anon meetings also do not usually have changing times. If a meeting is going to start at 8 o’clock, you can rest assured that will be the exact start time.
Once you have sat down, it is common to wonder where the group leader is. However, in Al-Anon meetings, there really is not a set leader. A group may choose to have someone lead the proceedings. This member will usually be someone who has had a long tenure within the group, often called a Chairperson. Sometimes, a Chairperson will change from week to week, it depends on the specific group.
Who Al-Anon Is For
This group doesn’t offer support for addicts but rather those that live with addicts. You might find that hearing stories similar to yours may make you feel emotional. There are no rules regarding letting your emotions out in these meetings. You could find that letting go amongst those with similar experiences is helpful. Feel free to also offer support to others that become overcome with emotions.
One last important step of Al-Anon meetings is discussing important principles related to the meetings. Sometimes, groups might go over the twelve steps, traditions, and concepts. However, this will all depend on how long the sharing portion has lasted. You’ve learned that structure is very important in these meetings. The structure means that ending times for meetings are very structured.
In closing, it is perfectly normal to be nervous about your first Al-Anon meeting. However, you will find that you will be surrounded by a group of caring people that want to help you. Al-Anon meetings usually begin with a series of readings, followed by introductions. You can choose whether or not to share any experiences of your own during this meeting phase. A quick search of meetings near me will provide you with helpful information to find Al-Anon meetings in your area.