What was your first Al-Anon meeting like? Did you know what to expect, or did you just show up and hope for the best? If you’re interested in attending an Al-Anon meeting but don’t have any experience with meetings, this blog post is for you. In it, we’ll discuss what to expect from a typical Al-Anon meeting as well as how to prepare yourself.
1. What to Expect in Al-Anon Meeting
What can you expect from an Al-Anon meeting? The actual content of the meeting is different for everyone, but some things are more or less standard. You can expect to hear from people who grew up with an alcoholic relative and have been helped by Al-Anon. There will be a “speaker,” someone who tells their story for about 15 minutes in most meetings. At the end of the meeting, people will stand up and tell how Al-Anon has helped them or to share an exciting experience they’ve had because of Al-Anon. You can expect that some people at the meetings probably won’t have anything interesting to say. They might just talk about the weather and their family and how they’re doing. This is okay. You can always choose not to speak or say as much as you want, or just listen if that’s what you feel like doing. Al-Anon meetings are not about being “put on the spot” or being judged for your problems. You can also expect that most people who attend Al-Anon meetings suffer from the effects of another person’s drinking. This is not to say that all people in Al-Anon have alcoholic family members, but most do. The abuser does not have to be an alcoholic for you to be helped by Al-Anon and attending meetings.
2. Don’t Expect a Miracle
You can expect that your life won’t be magically transformed after one meeting, no matter how great it is. Al-Anon meetings are a great place to meet people and share stories with others who have gone through similar things. You can also gain strength from hearing how other people in the room have handled tough situations. But no matter how many meetings you go to, keep in mind that they’re not a cure-all.
3. How Can I Prepare for an Al-Anon Meeting?
One thing you can do to prepare is to think of a few questions you want to ask. If you have a problem with your loved one’s drinking and want some advice, write down a few questions beforehand, so nothing gets lost in translation or forgotten. Some people also like to bring notepaper and a pen with them to write down wisdom they might hear that night, but this isn’t necessary. One thing you can do to prepare for the meeting is looking at the meeting schedule for your local area (or wherever you might be traveling) and find one that you’re interested in attending. The Al-Anon website has tools to help you do this. You can also look into the format of the meetings available so you know what to expect when you get there.
4. What Should I Wear?
Al-Anon is similar to AA in many ways, but not all. You can expect to see other people there who are struggling with the effects of another person’s drinking, but other than that, you don’t have to dress a certain way or follow any particular conventions. However, if you’re attending an Alateen meeting for young people, dressing sharply might be appreciated.
5. What Should I Expect After the Meeting?
After your first meeting, you might want to consider going out for coffee or a meal with some of the people who attended with you. This can be a great way to learn more about Al-Anon and meet like-minded people in your area. But if you don’t feel like going to a restaurant or coffee shop, that’s okay too. You can always go home and start looking for the next meeting in your area!
6. What to Do After the Meeting
If you’re brand new to Al-Anon, you might want to consider going out for coffee with some of the people who attended the meeting with you. This can be a great way to learn more about Al-Anon and meet like-minded people in your area. But if you don’t feel like going to a restaurant or coffee shop, that’s okay too. You can always go home and start looking for the next meeting in your area!
Whether you’ve been attending Al-Anon meetings for years or are planning on going to your very first meeting, it can be helpful to know what to expect. You might not be able to predict every single thing that will happen during the course of a meeting, but if you keep an open mind and follow these guidelines, you should be prepared to make the most of your experience when you head out to an Al-Anon meeting. Ready to get started? Call us today at 954-523-1167 for help with your recovery.