QUESTION: When speaking in alcoholics anonymous meetings (12-step NA meeting or AA meeting), what am I supposed to say?
ANSWER: When you attend a 12-step meeting, there is no rule that says you must speak at the meeting. In my experience, though, it wasn’t until I began putting my hand up and sharing with people that I was able to really benefit from meetings.
It is great to be in Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings – sometimes just being there can get us one more day clean and sober. However, if you are not putting 100% into the meetings, you may not find them as helpful as you could if you were to share in the meeting or talk to people before or after the meeting.
When you share, there is nothing that you are “supposed” to say or not say. Sometimes it can just be good to start sharing, even if it’s about nothing, just to get in the habit of sharing. Even if it’s just to raise your hand and say your name and how you’re doing that day. Let people know how you’re doing, what you’re struggling with or what you might need help with.
Getting in the habit of sharing in meetings can be really helpful in case something more urgent comes up that you need help with. This way you won’t be afraid to put your hand up and ask for help.
Sharing in Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings and expressing how you feel to the other people in the room can also make you feel more connected to these people and to the program.
It took me a long time to put my hand in the air and share at an AA meeting, but once I did it the first time, it got easier. I get really nervous speaking in front of people, but it helps to remember why I am at the meeting. I am there to stay sober and to maybe help someone else get another day sober. Simply raising your hand and sharing what you are thinking about can help you and someone else.
If you are at a speaker meeting, try to relate with the speaker and share about something they said. If you are at a big book meeting or a step meeting, try to relate to what the literature says and share about that.
No matter what you say, no one is going to think it is stupid and no one is going to judge you. The more you get comfortable sharing in meetings, the more you will get out of these meetings and will be able to help yourself and other people.
Again, just remember that there is nothing right or wrong that you can say in a meeting.
to read a poem I wrote one day when I was nervous about an upcoming speaking engagement.