We offer several addiction recovery programs, including those that focus on alcohol, drug use, and eating disorders. Whatever addiction recovery program you join, attending your first meeting can be a nerve-racking experience.
In your early days of recovery, you may feel vulnerable and anxious. Attending a meeting with a group of strangers may escalate those feelings, but remind yourself that the first meeting is an important step in your recovery process. Every addiction recovery meeting is different, but they share some overall similarities. To help ease your anxieties, here’s what you can generally expect from your first meeting.
Expect Hugs From Strangers
When you introduce yourself as a newcomer at your first meeting, many veterans of your addiction recovery program may approach you to introduce themselves, welcome you to the program, and offer their support. Expect some hugs and phone numbers. Although meeting new people may seem overwhelming or intimidating, don’t be discouraged. Keep in mind that everyone in the program has been in your shoes. They simply want you to feel welcomed and supported during your recovery.
Addiction recovery meetings can vary greatly depending on the group, size, and the type of program, but they are always a place for people to come and talk about their daily struggles with addiction. For newcomers, sharing experiences can seem a little intense. One minute, someone in the meeting could be laughing and the next someone could be crying. Throughout the meeting, you are likely to experience a range of emotions, but remember that it is all a part of the therapeutic process.
Remember That a Meeting Is Not Peer Counseling
An addiction recovery meeting is not counseling. Instead, it is a place to share experiences and support others. In most programs, “cross talk,” interrupting someone to offer your opinion or advice, is against the rules. Cross-talk discourages others from talking and defeats the purpose of the meeting. An open mind and a supportive attitude are the most valuable things you can offer others.
Remember That You Don’t Have to Speak At First
In your first few meetings, sharing your experiences can be a challenge, but do not worry. It is completely fine to sit back and listen. Like anything in the addiction recovery process, sharing your story takes some time. There is no need to rush yourself, so you can wait until you feel comfortable to open up with the group.