What Will Happen at Your First 12 Step Meeting

What Will Happen at Your First 12 Step Meeting

12 step meeting are where alcoholics or drug addicts gather around and either listen or share their stories. Some may feel intimidated to go as they are worried about getting judged or feel their problem is not serious enough to attend a meeting. It is important to know what you are getting into when you join a 12 step meeting so that you do not quit the meetings before you start.

12 step meetings normally take place at a church or a community center. Some are there making coffee and talking or they keep to themselves. Ten minutes later, about fifty people are seated in a circle with the meeting chairperson sitting in the middle. The chairperson reads the AA Preamble and leads the Serenity Prayer. Different members read different passages like “How It Works,” “Twelve Traditions,” and “The Promises.” Newcomers are introduced and there are discussions about the steps such as if any have experience, strength or hope with any of them. Each person shares their story voluntarily and gets thanked after. There is also the opportunity to share AA-related announcements and the option to partake in the Lord’s Prayer.

These meetings are a time to socialize and ask any questions. Meetings are all run differently. There are some who call on others who have not spoken so that everyone has a chance to speak and to get them to open up more. Some meetings are discussion-focused with a random topic to talk about. 12 step meetings are not to be rigorous where you pay any dues, find a sponsor, give out personal information, or join anything. All you are required to do is be on time, do not smoke, do not interrupt someone when they talk, and make sure your court vouchers are signed by the end of the meeting if you are at the meetings required by the court.  

You will receive a meeting schedule book with names and numbers to call just in case your feel the cravings to use. There are open meetings if you just want to observe and closed ones if you are looking to recover. You are encouraged to listen the first time and are never required to talk as you need to share your story when you are ready. 12 Step meetings can get you to finally admit to yourself that you have a problem that you would like to fix.

Located in Tacoma, Washington, Bayview Center’s mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders along with anxiety and depression using cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more for a successful recovery. For more information, please call us 888-570-7154 at as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.