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your first meetingCongratulations! You are about to go to your first meeting. Taking this step in your recovery is an incredible thing. Whether or not you know what to expect at a meeting for your program, your first time attending can feel intimidating. Never fear! Here are a few secrets and tips to make your first meeting a bit more comfortable, so that you can get the most you can out of it.


1) Go With an Open Mind

Even if you have no idea what happens during a meeting, try to walk in with an open mind. These programs have helped so many different kinds of people recover. Getting there is the first big step. Once you are there, try to listen and learn as much as possible. The language and ideas may be completely new to you, but see if you can take away at least one positive thing. Perhaps you feel a sense of community there, or maybe you hear someone that you can relate to. There are many new ways of thinking or ideas that could strike you and help you feel more empowered on your recovery journey. 


2) Expect a Big Welcome

Members of any 12-Step program meeting are always very excited to see new faces, and they will be very welcoming. You should expect introductions, handshakes, and potentially hugs offered to you as soon as you get there. This might feel a bit overwhelming, but it’s how you can get familiar and connected right away. These members want you to feel like this is somewhere you can be comfortable, and to let you know they are here to help. Try to meet as many people as you can. They can be great supporters and resources for your recovery and help you as you progress!


3) Why Are They Chanting?

Most meetings have some sort of prayer that they say together at the close or at different times throughout. For those who are new, this may be confusing or off-putting. Whether these are prayers you are familiar with or not, try to understand that over time they will become more meaningful as you continue to show up. Don’t let this stop you from hearing the important messages being shared that can inspire you in your healing process. You don’t need to join in if you aren’t comfortable, simply understand that it’s a part of the meeting and of recovery. 


4) Format of the Meeting

Every meeting has a different format, and it may change depending on the day of the week or which one you attend. Sometimes, it is centered around a single speaker who shares their experience for the entirety of the time. Other times, there is a leader or a reading from the literature of the program and the rest of the time is yielded for shares from the group. There may be a particular topic or question that the shares are based upon. Sometimes, it’s simply a meeting for reading from a book together, helping each other understand in the process. Some meetings are more formal, while others are more free-flowing. If there is a style of meeting that you find you like the best, you can continue to attend ones with that format. However, feel free to mix it up and learn something from all styles and formats.


At The Guest House Ocala, we have personal recovery experience and over 12 years in the recovery industry. We have helped countless people recover, and we’re here to help you too. Call 855-483-7800 today for more information.