Hello! I have some questions, and am open to advice if you have any.
I have known my current boyfriend for about 16 years. We have been seriously dating for about a year. In the past, he has struggled with drug addiction. He kicked his "heavy" drug addiction in 2008, and has been completely clean for 3+ years now. If it matters, he quit cold turkey and did not attend detox/rehab/meetings. His family wasn't/isn't available for support.
He has always been a social drinker, but last night confessed to me that he found himself drinking large amounts at least every other night last week. He recognizes this to be addictive behavior, realizes it's a problem, and together we went through his house and got rid of all alcohol/anything that contained alcohol. He is sad and scared, and I am sad and scared for him. I brought up the option of attending and AA meeting. He said he never went to any meetings previously for a couple of different reasons, but has thought about attending. His main reason for not attending was because he didn't want to go into something brand new completely alone. I offered to attend any meeting(s) with him, any time. He took me up on the offer, and said he would find a local meeting and let me know the details.
I did the right in offering to attend with him so he wouldn't be "alone," right? From what I understand, even though I don't personally struggle with addiction, I am "allowed" to attend meetings with him. Am I correct?
Also, can someone give me a general idea of what to expect when we go? I think it would make him a little less anxious if he knew what to expect going in.
Thanks for any answers or advice anyone is willing to give. I hope nothing in this post came off in any way offensive or ignorant.
I would go online to the local AA website to see if a meeting is "open". Open means that any non-alcoholic can attend as an observer. "Closed" meetings indicate the meeting is only for alcoholics.
What you can expect (based on my experience here in Anchorage) is at the beginning of meeting the chair may ask if there is anyone in their first 30 days of sobriety or their 1st, 2nd or 3rd AA meeting. Your BF doesn't have to say anything whatsoever. The chair may also ask if there are any non-alcoholics in attendance. Again, you don't have to say a thing. It's highly possible that you two go to the meeting and no one would know if you're "old", "new" or just observers.
Depending on how the meeting is conducted (every group can be different), it could be a speaker meeting where one person gets in front of everyone to tell their story. Or it might be a Big Book study. Or an open meeting discussion where the chair will call on someone or they may open up the floor to anyone who wishes to share. IF you or your BF are called on to speak, there is no expectation that you MUST speak. Just politely decline, and the chair will go on to the next person.
If it's an open discussion meeting, people will share their experience, strength and hope with those in attendance. Who knows, your BF may hear "his story" from someone else. Same with a speaker meeting: the person speaking will talk about what happened, what it was like, and what it's like now to be sober.
Keep in mind that AA is about alcoholism. It is not about drug addiction. Granted, many people are dual-addicts (alcohol and drugs), myself included, but it's important to keep their sharing to their experience with alcohol. Some groups, during the opening, may ask people to keep their sharing to alcoholism only, but it just depends. Also, please be assured that talking about drugs is NOT against any AA rules. lol
If your BF doesn't like that meeting because of what's said or if he's uncomfortable with the ambiance of the meeting, it's highly likely that there are a MYRIAD of AA meetings available in your area. Encourage him to try different meetings. Also, like I said before, the local AA probably has a meeting schedule online that will show newcomer meetings, young people meetings, "babysitting available" meetings, men only, women only, etc., etc.
I want to reiterate to you that you or your BF DO NOT have to speak during the meeting. It's perfectly acceptable to just back and listen. Nothing more. : )
What flex wrote is spot-on. A couple of things I would add are about AA meeting protocol.
At the beginning of the meeting, everyone introduces themselves as "Hi, I'm Claire and I'm an alcoholic." You can simply give your name "Hi, I'm Claire" or say "Hi, I'm Claire and I'm here to listen."
Also if the chairperson is calling on people to speak, just say "Hi, I'm Claire. I'm here to listen."
Although I'm not trying to write a script for you, having these responses in your pocket might make speaking up less intimidating. You don't have to say anything, if you just want to listen and learn. Some people really aren't ready to self-identify as an alcoholic. By the time I got to AA, I KNEW I was an alcoholic, but not everyone is certain.
Flexie's idea of attending an open meeting is a perfect. Open meetings are for alcoholics and anyone interested in learning about alcoholism. We've had nursing students attend our meetings (yay!) just to learn about the AA program and alcoholism.
Glad you are here. Please feel free to ask any questions.
Post by lexxasaurus on Dec 8, 2015 16:09:12 GMT -5
@courtneyloves gave a good suggestion. I've also heard a few people reply with something like "Hi, I'm Claire and I'm here supporting ___" (who you are normally sitting right next to).
Going to those meetings can be intimidating and scary and I think it's great that you offered to attend. It means a lot to have the support there.
To branch on what Flex said about all the different meetings, on the site for my local meetings they all have letters by them and a key at the bottom. These letters have meanings ranging from Open, Closed, Men Only, Speaker, Big Book, etc. That gives you a good idea of what you're walking into.
Hello everyone. Not sure if anyone cares for an update, but thought I'd post just in case.
Bf decided that AA was just "not for him." He stepped back, fell back into old habits a couple times, but is celebrating 40 days sober today. I've very proud of him and hope with all my heart it sticks this time.