Attending a meeting to quit drinking is a wise thing to do. However, not everybody is comfortable sharing their life stories with strangers. And if you are an introvert, you may feel awkward sitting in a room full of strangers. The only thing common between you and them is alcoholism.
Speakers at an AA meeting in Wisconsin try to make everybody comfortable. Every person introduces himself or herself before the actual session starts for the day. Yet, for people who are shy by nature or are introverts, the mere introduction does not work in appeasing the butterflies in their stomach.
So how does an introvert participate in a meeting?
Firstly, you must know that AA meetings have no hard and fast rules. A typical meeting goes by the flow. Yes, there could be a ritual like saying a prayer or reading from the Big Book, but the rest of the session goes by how the atmosphere is created in the meeting.
So, worry not, if you find it difficult to mingle with strangers. You can still attend a meeting and come out with flying colors (read: become sober)
Speak only when you want to
No meeting forces anybody to speak or share their story. It is your choice. You can simply listen to others. Yes, you must introduce yourselves. Then, you can sit silently and hear what others have to say.
However, you must speak at an AA meeting someday. Once you become familiar with people in the meeting, you gain confidence. You become comfortable with the atmosphere. Then, you can speak.
Sharing your life’s stories is an option
When you speak in a meeting you need not share your life’s stories. You may find people sharing instances wherein they stumbled after being drunk or episodes of their blackout and others.
It’s not compulsory to share such stories. This is a choice. Instead of sharing stories, you can speak about your desire to quit drinking, how you learned about AA, how you searched for “AA meeting near me,” and likewise.
You can also reveal the number of drinks you take per day and the things you want to change in your life.
Remember, in a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, people talk only about alcoholism and related subjects. No other topic is allowed such as religion, politics, or others.
If you do not feel comfortable in a particular meeting despite attending it many times, you can stop attending. You may search for another meeting.
Remember, this is no class or course that you must enroll in and pay a fee. The meetings are simply gatherings wherein determined people with a purpose to become sober meet and help each other achieve their purposes.
Yes, you can ask questions in a meeting! You can also enquire about the 12 traditions of AA. Do not be in doubt. Clarify, discuss, ask, answer, and share. The more you do this, the more you feel confident. Your resolve to become sober strengthens.