Free Essay

Aa Meeting

In: Science

Submitted By raysterling
Words 1571
Pages 7
Meeting at a church on a Friday night is not usual for most college students, but it is for the members of an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) women's group in my hometown. A square room with windows, two couches, and an odd assortment of chairs, the space is the home for a vast array of women who meet weekly to discuss their addiction journey, as well as to both provide and receive support for their decision to remain sober.

My experience at the AA meeting began with a mix-up, not to be confused with a mixer. A classmate and I spoke first with the woman who was opening the door and greeting members as they arrived. I asked her if she was the group facilitator and she explained that she was just the attendant. I later discovered that the group was autonomous and had no true leader. I explained that we were students and she let us know that it was a closed group. While apologizing for the misinformed website and letting her know we'd try elsewhere, the attendant stopped me and said that they could ask the group if we could observe. She explained that as long as no one objected, we could stay.

The meeting opened with the leader for that week explaining that students were here, and asking for discussion. This was the first glimpse into the leadership and decision-making of the group. Collective leadership ran the decisions, with every member playing an equal part in voicing their opinion. While one member was chosen each week to facilitate, decisions were unanimous or majority-based depending on the topic. For this question, the decision had to be unanimous. The leader explained that if anyone objected, we would leave. It felt awkward as an outsider, but I imagine that for the group, the process felt good due to the inclusion of all members in the decision-making. The method was honest and open, with a few members expressing their opinion. As no one objected outright, we were allowed to stay and observe after introducing ourselves.

There were several supportive roles during the meeting in addition to the leader, which also appeared to rotate on a weekly basis. AA is based upon a number of tenets, including twelve steps and twelve traditions. The steps include the idea that AA founders "made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves" and "when we were wrong promptly admitted it," amongst ideas of meditation, making amends, and seeking support through a higher power (Alcoholics Anonymous, 2007, pp. 60-61). The use of "we" in these statements helped to add to the feelings of group cohesiveness. The traditions state that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking, that AA is focused solely on promoting sobriety within an autonomous group, and that anonymity is of upmost importance (Alcoholics Anonymous, 2007). Members read aloud these steps and traditions, as well as an anonymity pledge. Their roles included the orienteer and coordinator by defining the purpose and goals of the group (Mohr, 2009). Meanwhile, the leader acted as the gatekeeper by guiding the members between different parts of the group and opening the floor for discussion (Mohr, 2009). Other members in the room played the role of followers by acknowledging the speakers and reciting certain parts of the meeting from memory, as well as participating in group customs (Mohr, 2009).

The AA meeting we attended was a speaker week, which meant that the majority of the time was spent listening to a particular member give a testimony of her journey with alcohol. According to Borg, James-Andrews, van Wormer, Wheeler, and Yeres, "a critical factor in the success of 12-step programs is the opportunity to share experiences with others who have suffered similar problems" (2010, p. 6). The speaker recounted her story with addiction which began as a teen and led her across several states and various relationships. The group processed the story in a positive way. I noticed several times when members laughed, smiled, and made brief supporting comments while she spoke. Rather than judge the events of her life, the group members seemed to connect in a personal way, relating her story to their own. The idea behind having a speaker relates to the concept of catharsis, which Mohr states "is the expression of feelings, especially those involving deep emotions" (2009, p. 254) Later, a member shared with me that "this is the kind of place where you can talk about things, and everyone just laughs...no judgment but support." This woman explained that she had stayed home from a Christmas party last year in order to come to the AA meeting. She had worried about how those who did attend the party would react to her absence. However, she added, she soon discovered that no one made a big deal of her absence, and attending the meeting instead of the party meant staying away from alcohol. Being able to talk about her emotions and experiences, receiving support, and the lack of judgment was a large part of her decision to keep coming to meetings.

In addition to the readings and the speaker, there was an achievement portion of the meeting. One member received a chip for eight months of sobriety, while another announced her year anniversary without alcohol and was met with a cake. The system for rewards kept members feeling connected to the group, with senior members acting as mentors called "sponsors" who guided their newer counterparts toward these goals. Opening its arms to alcoholics in all stages of change helps keep the program one of voluntary choice rather than force. This illustrates a therapeutic component of the AA meetings described as an existential factor (Mohr, 2009).

One observation I made amongst the members was the demographics. Most of the women appeared to be middle-aged, with the youngest-looking woman stating that she was 28 years old. Those who embraced me and were willing to talk after the meeting concluded were mostly younger. Borg, et al. states reasoning behind the older demographic:
The most obvious reason may be its focus on adults. As mentioned above, adolescents do not display the level of addiction severity, or the long history of substance use, that adults may have accumulated. The presenters and participants attending AA/NA meetings are generally much older (the average participant is a 46-year-old Caucasian male) and discuss issues that youth simply do not relate to (such as child custody, divorce, and financial problems) (2010, p. 5).
I noticed that these issues were common themes in the story of the speaker; problems related to long-term relationships, career troubles, and business dilemmas, topics that many adolescents would have not yet encountered, were discussed in detail during her testimony. While the older women seemed attentive, with good eye contact and focus, some of the younger women seemed distracted and more apt to whisper to themselves at intervals. In addition, one of the younger women discussed graduating from college and having a new baby, experiences that are typical for a woman in her late twenties, and seemed excited by the idea that I had been a nursing student at the hospital where she'd delivered. I believe these observations support the idea that relation of life experiences is so critical to the group experience. Group members at different age levels or life stages may have more trouble connecting, which is why bridging the gaps between members is an important aspect to facilitating satisfaction and retention.

Years later, I look back on the meeting with fond memories. It changed the way I looked at addiction. It was no longer an evil faceless demon, or an episode of Cops. These were women who rotated between pouring their souls on the carpet and lifting up those of other members. They were mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, daughters, and friends. Some were professionals, some were students, and some were unemployed. Despite their differences, they united in their common goal for a better life. Even for my experience being at a closed meeting, and technically closed to outsiders, we were greeted warmly and treated as part of the group. I was touched when we stood, held hands, and recited the Lord's Prayer because the women on either side of me squeezed my hands. I think it's essential to have support when you're struggling with addiction, as with any lifestyle change. AA is a prime example of how groups support sobriety in individuals if they are willing to follow a program and commit to changing their habits.

And it doesn't hurt that sometimes after the meeting, everyone has a piece of cake.

References

Alcoholics Anonymous. (2007). The twelve steps of alcoholics anonymous. Young people and A.A (pp. 60-61). New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Alcoholics Anonymous. (2007). The twelve traditions of alcoholics anonymous. Young people and A.A (pp. 62-63). New York, NY: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.

Borg, M.L., James-Andrews, S., van Wormer, J., Wheeler, G., Yeres, S.A. (2010). Using "sober support" groups in your juvenile court. Technical Assistance Bulletin. National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Retrieved from http://www.ncjfcj.org/images/stories/dept/jfl/sobersupport.pdf

Mohr, W. (2009). Groups and group interventions. Psychiatric-mental health nursing: evidenced-based concepts, skills, and practices (pp. 241-260). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Aa Meeting Reflection

...I attended an open AA meeting that was named Traditional Group. I would put off this assignment because I was nervous going alone. I did not know what to expect because I had never attended an AA meeting before. I was afraid I was going to be picked on to speak or that I would have to announce that I was a non-AA member. I did not know whether to expect a big group of people or a small group. I was afraid that others would notice that I was new. I finally got the courage to attend the closest group to my home on a Saturday morning. I was amazed at how large the group I attended was. I walked in and there were already a lot of people sitting down, but I was able to find a seat. They began the meeting with people reminding the group of the 12 steps and the 12 traditions. I noticed a familiar face in the group and I realized that one of my coworkers from my internship was sitting across from me at a distance. At first I thought that...

Words: 1072 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Aa Meeting Reflection

...Today is Friday September the 18th and I’m attending my third AA meeting. I have to admit I really have been looking forward to coming to these meetings. When I read the syllabus and realized I had to attend group meetings, I was concerned and fearful that this was going to be difficult for me to complete due to my work schedule and other obligations. After attending my second meeting, I was so excited and picked up the phone and called my daughter and told her how much I learned about human behavior and how life events affects people so differently. Today’s meeting was led by a female, she started the meeting in Rebo’s tradition. I knew the meeting was going to be different from my other two, because throughout the room there was books...

Words: 400 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Aa Meetings

...I attended an open AA meeting. The meeting was located not far from my house in St. Barnabas Church. When I was heading to the meeting I was a bit apprehensive, hoping I didn't get singled out to speak. When I reached I was happy because there was so much people I knew that everyone speaking was not the case. The meeting to my surprise was great. There was three different speakers. Each one touched on their own alcohol abuse and how they started and how they maintain sobriety. One major thing I noticed was that they all said coming to the meeting was their main thing in staying sober. Some of them went to three meetings a day on their weekends. One lady who spoke was actually a nurse. She discussed how she would go into work drunk, but was a “functioning” alcoholic. I found this to be amazing while caring for peoples lives you were actually putting them in more danger. Another speaker discussed how he grew up in Puerto Rico, and came from a family of drinkers. He started drinking at about the age of 6. For him when he started getting into trouble due to his drinking like DUIs he didn't understand because growing up this was his culture and his way of life. I liked that the meeting was non judgmental and although I was actually the only African American in a group of about 50 I didn't feel out of place. Everyone was very welcoming. I learned a few things. For one your culture has a lot to do with how people perceive things in their life. And secondly, not to judge. So many people...

Words: 307 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay

Aa Meeting Reflection

...I attended my first AA meeting as a nursing student. Though, working in psychiatric unit I have attended many groups on addiction, and watched movies, I still was excited to attend this meeting. It was not at all a surprise to see well dressed and groomed attendants. However, the majority of the attendants were elderlies. This might be because of the time of the meeting; it was Wednesday at 11am and this is more convenient time for retired elderly population in the community. I introduced myself to the organizers and they were very supportive; and it was even more pleasing to see members who are very sociably interacting to each other and newcomers which, indeed is a very great tool to support each other. The meeting is well structured. Prior to what is scheduled for the day, the team leader introduces new comers, and share new events. The lady who was leading the meeting introduced herself and appoints different members to read the criteria of membership or attending the group, the purpose of the meeting, and outcome or goal expected from the meeting. This sounds more like nursing care plan to me. Different members also share their insightful experience with the group. This AA meeting incorporates spiritual guidance in getting sober...

Words: 631 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Reflection On Aa Meeting

...On Sunday May 30th, I attended an AA meeting in Baltimore, MD. At the beginning, Rabbi Trencher and I were suppose to attend a NA meeting for youth, but they cancelled that one; so we went on an adventure. After being locked out of another meeting, we drove around riot tattered Baltimore City and ended up in the basement of a church in Fells Point. As soon as we enter the meeting, I felt the warmth and homeliness of the group. The welcoming committee made sure that we felt at home, that way we would continue coming. When the meeting commenced, people already started to fall asleep, play on their phones, etc. It seemed to be runned by all addicts, I feel that Rabbi Trencher and I were the only ones who weren’t addicts. The reader started by giving some housekeeping notes and one thing that caught my attention is when they said to have your slips signed go to Alex. It felt...

Words: 866 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Aa Meeting Paper

...Case Study Project Phylicia Rowe HUS 1001/SECTION 65 Professor Dr. McNeely Word Count: 728               When Scott came into my office I had a brief bio on what he was going through, by listening and observing I could see that Scott was physically and mentally being abused by his parents, and emotionally detached and lack of control over his anger due to his childhood. Scott diagnoses was bipolar depression and his condition is workable but it will take time and constancies. Scott’s faces lack of feelings and is emotional detached with his wife. The issue that Scott has is being verbally and physically violence to get his point a crossed and be known, and the reason he is that way is because of how he was raised and how his parents treated him. The goal here is to help Scott find positive reinforcement in getting his point across and not build things up inside The third issue that Scott has is that he has no relationship with his family, and his goal that we had agreed on was going to support center therapy that could help guide him in ways on how to slowly get a relationship with his family..  Next, as me and Scott was continue to talk, I had brought up some resources that help men who batter their spouses. I could see the look on Scotts face as if he wanted to change but didn’t want to lose control and he mentioned that he liked his method of getting what he wanted. I approached him in another direction and asked him “do you want to see your children...

Words: 733 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

A Narrative About An Aa Meeting

...Yesterday I attended my first ever AA meeting and it kind of blew me away. I’ll be honest, I was extremely nervous in preparation for this meeting. I was afraid I was going to be seen as an intruder, that people would know right away I was not one of them. I was apprehensive about who I might see there, wondered if it was safe to go alone. But from the moment I walked into the building, I had my preconceived notions tossed out the door. Right away I was struck by two things, the age gaps between members, and ratio of men and women. In my head I figured it would be mostly older men. I was wrong. There were people ranging from probably late 70’s to a few who didn’t even look old enough to drink. And the mix of men and women astounded me. I’d say the ratio was just about 50/50. But what probably threw me for the biggest loop was the differences in appearance. Again, my ignorance had led me to believe that the average alcoholic was an older man with tattoos and a...

Words: 693 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Reflection On The AA Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting

...I at attended the AA Alcoholics Anonymous meeting at the AdCare hospital on Lincoln Street on Tuesday March 8, 2016 from 6:30 to 7:30PM. As the meeting began everyone introduced themselves by their first name and told whether or not they were alcoholics or not. As everyone told their names the rest of the people welcomed them by their first name. At first I was really afraid to go to the meeting alone so I emailed my class fellows to see if someone wanted to go with me or not. I had never attended an AA meeting before so I did not know what it would be like. But when I went to the meeting and sat through it I slowly started to feel comfortable. I think one important role everyone played was that they were listing to other people’s conversations and replying...

Words: 510 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Reflection Paper On Open Aa Meeting

...Before arriving at the Open AA meeting that I was attending at the Alano Club in Agawam, MA I wasn’t sure how to feel or what to think. I wasn’t sure if the other people attending the meeting were going to be ok with me being there since I wasn’t an alcoholic. I thought that they would think I was going to judge them because of their current situations and or problems since I was not dealing with the same ones. When I entered the meeting there were two large tables with people sitting around them. The people attending the meeting noticed that I was a newcomer and introduced themselves. Everyone was so open and welcoming it made me want to go back again just because of how nice they were. I had told them that I was a student attending the open meeting for a class assignment so the chairperson gave me a pamphlet with his number on it just in case I needed to call for any questions....

Words: 809 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Examining How Various Motivational Strategies Affect Productivity in a Selected Workplace

...Setting The alcohol anonymous meeting I attended took place at East Bay in warren at a club house between 5:15 pm and 5:45pm and I will refer to the meeting as “The gathering of morals”. The room is big enough to accommodate the members and from what I learnt nothing else happens there apart from the meetings. Signs are put in the walls which are basically the announcements, 12 steps, and 12 traditions and slogans. There was a lot of coffee indeed and people freely filled there cups. There are members as young as 16 years old and older individuals making the median age to be around 45 to 55 of years. There were individuals of different social class: those who seem to be living in the street and those who seem much confortable financially. There was no much big amount in racial diversity. Meeting occurrence AA meeting started on time with the chairperson “Mr. Milton” calling the meeting to order. Other conversation stopped and people took their sits. It then followed a moment of silence before one of the members offered to pray then there after members recited the Serenity Prayer. The chairperson then asked if there was any person attending the meeting for the first time and their reasons for attendance. The aim of doing so was to welcome any guests or visitors. What I observed and shocked was "The gathering of morals” meeting room is not a church in but in many ways, it imitates the church among the Christians faithful space that would be familiar to any Catholic church...

Words: 790 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Why I Pay It Forward

...spiritual life through work and self-sacrifice for others, I could not survive the certain trials and low spots ahead. If I do not work, I would surely drink again, and if I drank, I would surely die. With me it is just like that. I for one would not be here today had one man at my first meeting appointed himself to be my sponsor, and herein lies what I believe to be the miracle of AA. He was just over 5 years sober at the time and was experiencing difficulty, he shared this with another member and was told to get a newcomer and work with him. He asked where am I going to get a newcomer all the rest of you seem to grab them. He was told to pray for a wet alcoholic to work with, at this point in his life he was not too heavily into prayer but he had no better ideas so he did what was suggested and he shares this as part of his story now,” Billy fell into our meeting”. He surmises that the group had not seen a worse example at that time and they were quite happy for him to have me because none of them thought I had much of a chance. Man did he persevere with me. I was not honest and was drinking between meetings for a while but he kept turning up and taking me to meetings that I didn't...

Words: 685 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Customer Care

...Dear Manager Two weeks ago I purchased a 50inches Sharpe LCD Television. The TV was delivered two days later and your technician setup the system for me. Upon assembly we realized that the remote did not have any batteries. Though I was concern that I was not able to check if the remote was active the technicians were able to able to assure me that all it needed was the batteries and everything would be O.K. Two days later I purchased a set of AA batteries and tested the remote, to my dismay the remote did not work. Upon close examination I realized that the remote was branded Harpe and not Sharpe. I visited the store a week later to return to return the remote. The CRS asked me why I didn't the case earlier, I explained to her I was unable to visit any sooner but I called several times and got a busy tone each time. Without any further question she told me to have a seat. After waiting for approximately two hours she returned and told me that it will take at least five working days for them to complete the investigation as to how I received the incorrect remote. She advised me that someone will call to update me on the progress. It has been seven days and I still have not received a call. Dissatisfied Pat. Respond to customer addressing the following 1. Digitec Ltd. Policies and Procedures that should have been observed. 2. What actions the organization will be taken to appease her experience. 3. What steps will be taken to ensure that the situation does...

Words: 298 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

How to Create a Potato Battery Outline

...the experiment is getting the materials that are needed. 4 things are required for this experiment. A. Material 1- Potatoes- You will need 2 potatoes. B. Material 2- Nails- You will need 2 copper nails and 2 galvanized nails. C. Material 3- Wiring- You need 3 different copper jumper wires. 1. 3 different copper wires with alligator clamps. D. Material 4- Clock- A LED single battery clock is required. 1. Either a single AA battery or single AAA battery clock. II. Putting the materials to use – The second step is to use all the materials to make the appropriate connections for the experiment to work. A. Potatoes- You will need two fairly sized brown potatoes. 1. Call one potato A 2. Call one potato B B. Nails- Each of the four nails will be placed in both of the potatoes. 1. Place one copper nail in one side of each potato. 2. Place one galvanized nail in each potato on the opposite side insuring the nails do not touch. C. Clock- The clock must be an LED that requires little power to operate and uses only one AA or AAA battery. 1. Make sure that no battery is in the clock, if there is then remove it D. Wiring- Each of the three wires are important for the electrical connection. 1. Connect the first jumper wire from the...

Words: 504 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Contract and Subcontract Management

...Contract/Subcontract Management User Guide Copyright © 1999. All Rights Reserved. TOC TABLE OF CONTENTS * 1 INTRODUCTION Purpose Scope Related Manuals 2 RESPONSIBILITIES Assignment of Tasks 3 INITIAL TASKS Pre-Award Activities Pre-Construction Meeting Filing System Correspondence and Correspondence Control Insurance and Bonds Schedule Submittals 4 PERFORMANCE Changes Commitment Approvals Schedule Requests for Information (RFI'S) Technical Transmittals Claims Backcharges 5 MONITORING/REPORTING Daily Report Progress Review and Coordination Meetings Progress Measurement and Payment Quality Surveillance Safety and Health Environmental 6 TABLE OF CONTENTS CLOSEOUT Page i of v CONTRACT/SUBCONTRACT MANAGEMENT MANUAL 6.1 6.2 Beneficial Occupancy 6.3 Substantial Completion 6.4 Punch List 6.5 7 Contract Closeout Warranty SPECIAL TOPICS 7.1 Contract Law 7.2 Basis for Claims 7.3 Negotiation 7.4 Interface Coordination 7.5 Labor and Industrial Relations 7.6 Force Accounts 7.7 Liquidated Damages 7.8 Delays and Extension of Time 7.9 Acceleration 7.10 Suspension of Work 7.11 Differing Site Conditions 7.12 Terminations 7.13 Project Environmental Controls INDEX FORMS TABLE OF CONTENTS Page ii of v CONTRACT/SUBCONTRACT MANAGEMENT MANUAL Introduction TABLE OF CONTENTS 1.1 Purpose.................

Words: 60698 - Pages: 243

Free Essay

Group Development

...have addressed the problem so that the entire team could approach and move to the Norming Stage smoothly and harmoniously together as a team. Instead, they left Mike behind and moved on without his presence. The team at week five is now ready to present their case and is now in the Performing Stage. Mike only has some rough handwritten notes. Knowledge of the Team Development Stages should have helped Christine fix problems during the Storming Stage before moving on to the next stage clean and fresh. Part II: Problem Identification The primary problem is Mike, the secondary problem is Christine. During the first group meeting, Mike showed resistance to get together before class. Then as time went on Mike missed most of the meetings. But Mike left brief notes to Christine, which she was supposed to discuss for him at the meetings. In week three there was a cafeteria incident where Mike walked away with drama. Then on week four, Mike confides to Christine that aside from the job, the coursework, he now has girlfriend problems. On week five, Mike could not...

Words: 1037 - Pages: 5