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Alcoholics Anonymous: 5 Useful Tips for First-Time Attendees

by Melissa Bell
4 minutes read

There comes a point in an alcoholic’s life when the struggle and pain of substance abuse is no longer bearable. They may have been cut off from their family and friends, their work or livelihood may have been adversely affected, and their health may have already deteriorated immensely. This state is what is usually called “rock bottom.” The unfortunate truth is that sometimes, it has to take this level of desolation to snap a person back into reality and make them decide to finally seek professional help.

For decades, organizations such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) have been around to provide the necessary help and guidance for individuals suffering from alcohol abuse. AA, in particular, was founded on the premise that an external support group is necessary in order for an individual to attain their personal goals by bringing them back to sobriety. In many ways, this technique has been proven effective by the countless people who have been through the program and who have been able to turn their back on their destructive lifestyles.


While outside support is definitely important for a person seeking self-improvement, the key is internal transformation as well. Discipline and determination are equally vital in ensuring that long-lasting change is attained by an individual who wishes to break away from substance abuse. The good thing about groups like Alcoholics Anonymous is that they also use tools and techniques that guide members toward self-empowerment as well. This enhances the external support that is being provided to individuals. It is this interplay between self and others that many alcoholics find effective in organizations such as AA.

If you or any person you know are considering seeking treatment for alcohol abuse, be sure to check out your local area to find a suitable rehab facility and AA office near you. AA groups are found all across the country in order to be close to where people experiencing alcohol use disorder may be located. It is just as easy to find AA meetings in Clarksville, Tennessee, as it may be in any big city in the United States. It is important to seek an AA group close to you because physical distance might deter you from continuing with the treatment and attaining full recovery.

Once you have found the right AA group for you, don’t get anxious over attending your first meeting. Here are a few helpful tips on how to get you started on your journey to recovery:

Be Punctual

This is a very basic indication of how successful you will be with your goal to stop your substance abuse. Have a good sleep the night before so you are relaxed and well-prepared. Having the self-control and enthusiasm to show up on time is important. It also communicates to your mentors that you are serious toward achieving your objective of turning your life around.

Keep an Open Mind

Perhaps one of the most important things to do before stepping into an AA meeting for the very first time is not to have any preconceived notions about others and yourself as well. You have come this far to seek help, so make sure you take small but sure steps toward complete healing. This can only happen if you don’t resist the help that is being offered to you no matter how unconventional or unexpected it may be.

Make Friends

It is vital that you establish personal connections with others as immediately as possible. While you shouldn’t force yourself to socialize if you don’t feel like it, just be aware that your companions are in need of emotional support just as much as you are, and there is perhaps no one who understands their state in life better than a fellow alcoholic like you would. This is a good way to put your personal pain and experiences to good use in helping others.

Don’t Hesitate to Speak Up and Share

On that note, don’t be ashamed to be honest and forthcoming about yourself. AA meetings are a safe place where you can be yourself and you can release any tension, shame or negative emotion that is connected to your substance abuse. At the same time, be respectful of others and listen intently to what they have to say about their own experiences because you will surely be able to learn from them.

Don’t Pity Yourself

As you find yourself amid a group of individuals who seem to share the same difficulties and struggles, it may be easy for you to be scared or to fall into despair. Make sure to address this, and don’t wallow in self-pity. Instead, look at the situation as an opportunity to identify areas of improvement in your life and to work on them intently.

Stepping through that door and sitting down in front of other people to share your story about alcohol abuse is a daunting prospect indeed, but once you are able to get through it, you will know it is an achievement that you should definitely be proud of.

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