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AA Meetings: Do I have to talk?

answered 09:01 PM EST, Wed January 18, 2012
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I think I want to try going to an AA meeting. I am definitely drinking way too much and if I look at myself honestly then I have to admit that I am an alcoholic. I am very shy. I don’t know if there is a word or condition that describes how I am but I will never willingly put myself into a room full of strangers where I might have to say something with everyone looking at me.

What I want to know is if I go to a meeting do I have to say anything or talk about myself. From the movies I’ve seen it looks like this is what people do. Can I just sit in the back and choose not to talk if I don’t want to. I f I don’t have to talk to anyone I might have the courage to go and try one out. If I have to get up and say something then there is just no way.

Melissa Borlie Says...

Melissa Borlie M. Borlie
MHR, LPC

Congratulations on your courage in taking the first step!!

The answer to your question is a definite no; you do not have to talk in AA meetings. You might want to start with some open meetings. These are meetings that have a pre-selected speaker and are held so people can "identify" with an alcoholic. Other than the group leaders, the speaker is usually the only person to speak about themselves at an open meeting.

Once you feel more comfortable with the process, you can attend "closed" meetings which are for alcoholics only or people who think they may have a problem. Some groups hold special meetings for beginners to explain how the process works. The main thing to remember is that no one in AA should attempt to force you to do anything. If they say you HAVE to talk, please look for another group.

I truly wish you the best in your search and on the journey you are beginning!!

***Disclaimer: Meetings I describe are located in Oklahoma. AA meetings are not the same in all areas.

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Page last updated Jan 20, 2012

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