Effective Tips on Working in the Online AA Meeting Rooms
There is no right way or wrong way to participate in AA meetings, but as you rack up attendance in different meetings, you will become aware of ways to best utilize in the online AA meetings. Here are a few tips on working the room to maximize your benefits and those of the other participants in your online AA meetings.
Be courteous and respectful
No matter what is said in the room – and sometimes there are heated discussions, or things can get very emotional – always be courteous and respectful of others. You may not particularly like a speaker, for whatever reason, but you can always learn something valuable – if you listen to the message.
It goes without saying that what’s said in the 12-step rooms is confidential. It’s also anonymous, which should give you a great deal of comfort that what you say won’t get out to society at large. Still, these are groups of individuals, and the temptation to gossip isn’t something that AA members are immune to. To uphold the principles and philosophy of your AA groups, always strive to keep the confidence. Just as you want your heartfelt and personal comments kept within the group, so, too, should you keep whatever you hear in the room to yourself.
Don’t be critical
Just because you don’t like something, another member has to say or feel that they’re going about their recovery all wrong, keep your criticism to yourself. The whole purpose of being in these rooms is to be supportive of your own and others’ efforts in recovery. This means that you don’t criticize the choices someone else makes. You may, however, offer words of encouragement and support. That’s what most in recovery need, especially newcomers. They don’t have the answers.
That’s why they’re coming to meetings.
Don’t feel you have to share right away
When you first start going to AA meetings, don’t feel you have to spill your guts out right away. It takes time to feel comfortable enough to want to say anything more than your first name. You’re there to listen and absorb, to get a handle on how all this works and whether or not the particular meeting feels right to you. At a certain point, when you do feel like you fit in, you may wish to talk a bit about your story. No one will ever force you to do so. So, don’t worry about when the time will be right. You’ll know when it is.
Find gender-specific or special online AA group meetings
You don’t have to feel intimidated by going to a mostly male AA meeting or one that has men and women that aren’t in your age group. The good news about online AA meetings is that there are sections of many chapters that have been created to specifically address the needs of particular groups. There are women-only meetings, meetings for gay and lesbian individuals, meetings for young people, and those for senior citizens. To find such meetings, look at the websites of the AA groups and check out what may be available.