Yes. Overall my experience has been great. I've learned a lot about this disease and recovery.
The first meeting was a little scary. They all have their traditions and everyone says the serenity prayer and other things all together. If you don't know the words, don't sweat it, you'll get it. When I walked into the room for the first time last summer, i was judging everyone around me. people were too old, too young, too scruffy, too immaculate, too different from me. My disease told me I wasn't "one of them." Really it was just easier to make snap judgements about them than look in the mirror. Yeah we may be all different but weve all felt the emptiness, shame, and spiritual bankruptcy of addiction. And that's where the program starts. I thought everyone was going to be looking at me, the "new girl" when in reality no one was. They ask the newcomer to identify themselves and I did. People were very loving, encouraging, and sweet. You don't have to put on a front for these people. You can just be yourself and that's ok. No one is judging you!
Bottom line: The 12 steps have changed my life, and I'm still on number 1! Nerves are normal but I promise you, you won't regret going. And keep going back, even if you don't feel like it. Find some women in the program and work it!
One more nice thing about meetings, you can open up and share if you want to, but you can also just listen. There is no pressure to talk or act a certain way.
What on2better says is EXACTLY spot on. My exact experience from the initial feeling of judgement of everyone "Where are all the nice girls like me? Bunch of icky addicts" etc. But then w/ more meetings etc. not only do you find more people but also the wisdom coming out of the most unusual places. I did alanon for years before I began my addiction, so I already had the familiarity of 12 step. But, NA is exactly like the above poster says. Some folks choose AA. It's whatever you want.
Hi..I replied in the other post..Keep pushing forward..OK
Congratulations on your first meeting! I've been going for many years, but when I walked into my first meeting I felt i was finally home. I wasn't alone with my disease anymore. I was desperate and felt hopeless when I went, and when I drove home from that meeting I was filled with hope. My first meeting was AA. Alcohol was always my first drug of choice, but by then I had all the other drugs going also. So I always said "I'm a cross-addicted alcoholic". I now go to NA 90% of the time. The NA format considers alcohol as just another drug. (As far as I'm concerned, it's one of the most addictive and dangerous drugs out there.)
The mission is the same in both AA and NA. It can be summed up in the preamble reading that opens all AA meetings all over the world: "Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism." That's it in a nut shell. Both AA and NA programs are non-religious, but there is a spiritual side to the format. Nobody is in charge. All are equal. The only requirement is the desire to quit using. "We offer our experience only to those who want it, and you are a member if you say you are." is sometimes said. Pretty simple stuff.
Try to look for a positive "spirit of recovery" there; and then engage that spirit and cling to it. That spirit is what's going to save your life. Sure, if you get a bunch of people together anywhere you have a difference in age, backgrounds and thinking. But you'll find that certain spirit in everyone who is really serious about their recovery. Somehow it works through a power greater than all of us. (That power for newcomers can be the group itself.) I've found that certain spirit at every meeting I've ever attended, but I always need to be open minded enough to look for it. I can be in a bad mood when I show up, but that mood will be entirely gone by the time I leave. Another 24 hours clean...
I've attended meetings from Hawaii to the east coast, Seattle to N. Palm beach Fl. I have an away-from-home favorite meeting I like to go to on the remote Outer Banks of North Carolina, where I go windsurfing every year. They all know me and I get hugs and welcomed whenever I show up. "Robert's still alive!!" they say. It's my home away from home, and I love them all. I think it's unique and so wonderful to have "home" to go to everywhere you travel.