Are you wondering whether your drinking or drug use is getting out of control? Would you like the support of like-minded men and women who’ve “been there”? Perhaps the court has ordered you to attend meetings? Where to your find these unpublished sobriety meetings? It’s not difficult.
What to Expect at your first AA Meeting:
Going to your first AA meeting can be a little scary, but it shouldn’t be. Although each meeting has its own vibe, virtually all are peopled with men and women who will welcome you and encourage you on your journey towards sobriety.
AA meetings are divided into two categories—meetings with a speaker and discussion group meetings. The meetings with a speaker (also called “lead” meetings) are generally open to anyone who wishes to attend. Discussion groups, due to the personal nature of the topics raised, are generally limited to addicts, alcoholics or those who suspect they may have a drug or drinking problem.
AA meetings follow a somewhat standard meeting format. They begin with a reading of the 12 steps and 12 principles of AA. Next, the chairman talks about any new business for the group and recognizes individuals who have achieved benchmark sobriety dates. New attendees are invited to introduce themselves and are welcomed. The speaker or discussion topic is then introduced. This is the bulk of the meeting. Comments and/or questions follow the speaker’s story and the meeting closes with the Serenity Prayer.
Defining the AA Lingo:
Those unfamiliar with Alcoholics Anonymous will likely hear some terms they don’t recognize at their first few AA meetings. Below are just a few terms common to AA meetings:
- Closed group – A group limited to alcoholics, addicts and those who think they may have a drinking or drug use problem. This doesn’t mean the meeting is closed to new members.
- Lead – The featured speaker, usually a sober addict or alcoholic who shares his or her story of recovery
- 12 Steps – The 12 suggested steps by AA to help alcoholics/addicts and their families forge a new substance-free life.
- Sponsor – An experienced AA participant to act as a guide and mentor to newer AA members
Finding an AA Meeting in NE Ohio:
No matter where you like in northeast Ohio, there’s at least one meeting near you every night and most days. Many are held in church halls. To find a meeting near you, use the following links: (Keep in mind that due to the anonymous nature of AA, updating the information is left to the chairmen and women of the individual meetings.)
- Cleveland Area AA Meetings (There seems to be a problem with the Cleveland meeting site; until this is resolved, you can call 216 241-7387 to find a meeting near you.)
- Ashtabula County AA Meetings
- Akron and Summit County AA Meetings
- Mansfield Area AA Meetings
- AA meetings in other parts of the United States
Alcoholics Anonymous and its Northeast Ohio Roots:
AA was born right here in Northeast Ohio, with a fateful 1935 meeting between Bill W. and Dr. Bob in the gatehouse of Stan Hywet Hall in Akron. The concept outlined by the two AA founders that day has grown to an organization that touches all 50 US states and more than 150 countries worldwide. You can tour the gatehouse at Stan Hywet as well as the house nearby where Dr. Bob lived. Stan Hywet has an admission fee; visiting Dr. Bob's house is free.
Don't Forget about NA and CA Meetings:
A number of similar, 12-step organizations have stemmed from AA. Among these are Narcotics Anonymous and Cocaine Anonymous. Follow the links follow to find these meetings:
Other Useful Links:
About.com has a wealth of additional information to help you learn about AA, overcoming addition, the 12-steps and staying sober. Two entire sites—Alcoholism at About.com and Addiction at About.com—deal with these issues. In addition, you might find the following links of use: • Cleveland Area Recovery Centers