One of the challenges many people struggle with is alcoholism and misuse of substances of abuse.

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AA Meetings for Alcoholics and Families

One of the challenges many people struggle with is alcoholism and misuse of substances of abuse. The struggles such people go through make it mandatory for organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous to exist to deal with people facing problems stopping to abuse alcohol. There are different kinds of alcoholism meetings that can be found everywhere ranging from families for alcoholics to meetings for families of the alcoholic to closed meetings to open meetings. Individuals affected by alcoholism in one way or the other are free to choose which meeting or organization meets their needs the best. This paper will analyze two kinds of meetings, which include the meetings for alcoholics and the meetings for the family members of the alcoholic. The paper will highlight what happens in both these meetings and identify a number of the discrepancies between the two meetings.

The first meeting I went to was a closed meeting for alcoholics only, which was being held at a community centre in Brooklyn. The name of the group was Alcoholics Anonymous Band it consisted of a number of members. It was on a Tuesday day time and I was taken aback at the quantity because I did not expect so many people would attend. It was my assumption that AA meetings are not usually well attended because of the stigma the society associates them with, so it was difficult for me not to be caught off guard by the number. I was a bit hesitant at attending the meeting because I was afraid of the reception I would get and the response of the people in attendance if they discovered that I was not a member.

All in all, I managed to attend this meeting despite my fears and reservations. Once I entered, a few people noticed my presence but they did not seem to mind it so I picked my way carefully to a nearby seat and sat down quietly. I was wondering what the leader of the group would say if he discovered that I had just come to listen to the proceedings so I was reasonably anxious and I was confident he noticed it. However, I was relieved when he turned to me with a friendly face and smiled at me then he welcomed me to the meeting saying that he hoped the meeting could be of help to me. The gesture relived by the gesture, and it was only then that I was able to look around more closely to the members of the meeting.

I discerned that there were roughly as many men as the women in the room and they all seemed comfortable. They did not show any anxiety at all and I soon found out why. The meeting was operating in a peculiar protocol. The leader had chosen the open meeting criteria and did not expect or force anyone to talk if they did not feel ready. As it follows, I guessed these members felt at home in the presence of each other because they all shared experiences they were familiar with. A member could speak of their experience without the need for the leader to force them. I felt like this was a friendly meeting were everyone was welcome whether they were ready to share their experiences or not. In addition to the twelve steps, I felt that this strategy could be extremely helpful for the alcoholics.

Meeting for Families and Friends

The next meeting I attended was in the same location but at a different time. This time the meeting was held for the families and friends of the alcoholic people, and it was held in the evening. I realized that this meeting had fewer members than the other meeting with more women in attendance than the men. They were also alert that a stranger had joined them when I entered and that shook me a little. There were not so friendly and smiling faces like those that I had seen in the other meeting. This got me to wonder whether this was the best way to admit and invite new members. To me, it was a little bit scary and unwelcoming. However, with a slight nod from the leader I located a bench and sat down to took note of the proceedings. I realized another difference at once. The meeting was open and the alcoholic people could join their parents and friends in the meeting to get help on how to cope. However, the leader was the one asking questions and directing them to specific people.

I was feeling a little frightened in this meeting. In the previous meeting, the leader had made an effort to make me welcome, and the friendly faces around me in the AA meeting were enough to put me at ease. However, in this meeting, I did not feel as welcome and I felt frightened and apprehensive.

I observed my surroundings and I could notice some tense people wondering when their turn to speak up would come. I was feeling the same tension too, as I was not feeling ready or prepared to introduce myself in this meeting. I was feeling discouraged to become a part of this group and I could feel a small voice telling me this was not the most helpful group. The tension I observed in the room, as a result, of the method of interaction used did not look so helpful to me when compared to the closed meeting with the alcoholics. This is because it made the surroundings and the environment unfriendly to share experiences, to pose issues and contribute to concerns with the other members of the group and the leaders. This is extremely detrimental especially when an organization is planning to start a group like this one. An environment that is welcoming, warm and friendly is essential for better outcomes. At the conclusion of the gathering, I was not feeling better at all and I felt that the members did not receive much help from this group. Meetings like these should be designed a way that reaches all individuals and that helps address the concerns of the members.

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