Your First Meeting

Deciding to attend your first meeting is a brave step forward whether you decide if 12-step groups are right for you, or not. Here are some tips some have shared about what to know about attending your first meeting:

  1. Newcomers are welcome at almost every meeting but your best bet is to attend one marked “Open” or “Beginners.” Attendees at these meetings are particularly welcoming of newcomers and many have special formats that help you understand how each “fellowship” works.
  2. Try to arrive 10 to 15 minutes before the start of the meeting. This will help you meet some of the members and get a sense for the personality of each particular group.
  3. When the meeting starts, know you can share as little or as much as you would like.  There are no expectations for you to raise your hand, share your name, or talk about your experience in your first meeting.
  4. Look for similarities, not differences. Everyone’s story is unique but it’s in how you can identify with what is shared that you can discover if recovery is right for you.
  5. At some point during the meeting, the group will pass the basket for donations. You do not have to contribute. If you want to, the normal contribution is $1 or $2.
  6. Many groups have chips or tokens to people that have been sober for a particular length of time. They also may give a special newcomer or “first timer” chip or token to anyone who wants to try sobriety for just one day. Again, there are no expectations.  If you feel comfortable, go ahead and take one.
  7. If you’re interested in learning more, talk to the meeting chairperson after the meeting. They can offer you a schedule of meetings, provide you with helpful literature and answer any questions you might have.

A full list of meetings at The Galano Club can be found here.

Adapted from and