Newbie with questions about AA. Help!

I’ve been dipping my toes into AA lately. I’ve gone to 2 meetings in the last week and exchanged numbers with a couple of women. I really need my sobriety to stick this time. I know I should try fully committing but I’m having the following problems/questions:

  1. How the heck do I find the actual meetings??? I have an app that tells me the times and address but it’s usually just the name of a church. When I actually get there, I have no idea how to find the actual meeting. I’ve wandered around through day care and worship services and given up and left several times. Often I can’t even find someone I could potentially ask but also I would be mortified. Is there some secret code? Has anyone else had trouble with this? Do they not put signs on the door because that would ruin the anonymity? Agh!

  2. How discerning should I be about picking my sponsor? I was talking to someone after a meeting and she offered to sponsor me. She told me I’d have to call her every day and meet with her once a week. Problem is I didn’t like her that much. There was something Real Housewives of OC about her that rubbed me wrong. Should I like my sponsor? Should I shop around until I find someone I would actually enjoy spending time with? Or should I be grabbing every opportunity as it presents itself because my life depends on it?

  3. Not AA specific, but what are people’s experiences with Antabuse? Side effects? Is it difficult to get a prescription? I’m embarrassed to tell my doctor I’m an alcoholic. Will it change the way he treats me? Will they stop prescribing me pain meds if I need them?

Thanks in advance

  1. I just moved to a new city and it has been confusing for me to find meetings as well sometimes. The key is to arrive about 15 min early and there will usually be people smoking outside of the location and either you can ask if there is a meeting or they will ask you. I went up to a group one time asking if there was a meeting… and someone said “are you a friend of Bill W.?” And I was like huh?
    And he explained that it was code, because Bill W. was one of the co-founders of AA.

  2. I should practice what I preach because I am 3 months sober, and have yet to lock a sponsor down because I’m being particular. What I’m getting a lot is that it’s better and easier on you if you find a sponsor as soon as possible, but you should generally want to spend time with them. If you don’t like your sponsor you will be less likely to reach out to them in important moments. Go to as many meetings as possible. Listen to people share and see what resonates with you and you like and get numbers afterwards and network and follow through with them. You can always change sponsors whenever you’d like.

  3. No experience with Antabuse but have heard of it helping people I know.
    It’s extremely important for you to be honest with your doctor even about uncomfortable things so they can accurately treat you. They are not there to judge you they are there to help you maintain your health.
    If you don’t have a doctor you can be honest with, you should get a new doctor.
    I used to lie to my doctor when I was younger and I thought I might get in trouble but I’m completely honest now. How else am I going to feel better?
    I haven’t been back to the doctor since I’ve become sober and I’m excited/curious to see how things have improved health wise.

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I really appreciate your thorough response. Thank you. Congratulations on your 3 months. I hope we both connect with a good sponsor soon.
“Are you a friend of Bill W.?” Lol! There is a code!

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Find the basement of the church, they always put us drunks in the basement. See if your area has a clubhouse. Tons of meetings every day and they are easier to find

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Ask for a meeting local, paper guide from one of the meetings you did find. There is also a local hotline that can help. Looking for little signs like for a yard sale that has a triangle inside a circle with arrows indicating where the meeting can be found.

Lots of people don’t like their sponsor. Lots of people do. Some people get a sponsor fast and some people don’t. There are no rules about this. My 2 cents are that you get your hands on a Big Book and start reading it and to look up some speaker meetings on YouTube to get a better idea of the situation.

I have a good friend who is a Dr who was answering some questions for a different friend that had problems from slamming heroin into his hands and had nerve damage that was affecting his performance at work. He had he same problem you feel about talking to a Dr. She said if your Dr gives you greif that they are an shitty Dr and how and now you are free to shop for one that honors their vows. They likely will just want to help you. They know it isn’t fun to discuss. Alternativly, I have had good experiences goin to an urgent care and getting antidepressants. I never saw that Dr again but I am so thankful to her.

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I have not had trouble finding the meetins. At one it was at the back of the church by the parking lot. Another one they had a sign at the door directing people. Third they had a greeter at the front door of the church to point to the way for new people. I suppose in the 2 latter it’s a bit disconcerting that they aren’t exactly behaving anonymously but actually I preferred the direction over discretion.

As for sponsor…I’m at 6.5 months and still no sponsor. I can’t help you there. I have no numbers either. In the beginning I think I looked so scared they let me be. Now I think they all assume I have one. Doh. I messed that one up!! LOL

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The advice given so far on finding the meeting is as good as any I can give, so I’ll focus on question #2.

Trust your gut. Good sponsors don’t troll for sponsees. Anyone who walks right up to you after a meeting and offers sponsorship, typically, has some issues. They are collectors looking to grow their flock.

Avoid them.

Instead, go to as many meetings as you can. You’ll begin to have favorite ones.

Listen to the old timers there. You’ll begin to notice ones you identify with. An OLDtimer is someone with 15 years or more, who’s clearly removed their head from their ass…who shares well, and makes sense when they do.

They don’t ramble on for 10 minutes, just to preach their own gospel.

They don’t repeat the same damn story EVERY damn meeting, whether it has anything to do with the topic or not.

Most importantly, their every other word ISN’T a direct quote from the AA Big Book, but instead is a thoughtful reflection of their own experience.

Ask one of THEM if they would sponsor you.

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Thanks. There was a young women with 2 years who basically begged for sponsees when she shared. She said her friends have all these sponsees and she doesn’t understand why no one has asked her. She literally said, “I want people to want what I have.”

Now I don’t know anything about AA, but I would assume that people who are looking for sponsees for ego gratification are doing it for the wrong reasons.

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Have you tried a women’s meeting? In my very limited experience, I’ve found more people reach out after meetings and I feel less stand-offish when people do approach me. I’m sure it is never too late to find a sponsor.

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When the student is ready the teacher will appear. Keep hitting meetings and listening to the message. Your Higher Power will put a sponsor in front of you at the exact right time.

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Just highlighting this for those puzzled when looking for meetings. Some places are as clear as “AA this way!” Others I’ve been to use the more subtle triangle/circle symbol.

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I am a strong advocate of aa. Many people find they dont get anything from it, but I think that’s because they end up not getting a sponsor and working on the steps. It’s a three part process:steps, meetings, and connecting with other alcoholics.
My advice is keep going to meetings and push yourself to reach out to people. Start introducing yourself and you will meet some good people. Of course at the beginning of my sobriety it was scary and felt awkward to talk and meet people, but as time went on it got easier.
The meetings and aa steps are changing my life! I asked for a sponsor the first meeting I went to because I was just that desperate. You dont have to, but I think throwing yourself into the program is a good approach.
You’ll learn about more meetings and fun social events to go to as well.
The worst thing that can happen is that you are sober for a while and grow a little!

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As they say in the rooms

“When the seas get rough it’s harder to fall off the boat when you are sitting in the middle”

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To find the actual meeting, look for the smokers outside. Most meetings are in some sort of fellowship room or classroom in the church, typically in the basement or back part of the grounds. The only meetings I’ve been to that weren’t in a church were at a rehab or a recovery center or an AA clubhouse.

I agree, sponsors trolling should be avoided. I’ve always carried and used a sponsor, and it’s pretty much been based on liking what they share in meetings. I got my first sponsor at my second meeting (I was a desperate mess), but all the others were men who I could trust to do what they said - their sharing was a report of what worked for them.

I used Antabuse several times prior to actually getting sober, and as part of my last drying out. It gave me a feeling of comfort and confidence, because it was very easy to make the commitment to not drink early in the morning when I was taking the pill, rather than wrestling with conditions and justifications later in the day.

Ask all the questions you can think of! I really value people sharing their own experience and prompting them with questions is a great way to go.

Blessings on your house. :pray:

Hi there. Yes I did go to a women’s meeting once. Unfortunately I found there was a woman from my childhood there. Not that this was a huge issue since I know we’re all there for the same issues, I just worried that I’d never be able to open up in the same room. But I do keep thinking I should go back. There’s so few women at my local meetings.

I would say that I still get A LOT from meetings even though I’ve never formally started the steps. But I make sure I LISTEN to all the people who have done the steps. I can still learn. I think of it as prep work. :blush:

It took me a little more than a month to find a temporary sponsor. At first I wasn’t even looking. My philosophy was show up to enough meetings, show them you’re dedicated enough to your recovery to be a regular and then ask. After a meeting get together at a local Denny’s, someone pulled me aside and told me they liked what they saw and was willing to be my temporary sponsor. We both had a military background so we just clicked. Thou6he was like years younger than me, he put my nose to the grindstone. Had me get the NA how it works and the working guide. Had me call him daily and I had to attend a minimum of three meetings a week. Turns out I needed that fire under my butt and my recovery went into overdrive. Life happened and he didn’t stay my sponsor, but I still reach out to him. Sponsors should hold you accountable but not so difficult or hard on you that you don’t feel comfortable going to them.

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I’m so afraid of running into someone I know! I don’t even know what’s at the root of it. Probably shame. This was not a club I ever wanted to be a part of.

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I’ve been really impressed by how humble and genuine most people seem for the most part. I also like to think about the collective amount of pain it’s taken for everyone to end up in that room. I’m going to keep going

Baby, none of us got there on the up swing. I think most people are worried about running in to people. I have not found it to be nearly as embarrassing as running in to people I know in jail.

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