What happens in a meeting? This is a question that concerns many newcomers.
When you enter the meeting room you can take a seat anywhere you like and wait until the meeting starts. The person who starts the meeting is called the chair. The chair will read an opening during which she asks if there are any newcomers to the meeting and if so, she asks you to identify yourself by your first name only. You don’t have to say anything else.
In the beginning and at the end of the meeting we will recite the serenity prayer. If you do not feel comfortable with the word “God”, you can choose a word that works for you (Creator, Higher Power, Goddess, etc.).
During the opening reading there will be a notebook sent around where you can put your first name and phone number if you want to. This is optional. Members also have the option to give a small donation (usually $1) to cover meeting and literature expenses. Newcomers are not expected to give in their first meeting.
At the end of the opening reading, the chair will hand over the meeting to the leader, who will read a short inspirational passage and reflect on it. After this, the meeting is open to anyone who wants to share on the passage or do a check-in. A check-in means to share about something that is currently going on with you. The shares are limited to five minutes each but people can share more than once. You don’t have to share in a meeting if you don’t want to. If you prefer you can just listen to others share.
In the meeting we don’t engage in crosstalk. Crosstalk means to interrupt, directly respond to the shares of other members, or mention another member by name (e.g., “Jane just said…”). However, while you are sharing, you can ask for feedback about your situation. Asking for feedback is a great way to have people come to you instead having to go to them. Feedback is given only after the meeting has ended. After the meeting people usually stay around to chat for a while. This is a great time to get to know people and find new friends.
After the meeting has ended, you can take what is useful to you and leave the rest. Please, remember that all that is said in the meeting (and who attends) is confidential and should be left in the confines of the meeting room.