START A MEETING
If there is no meeting in your area then you can also start your own group - you may need to, because meetings are an indispensable part of recovery.
Starting your own group will take some preparation, and work, but can be fairly simple and it may be that your recovery depends on you taking this action - working and meeting with each other has been a big part of how we have recovered.
If you would like to start your own meeting then there is support out here for you - contact phone numbers for advice and guidance and the resources here online to give you ideas for how to start a meeting and keep it going.
In this section...
Why are meetings important?
The main point of a meeting is to help new people to get recovery. We do this by talking about the Twelve Steps and how they have changed our lives (or how they are beginning to change our lives). We use our new perspective to explain how our addiction worked against us in our lives, and how we use spiritual principles to overcome our self-obsessed ways. We talk about how we have had to change to overcome our illness.
We also recall our past, using stories about how we thought felt and behaved. We do this so that a newcomer can identify with us and recognise a shared past. The difference is that these things are in our past, but for the newcomer they will be present day reality. We show the way forward and describe our new way of life so that the newcomer can follow us out of addiction. Some people are ready to do this - many are not. Often newcomers must overcome a lot of fear to get to the meeting so a friendly encouraging atmosphere is important.
It is where newcomers can get a copy of the Basic Text, and any other literature, such as 'Just for Today' cards - also a list of local meetings.
What is the difference between a meeting and a group?
A meeting is an event, hosted by a group. A group consists of two or more addicts who meet regularly with the primary purpose of staying clean. DAA groups hold meetings at the same time and place every week (or more frequently). At these meetings we enjoy fellowship, we identify with people who really understand us, we learn about the true nature of our problem, and we learn how to live without using drugs. Most importantly, our meetings are opportunties for newcomers to find help with their problem. A meeting is the perfect forum for a group to carry its message that there is a way out from drug addiction.
What happens at meetings - different formats
A DAA meeting is a weekly event where addicts come together to talk about the Twelve Steps and recovery. They tend to last for one hour, or one and a half hours. Often the venue is opened up 30-60 minutes beforehand so people can meet and chat over a cup of tea etc and some biscuits.
The meeting is usually in one of three formats:
Open Share: This is when someone speaks for around 20 minutes about their lives before and after taking the Twelve Steps. Then other people in the room speak for a few minutes each about the same things, from their own experience. Speaking at a meeting like this is called 'sharing' and the 'main share' starts off the meeting.
Topic Share: As above but there is a recovery based topic, such as 'honesty' or 'humility'. Often the person doing the topic share will read small extracts from some (AA) literature to help to shape and inform the topic. 'As Bill Sees It' can be a useful publication.
Literature Meeting: A variety of formats can be used; the meeting can start with a long reading and then be opened up for sharing around that reading, or a few paragraphs can be read and then reading can commence after the meeting has shared back for a while. In Steps and Traditions meetings questions can be asked of the group as well (search 'traditions checklist' in Google for examples). Opportunities can be given for people to ask questions of the group members as well.
Possible sources of literature to use include:
AA Basic Text
Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions
Language of the Heart
Came to Believe
What you will need
Each DAA meeting is run by the group of people who regularly attend. There are different roles that need to be fulfilled.
NOTE: These roles may need to be combined in a new meeting, and not all are essential at the beginning. A guide for a new meeting might go like this:
The Secretary: Is often the "key holder" for the venue, they arrive early to let everyone else in. Is responsible for "chairing" the meeting, i.e. opens the meeting, introduces the "main share", reads the readings, and ensures the meeting runs smoothly (and may need to use interventions to remind the group about language or noise during the meeting).
Treasurer: Keeps an account of what is happening with the donations made at the group. Opens up a group bank account and keeps a group cheque book for paying rent, etc.
General Service Representative (GSR): makes sure all service is running smoothly in the group. They communicate between the group and other groups in the area as well.
Literature Rep: Someone who is responsible for carrying the group's literature, or looking after it, and displaying it, and ordering more when it is running low.
Tea Person: Someone (usually two people if possible) makes sure there are drinks and biscuits and milk, etc. Some meetings are then self-service, when big enough meetings tend to have the refreshments served by someone, which keeps the mess down!
When you can
Venue Rep: In charge of ensuring the venue is left clean and tidy (needs to be able to ask others to help do things like sweep up, wash cups, etc).
Sharefinder: In charge of booking people to come and share at the meeting, often gets around other meetings and asks strong sharers if they would like to do the group's "main share" or topic meeting etc.
Secretary's Readings - i.e. a written 'script' that the secretary reads during the meeting that briefly states what DAA is about, and how the meeting will proceed.
These readings have been released to the DAA website by groups in London and Plymouth. We would like to thank those groups and we hope that these materials will prove useful to anyone wishing for help in setting up a meeting. If your meeting has similar resources that you feel would be of benefit to other DAA groups, please contact us.
London-TiaS-secretary-script.pdf - There is a Solution (London) [Speaker Meeting]
Plymouth-LtP-secretary-script-litStudy.pdf - Living the Program (Plymouth) Literature StudyIt is common for a group to select different parts of the book Alcoholics Anonymous to read from at the end and at the beginning of the meeting. Page numbers can be found in the secretary's readings.
Guidance for Secretaries: The secretary is the figurehead of the group and responsible for the smooth running of the meeting; ensuring an atmosphere of recovery is maintained. This 'Secretary Guidance' document is intended to support secretaries to manage the group, in case of rogue sharing or disruptions to the meetings.
Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions Posters: It is customary to display the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions in poster form - about A1 size - in DAA meetings. The files below are of high enough resolution to print up to very large size. They may take a while to download - please be patient.
If you have more that one meeting in your area you may wish to start an Intergroup. You can download a PDF of the DAA South East Intergroup's Service Manual here: seig-service-manual.pdf
Are there any rules for a meeting?
There are no rules but there is a list of twelve principles which, if followed will keep the meeting healthy and productive. These principles are called the Twelve Traditions.
Voluntary centres and community or church centres sometimes have a directory of available public meeting space in an area. We often use community centres, hospitals, church halls and business parks to meet because the rooms offered tend to be cheaper and public transport is often nearby.
People are often very interested to know about DAA and what we do and are often keen to set an agreeable rent so that the community can benefit from the meeting.
Don't be shy about explaining what DAA and your meeting is about, many people will be encouraging about what you are trying to do. Try to find somewhere central or with good public transport links. Once you have a venue - look after it! You will be helping to carry a positive message about DAA.
Please contact us for further help / support in setting up a meeting.