Everyone in GA has had to attend their first meeting at some point and YES everyone feels nervous, scared and unsure as to what lies behind those doors.
Well try not to worry too much, no one will leave you standing in the corner all alone, you will be greeted with a smile and a warm welcome. Remember everyone in that room are all there for the same reason – to get help, advice and understanding of coping with compulsive gambling.
Once you are in the meeting, sitting down still probably feeling nervous and scared, the chairperson (every week a member of GA chairs the meeting, nothing to worry about just like any other meeting, also don’t panic as a new member you will not be asked to chair) will introduce themselves and then will go around the room and everyone will introduce themselves – first name only, so everyone’s anonymity is intact.
By now your heart is still probably racing and your hands are still clammy, again keep reminding yourself, everyone is here for the same reason. Once you have been introduced to everyone, you may be asked to tell a little about what has brought you to the meeting. This can be a short or as long as you feel comfortable, remember that what is said within the meeting, stays within the meeting. Nothing that has been discussed will be repeated outwith those four walls.
When there is a new member, the chairperson will usually pick someone to give a “therapy” all this involves is someone telling you their story about what brought them to GA. Hopefully by now you are a little more relaxed and as the meeting progresses you will begin to realize that you are not alone, every single person in that room has been through or is going through a situation similar or identical to yourself.
Depending on how the meeting is run, some meeting stop for a tea/coffee break half way through, so have a nice bickie with a cuppa and then return for the last part of the meeting.
The one piece of advice that we can give anyone is – COME BACK – give the meetings a chance, you wont know unless you try.