Attend open AA meetings?



Have any of you attended open AA meetings? Did it help?

I went to CR last night. Small crowd so they combined women's issues and women's chemical dependent small groups. About 25 but I was the only one who wasn't an addict.

I learned a lot. Kind of got to stand in their shoes and hear the deep, guttural pain an addict experiences. These ladies knew each other well. Many live in a sober house together so they were brutally honest and very supportive of each other.

When it was my turn to share, I was cognizant that I was "on the other side" but stayed true to my story. While I didn't want to hurt them, I felt somewhat validated to say how much difficult child hurt me in a group of "his" kind. Not being judgmental. I want to say these things to difficult child and have him acknowledge my pain but now isn't the right time. To tell them and to listen to one young woman talk about her guilt at troubling her father cause he has to drive her everywhere helped to heal some of my anger.

When it got to the point where crosstalk was ok, two women responded to her. I decided to do so too. I told her I was living her father's life with my son and had been to court twice plus returned him to rehab in the last week. I said I believed addiction was a disease and that no one would willingly choose this for themselves. So, driving him to a meeting or rehab was the same as driving him to chemo if he had cancer. However, it was HIS responsibility to listen to the professionals and to do his part.

I cannot describe how much better I felt afterward. I went to that young woman and asked if I could hug her and told her to stay strong. The women were so sweet and told me they were glad I came.

I want to have this discussion with difficult child. I pray I will someday. But, for now, this helped.

Hopefully, this CR will combine groups again soon.


Well-Known Member
It sounds like a very emotional meeting AG. Yes I attended open AA meetings every week with difficult child for almost a year. Most of the people there were from a men's sober house but there were also women and several parents and loved ones. It was incredibly moving, every meeting was filled with so much hope. The meetings were lead meetings so we did not share other than to give feedback to the leader. But the leads were so inspiring that I left there every week uplifted. I stopped going when difficult child relapsed and she stopped going. I miss them because it was something we shared together but it's too painful for me to go back there alone now.


Well-Known Member
Staff member
AG, I've attended quite a few open AA meeting, as well as general substance abuse meetings, where the addicts as well as the families participate in open discussions. Attendance at these groups was a part of the codependency program I've been in for a year. Like you, I was deeply moved by the stories of pain, relapses, the remarkable guilt and underneath so much, the shame. Very often, I heard that the substance abuse covered much deeper issues of mental illness, child abuse, incest or sexual abuse. It's complicated and never ceases to give me a reality check of how flawed and vulnerable we humans are. I've often been moved to tears as I listened to not only what the chemically dependent folks were saying, but the incredible pain of the families, sometimes both parents, the grandparents, the sisters and brothers were all there................real life people with real tears and pained faces and broken the words we read here but up close and personal............I learned a lot too.............there was also strength, courage, hope and success as they struggled with their recovery.