April 10th, 2013
Participant Observation Project
On Friday, April 5th starting at 8:00pm I walked into St. Peters Catholic Church in Olney, Maryland to witness my first ever open AA meeting. The meeting was being held in the basement area of the church. The room was small and comfortable. The atmosphere was very welcoming and relaxed. A younger gentleman wearing a nice clean button down shirt and khakis, who goes by the name Andy, stands by the door and greets people as they walk in with a big friendly hello. It is then, that you are handed a name tag and a sharpie. Looking around, the furniture is rearranged to better suit the event and what is about to take place. The chairs are formed into a circle, so everyone can get a clear view of each person, it was large enough to fit 15 to 20 chairs but small enough to still be intimate. Before the meeting started, the room filled up with people who all looked very different but were all there for the same reason. The total amount of people that attended the meeting was 13. There were 3 females and 10 males. The group ranged in age from young to old. There were two men who were having a friendly conversation by the snack table, one older gentleman with noticeable gray hair in sweatpants and Harley Davidson t-shirt and a younger looking gentleman wearing jeans and a sweatshirt. There was lots of small talk going on as people found their seats. At 8:00PM the sound of everyone chatting with each other came to a stop when Andy announced that he was going to get started. The room came to a silence and the meeting was kicked off with a prayer. Everyone joined hands. After the prayer was said, Andy asked if there was anyone new joining. There were none. Following that, Andy read a passage from the “Big Book”. It looks just like a bible and the people attending this meeting treat it like one. As the passage was being read, a little more than half of the people were following along in their own copies of...
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