Who or what is Emotions Anonymous?
Emotions Anonymous is a twelve-step fellowship that works according to the same principles as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). It is a charitable organisation founded in the US in 1971 that has supported thousands of people in their recovery from emotional difficulties.
What does EA offer?
EA works primarily through weekly meetings in which we support each other by sharing our experiences, hopes and fears and listen to those of the other participants. Our recovery is aided and guided by the twelve steps of the program. We read them as well as other EA literature, encourage sponsoring each other and have various ways of staying in contact.
What can I expect from an EA meeting and who comes to the meetings?
Our fellowship is composed of people who come together in weekly meetings for the purpose of working toward recovery from emotional difficulties as diverse as depression, anger, broken or strained relationships, grief, anxiety, low self-esteem, panic, abnormal fears, resentment, jealousy, guilt, despair, fatigue, tension, boredom, loneliness, withdrawal, obsessive and negative thinking, worry, compulsive behaviour and a variety of other emotional issues.
EA members are from many walks of life and are of diverse ages, economic status, social and educational backgrounds.
Are there any conditions or prerequisites for coming to an EA meeting?
The only requirement is a desire to become well emotionally. (Tradition 3)
Will I fit in?
Everyone is welcome at EA meetings. We do not differentiate between types of emotional problems, nor do we judge or state that some problems are more serious than others. No matter what you are feeling, there will be others who have had these same feelings.
All these years I have been trying hard to get control of myself. If I come to EA, does that mean I am emotionally ill?
The first step in recovery is to admit we are powerless over our emotions. That is not the same thing as claiming we are mentally ill. The very fact that we have felt we are powerless over our emotions holds out the hope that we can learn to break their hold on us and begin recovery.
If EA members do not give each other advice or counselling, how can I expect to get help from a group with members who may just be as emotionally dysfunctional as I am?
We do not come to EA to have someone solve our problems. Instead, we come to share our experiences with the group, and as we share our feelings and see the non-judgmental understanding of other members, we find our problems appear less enormous. As we hear others share, we come to find what we are feeling is not unique or irrational, and that others have had those same feelings. This helps take away our fear that we are disturbed beyond help.
If my emotional problems make it difficult for me to speak in front of others, how can I benefit from a meeting?
Although sharing our feelings is a vital part of our recovery, we can also gain help from listening. We benefit from hearing what others have to share because we learn we are not unique. This sharing by others creates a bond between us. In time, those who are too shy or upset to speak find they will open up and reveal the feelings which are troubling them.
Will anyone try to force me to speak?
No one should. All members at all meetings are free to share or not to share, based on their feelings at the time. All of us have felt the need to keep silent at one time or another, and we respect that in others. To make sure you have an opportunity to share, the group leader may invite you to do so. A simple “I pass” is understood to mean you prefer to participate in the meeting silently. That’s fine.
Who is the group leader? Will the leader give me advice?
No one should give advice at our meetings. The leader is a member of the group whose only responsibility is that of leading the meeting. This person is not a counsellor or mentor and doesn’t have any more authority than any other member. Anyone in the group may volunteer to be the leader if they wish. It is best if the group leader changes week to week.
These are some of the questions most commonly asked by people new to Emotions Anonymous. You find more in the section Explore more. But of course the best way to find out more about EA and the 12-step program is to attend an EA meeting and feel for yourself the atmosphere of warmth and fellowship. And, by all means, ask the other members any questions you may have. We look forward to sharing our program with you!