Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. AA is an international program requiring no membership dues or fees. It is dedicated to helping alcoholics achieve sobriety through a series of 12 steps based on recovery, fellowship, and service. It is non-professional, non-denominational, self-supporting, and the only requirement to join is a desire to stop drinking. [1]

The initial steps are still intact, and many former alcoholics credit the group with helping them through recovery. Conversely, other groups took inspiration from the 12-Steps and incorporated them into the theme of their group. For example, groups like Narcotics Anonymous or spiritually-based 12-Step groups have similar themes like personal accountability but are slightly different in their divine representation. Despite this, AA has impacted the recovery community on a global scale. Today, Alcoholics Anonymous exists in 180 countries consisting of an estimated 2 million members. [2]

Is Alcoholics Anonymous For You?

Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t always for everyone. Millions of people have found lasting recovery in AA, attributing their success to living by the principles of the program and being of service to others. While the efficacy of the program cannot be denied, in some cases the spiritual aspect of the program can be a stumbling block for some who wish to stop drinking.

Can AA help you? The only way to find out is to try it and see for yourself if you think the help and support from others struggling with the same problem will help you stay sober. The effect of AA can be best seen when a correct “dose” is given, typically 90 meetings in 90 days.

Alcoholics Anonymous
Going to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for the first time can be a little intimidating, but every person in that room suffers from the same disease with the same desire for a solution. All members, new and old, are welcomed with open arms and support.

What To Expect From An AA Meeting

Deciding to attend an AA meeting can be intimidating and highly uncomfortable, especially for someone who has no idea what to expect. It involves going outside of your comfort zone, admitting to a room full of strangers you have a problem with and need help getting better. Fortunately, every AA participant knows precisely how you feel. The organization itself was founded by recovering alcoholics, and that model has been held through today. Every person involved in AA has been through it before, cultivating a unique feeling of community and understanding among the recovering addicts.

Attendees of an AA meeting will be welcomed into the group. Discussion among new attendees is encouraged but not required. In this circumstance, individuals may need to be vulnerable about how their addiction has impacted their loved ones. Attendees may share stories and include commentary surrounding their journey of sobriety. Others may interject and support or share their story or provide advice for others’ knowledge. Individuals can make friends and gain new perspectives. AA understands some people may not feel comfortable sharing intimate details during their first visit. However, as time goes on, most people find great healing and therapy through these meetings’ open and honest discussions.

Effectiveness

Several studies have shown that people involved in mutual support groups were more likely to remain abstinent than those who tried to quit by themselves. A new study published in the Cochrane Library found that AA and 12-step groups can lead to higher rates of continuous abstinence over months and years compared to treatment approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy.

“Closed” vs. “Open” Meetings

In a closed AA meeting, the only people who may attend are recovering addicts (or those interested in learning more about overcoming their addiction). Open meetings allow the attendance of friends, spouses, and family members. This is beneficial for those who wish to remain connected to friends and family members and feel family member’s support creates feelings of safety. Closed meetings could protect privacy, allowing limited or no outside involvement. Whether you decide to go to a closed or open meeting depends exclusively on what you’re comfortable with. Some people would rather keep their recovery separate from the rest of their life, hence closed meetings. Others thrive on the support that loved ones can provide during meetings, hence open meetings.

The 12 Steps And 12 Traditions Of AA

west palm beach Alcoholics Anonymous group
The ultimate goal of a 12 step program is to achieve complete abstinence. This is no small undertaking, so it’s unrealistic to expect a 100% success rate.

Every individual who takes part in an AA group is advised to read the Big Book, the organization’s Bible. The Big Book provides stories of inspiration and recovery resources that will help you on your journey to achieving long-term sobriety. In it, the book explains both the 12 steps and 12 traditions of AA. As you move to the second half of the book, you will find personal stories from those who have overcome an AUD. Additional reports are added each time a new edition of the Big Book is released. These are relatable for many people in recovery and serve as hope and motivation to maintaining sobriety.

The 12 Traditions

A.A.’s Twelve Traditions apply to the life of the Fellowship itself. They outline the means by which A.A. maintains its unity and relates itself to the world about it, the way it lives and grows.

Here Is A Breakdown Of The 12 Traditions Of AA:

  • Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends uponA.A. unity.
  • For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  • The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  • Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  • Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  • An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  • Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  • A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  • Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  • Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

The 12 Steps

A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.

The 12 Steps Of AA Are:

  • We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we
    understood Him.
  • Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature
    of our wrongs.
  • Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  • Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  • Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  • Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  • Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Oppositions To AA

Some do not believe in the transformative knowledge of AA meetings. Because of the discomfort associated with attending an AA meeting, many people will come up with reasons not to attend. Sometimes, this is due to embarrassment or what others will think self-judgment or one’s pride. In other cases, self-doubt or a lack of belief in recovery can hinder someone from attending a meeting. As a result, someone can create excuses or hold an oppositional reason to avoid attendance. Some of the familiar oppositions people have are:

  • They don’t think it will help
  • They’re afraid of seeing someone they know
  • They aren’t sure they have a problem
  • Some may not be religious

Although these excuses may seem huge to people who are already nervous about attending a meeting, the real object to focus on is why you were considering going in the first place. Allowing excuses to keep you from growing or improving your relationships can prove to be an obstacle to wellness. Instead, remembering why you’re there may help put things in perspective. Seeing the bigger picture versus allowing excuses or ego to stop you from getting treatment can be something to look at.

If you think there’s a problem, you’re probably right. There’s no harm in going to a meeting if it means potentially saving you from years of heartache caused by your addiction. Setting aside denial and succumbing to admittance is a powerful course of action.

How To Find A Meeting

Alcoholics Anonymous has many A.A. members and service committees available to provide professionals with information about Alcoholics Anonymous.

A.A. has a long history of cooperating but not affiliating with outside organizations and providing Alcoholics Anonymous meetings or information about A.A. upon request.

A.A. communicates with professionals such as doctors or other health care professionals, clergy members, law enforcement or court officials, educators, social workers, alcoholism counselors, therapists, or others who deal with problem drinkers in the course of their work.

Alcoholics Anonymous
There is clear evidence from a variety of sources that early involvement, in the form of Alcoholics Anonymous meeting attendance and engagement in recovery activities, is associated with better substance use and psychosocial outcomes as well as reduced health care costs. [2]

At We Level Up treatment center, we firmly believe that the best chances of success at addiction recovery are when clients are given the right tools. But that is still only half of the battle, making those resources accessible and convenient plays a major role in the likelihood of true recovery. As such, we are pleased to offer our treatment programs, (individual counseling, group therapy, and 12-step program meetings) at the same facility. This means less headache and hassle for our clients, who can then spend more time focusing on getting better. 

We Level Up Treatment Center provides world-class care with round-the-clock medical professionals available to help you cope. If you’re interested in support groups, don’t wait to get started. Aftercare treatment programs reduce your risk of relapsing and are great ways to meet others in recovery.

Make this your opportunity to reclaim your life. Call today to speak with one of our treatment specialists. Our counselors know what you are going through and will answer any of your questions.

Your call is private and confidential, and there is never any obligation.

Sources

[1] AA.org – https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/information-for-professionals
[2] National Center for Biotechnology Information – 12-Step Interventions and Mutual Support Programs for Substance Use Disorders: An Overview