The community of Alcoholics Anonymous has been providing great support and healing for recovering alcoholics for nearly 80 years. Alcoholics Anonymous was started in 1935 by Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson who were both recovering addicts as a fellowship with the aim of encouraging other alcoholics on the path to recovery to stay sober. There are 12 traditions that were put in place to help define the reason for the group's existence but first, the famous 12 steps were introduced to help give the meetings some direction. The 12 Steps are still followed, and many recovered alcoholics say belonging to an AA group saw them through the recovery journey.
There are more than 50,000 AA groups in America alone and over 2 million members in the world.
It is always quite challenging the first time you go for the meeting if you are not aware of what goes on there. It requires the individual to venture out of his or her comfort zone and admit before a room full of strangers that they have a problem and need some assistance to get better. This feeling is felt by most of the people you'll encounter in the meetings. The fact that the group was started by people that were former alcoholics shows that it can really help you. Sharing a common experience of being alcoholics is what makes AA successful in its objective and mission.
All attendees of the group will be welcomed with open arms during an AA meeting. New attendees are encouraged to join the discussion, but it is not required. This is because it takes time for one to build trust so they can open up to strangers. After the members has started sharing their experience with others, they'll start seeing some positive changes in their lives.
Closed AA meeting is open only for people who are recovering alcohol addicts or the people who are interested in knowing more about how to overcome their addiction.
Open meetings, on the other hand, admit family and friends of the alcoholic members. You have the option of deciding whether you want to attend a closed meeting or an open meeting depending on your comfort level within the organisation. A certain share of the people attending these meetings prefer to keep their therapy separated from the rest of their lives. Other people appreciate the support provided by their loved ones during these meetings.
These 12 Steps have been the backbone of the AA meetings. Though steps are taught to one leading to the next (linear), the members experience them as a circle of events. A patient may repeat a particular step until they are certified with the results.
One starts with acknowledging they are having a problem and they cannot solve it on their own. Following steps are consciously deciding you want to stop the habit; accepting your wrongs and those others did to you; correcting your mistakes; committing to keep on the road to recovery. You can read more about the 12 steps here.
Most people are not comfortable with attending a meeting with AA and therefore, come up with reasons not to attend. Most excuses people give include:
It is important at this stage to focus on the fact that you have genuine reasons for having considered going to the meetings in the first place even if the other reasons are weighing heavily on you.
If you suspect that the problem exists, you're probably right. Attending a meeting may end up saving you a lifetime of pain and destruction brought about by the addiction to alcohol.
There is always an AA group close to where you live. There is usually a schedule of meetings for each group; it is best to join as soon as you can. Make up your mind what kind of group you want to join, closed or open, then go through our online meeting finder to locate one near you. If you're looking for an AA group, we can assist you to find one just contact 0800 246 1509.