Recovering alcoholics have benefitted from the support provided by Alcoholics Anonymous for many years. Founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith (who both were recovering alcoholics), Alcoholics Anonymous were started as a community fellowship for recovering alcoholics to encourage them to stay sober. The journey to recovery is aided by the 12 stages that guide the operations of AA. Many former alcoholics believe the group was instrumental in helping them remain sober and the group still uses the original 12 steps in its meetings.
There are more than 50,000 AA groups in America alone and over 2 million members in the world.
Arriving at the decision to go to an AA meeting can be scary and very uncomfortable, especially for people who don't realise what to expect from it. Opening up about your condition to people that you have just met is always the hard part for the new members. Fortunately, every participant within AA is fully aware about how the other feels. The original model is still in use today and it helps that the organisation was started by recovering alcoholics who understood the challenge. Sharing a common experience of being alcoholics is what makes AA successful in its objective and mission.
The reception to the AA meeting is always amazing. While a discussion among new attendees is certainly encouraged it is not essential. AA has the understanding that a number of people cannot be comfortable with sharing their intimate details during the initial visits to the organisation. During the meetings, the people present will openly discuss various issues about their lives and this helps many of them to find peace.
Only the people that are struggling with alcohol addiction are the ones allowed to attend the closed meetings in AA.
The family and people close to the recovering alcoholic are allowed to attend the open meetings. Going to either an open or a closed meeting depends only on what one you are comfortable with. Some people have shown a marked preference to keep their recovery segregated 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. These steps are written one after another, but group members realise that in fact they go in a circle. Steps may be revisited several times until the member comes to grips with that stage of their recovery process.
The initial step requires an alcoholic to admit that he or she has a problem and needs help to overcome the same. 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. More on the 12 steps can be found here
Withdrawal symptoms and other uncomfortable things one goes through as they try to quit alcohol abuse discourage many from attending the AA meetings. Some of their common objections are the following:
These excuses may seem insurmountable, but the most important thing is to keep your eyes on what you want to achieve.
The bottom line out here is that if you feel there is a problem you are probably right. There will be no harm for you if you go to a meeting; besides, it can potentially save you from years of suffering caused by your addiction.
There is always an AA group not too far from where you are. Most of such groups meet on an ongoing basis, so you needn't wait long for the nearest meeting. Choose the kind of a meeting you want to attend - a closed or open one - and in what area, and you will be able to find a group online using our meeting finder. Contact us on 0800 246 1509 today and we'll help you find an AA group that will suit you best.