Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. AA states that its primary purpose is “to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” With other early members, Wilson and Smith developed AA’s Twelve Step program of spiritual and character development. AA’s Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946 to help AA stabilize and grow. The Traditions recommend that members and groups remain anonymous in public media, altruistically help other alcoholics, and do not affiliate AA with any other organization. The Traditions also recommend that AA members acting on behalf of the fellowship steer clear of dogmas, governing hierarchies, and involvement in public issues. Subsequent fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous have adopted and adapted the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to their respective primary purposes.
AA has no opinion on the medical nature of alcoholism; nonetheless, AA is regarded as a proponent and popularizer of the disease theory of alcoholism. AA is credited with helping many alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. The American Psychiatric Association has recommended sustained treatment in conjunction with AA’s program or similar community resources for chronic alcoholics unresponsive to brief treatment. AA’s data show that 36% are still attending AA a year after their first meetings.
AA meetings for Females
The first female member, Florence Rankin, joined AA in March 1937, and the first non-Protestant member, a Roman Catholic, joined in 1939. AA membership has since spread “across diverse cultures holding different beliefs and values,” including geopolitical areas resistant to grassroots movements. In the Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (November 2001), it states, “Since the third edition was published in 1976, worldwide membership of AA has just about doubled, to an estimated two million or more….”
AA’s name is derived from its first book, informally called “The Big Book,” originally titled Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism.
Rehab and AA Meeetings
When you only start to recover from addiction to alcohol, it can be difficult to be in this position all by yourself. That is where AA meetings can help.
Even to stop drinking, you sometimes need a push or some motivation from other people. However, an alcoholic usually finds it hard to speak to someone who has never had a similar experience and never felt the struggle of being in such a position.
You can join the AA meetings group if your recovery journey seems hard to take by yourself. Attendees of such meetings are interested in helping each other, meeting other people with the same past, and sharing their stories.
A simple group discussion and daily reflections can give hope to any newcomer and support them during these challenging times.
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Types
If you wish to join a discussion group with people who are combating alcohol addiction, you should know that there are several formats of such special meetings. Depending on your location, the level of anonymity preferred, and other individual factors, you may choose an in-person or an online meeting. Each format has its own advantages, and one should choose a group type that would be the most comfortable to attend in order to achieve maximum results.
An online meeting can be held on different online communication platforms. One possible advantage of an online discussion is the fact that you can hide your face and let all the other people only hear your voice. It allows you to remain as anonymous and, hence, calm as possible. An online meeting can also be a way to go, virtually, when there aren’t any in-person meetings held nearby in your area.
If an online meeting does not sound like something you are after, you are always welcome to attend an in-person meeting. These are usually held in some roomy and comfy space that can accommodate a large group of people.
Here are some of the possible places where an in-person meeting can be organized:
- Treatment facilities;
- Church of Christ;
- Office complex;
- Community centers;
- Premises created specifically for group meetings.
Meeting Formats Available
While an online meeting is usually a closed-type one, in-person meetings might be held in an open format. A closed meeting does not allow any newcomers who do not have any experience with addiction and who are not ready to share their stories with others freely. On the other hand, open in-person meetings are free to visit for anybody who wants to see how such types of meetings are organized and what the average AA meetings involve.
The meeting is held for people of all ages, both men and women. However, if you are in search of a discussion meeting that admits, for example, only young people or only women, you can contact the organizers to specify the kind of your in-person or online meeting.
AA Meeting Agenda
When you are only starting the recovery process, it might be terrifying to share your addiction history with others. Whether you choose an online meeting or an in-person discussion, there are several procedures that are usually common for each of the clubs.
When a newcomer first attends the meeting, they are asked to identify themselves in any comfortable way. The main speaker or the leader will help a new person to get in touch with other members, adapt to the format of discussion, and get used to the rules followed in the club. Once the introductory part is over, the speaker will suggest everyone try out some recovery techniques.
Usually, the group has a several-step meeting, where the speaker responsible for guiding others is reading hope-evoking passages from literature specialized on addiction, conducting the traditional study, or creating a direction for further discussion. Translation of the literature advice into your own experience helps to overcome obstacles that might seem unfamiliar and terrifying to you.
The 12-step meeting is the most common one, and the discussion about the 12 necessary steps to overcome addiction is held for several hours a week. For instance, the 11th step, meditation, is held at the very end of the course, and it is believed to be equally useful for young people, adults, and elderly people. You may also find a club that has a 7-step meeting system, and it is just as effective but has its own unique features.
Every time you meet with other club members, you discuss what happened to you in the past week and what steps you took toward recovery. A meeting held at church might also include prayer, but it is not always the case. The discussion of literature and daily reflections are also major parts of any meeting.
AA Meetings Advantages
Once you decide what is best for you, an online meeting or an in-person club discussion, it takes only some courage to show up and prove to yourself that you can become better. Men and women all over the world started to appreciate the support and motivation and embrace the self-belief that simple, friendly, and open discussion and group exercises have gifted them.
Taking an online meeting allows you to participate from any location all over the country, so there are truly no excuses to postpone your better life for later. Meeting people in real life is just as effective, especially for those who need to feel the presence and understanding of others being near them.
No matter which path you choose, you should know that there are people who are ready to take care of you and help you out in this challenging journey. Signing up for an online meeting or attending a discussion at the assigned location will make your life happier and more vivid without the ruinous effect of addiction.
Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ
What is the prayer at AA meetings?
If the location for the meeting is a church, one part of its program might include a prayer. Besides, it can also be implemented during an online meeting. If it’s not at church, a text from the recovery literature might be recited at the end of the meeting. It is supposed to remind the participants of the values they have learned and need to practice attaining.
What happens at the end of an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting?
A discussion can end in several ways. At a club at the church, the lead will ask you to recite a prayer and give gratitude to God. Some meetings end with reciting the most valuable literature pieces from the recovery books. Club members can also have a minute of silence for those who passed away in the aftermath of their addictions. After that, informal communication is welcome but not insisted on.
Can I just turn up to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting ?
It depends on the type of meeting that you are going to attend. If it is an open club that welcomes everyone, including people who never had an addiction in the first place, then you can simply come over and take part in the discussion. Optionally, there are also closed meetings that might be restricted to the number and the type of participants.