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. The two founders compiled the twelve steps to direct AA meetings; later they introduced the 12 traditions to help better define the aims of the group. The original 12 steps are still intact; besides, many former alcohol addicts contribute to the group by helping the members make steps to recovery.
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. 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 original model is still in use today and it helps that the organisation was started by recovering alcoholics who understood the challenge. Everybody in the AA programs even those running them has gone through the program at some point, so they empathize with members.
At each AA meeting, the attendees are welcomed to join the group. While a discussion among new attendees is certainly encouraged it is not essential. This is because it takes time for one to build trust so they can open up to strangers. During the meetings, the people present will openly discuss various issues about their lives and this helps many of them to find peace.
Only recovering alcoholics or those trying to get on the path to recovery are allowed to attend closed AA meetings.
Partners, family and pals are allowed to attend 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.
The 12 steps which originated from Alcoholics Anonymous are presently the standards which are applied by all addiction recovery groups. The steps are meant to be followed as a cycle although they are listed linearly. If a recovering user hasn't successfully passed through a given step, they can revisit it until they are okay with their efforts.
The first step includes admitting that you have a problem, and really need help to solve it. Making yourself a promise that you'll recovery from the addiction, accepting your mistakes and the wrongs you have done to others are some of the stages that you must go through in the process. You can read more about the 12 steps here.
It is normal for a person to try and find reasons not to attend the meetings especially if they don't feel comfortable yet. Some of the common oppositions which people have in mind are:
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 can possibly save you from years of heartache caused by your alcoholism it can in no way be harmful.
There is always an AA group close to where you live. 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. Let us provide you the help to find an AA group today please contact 0800 246 1509.