An Overview on AA Meetings:
What can one expect out of these Meetings?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a group of individuals who gather together to address their drinking issues. Attending AA meetings is free of charge. There are no restrictions on participation based on age or education. Anyone who wants to address their drinking issue is eligible to join. The main goal of A.A. is to assist alcoholics in becoming sober.
So, what are AAs?
AA is a lay organization; it is not any clinic, and no physicians are available, counselors, or psychologists. Each team member is present to recover from the problem of alcoholism. The manner AA organizations conduct their discussions is not governed by a single entity. Each group’s members pick what they will do on their own. However, the AA method of recovery has been so effective that it is practically followed in exactly the same way by every group today.
AA is neither a religious organization nor is it connected to any particular religion. It is open to people of all faiths, including pessimists and nonbelievers. One can join without registering or completing any requirements. If one chooses to be a part of a group, he/she is one. One is free to come and go as per his/her choice. A group has no “in command” individual. Suggestions are merely made and offers of assistance when working. Nobody has the right to instruct anyone on what is to be done and what is not.
Members’ stories on how they were once, what happened, and how they are now, help AA function rightly. The Twelve Steps of the AA program offer a structure for introspection and a path to alcohol-free recovery.
The 12 Crucial Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous comprise,
- Step 1
People admitted that their lives are valuable than the alcohol and that their lives had become completely unmanageable
- Step 2
Soon they started to believe that a Power bigger and greater than themselves could help them restore sanity.
- Step 3
People decided to change their will and their lives over to God’s care as they understood Him.
- Step 4
Made fearless moral inventory and searching of themselves.
- Step 5
Admitted to themselves and to other human being the precise nature of their wrongs.
- Step 6
People were completely ready to remove all these character defects.
- Step 7
Humbly asked God to remove their weaknesses and flaws.
- Step 8
People made a list of all friends and relatives that they harmed, and decided to say SORRY to them all.
- Step 9
People made direct amends to these people wherever they felt possible, except when doing so would hurt them or other people.
- Step 10
People continued to take personal initiation and when they were wrong, punctually admitted it.
- Step 11
People adopted meditation to improve their focus for the power to perform better.
- Step 12
People had a spiritual awakening due to these Steps, they tried to share this note with alcoholics and exercise these values in all their affairs.
What about the Success Rates and Scientific Support?
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous has a 50% success rate, with 25% continuing to be sober after a few relapses. However, there isn’t enough unbiased data to measure such rates because many of the group’s reported success rates are provided by AA itself and because some members opt to remain anonymous or don’t want to admit to relapsing.
According to the American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), about 10% of those who join a 12-Step program experience long-term success in their recovery. However, according to some research, members also have a 40% drop-off rate in their first year, which results in fluctuating group attendance.
According to statistics provided by AA in 2014, 27% of the 6,000 members who took part in an internal study had been sober for less than a year, 24% had remained sober for up to five years, and 13% had maintained their sobriety for more than ten years. 22% of those who took part in the study claimed to have remained sober for more than two decades, while 14% reported staying sober for between 10 and 20 years.
What Common Hesitations or Queries can one face in AA?
1. What to do if I meet my contacts in AA?
Remember, this is the only reason why both of you are present at AA. They won’t reveal identity your to anyone else. One can maintain as much anonymity at AA as one like. One of the reasons we go by the name Alcoholics Anonymous is this itself.
2. How can this help my Alcoholism?
People in AA understand what it’s like to be alcohol dependent and to be powerless to maintain their promises to themselves and to others to stop drinking. They do not practice as licensed therapists. They are only qualified to assist others in beating alcoholism if they themselves have done so. Since they have observed others who have recovered, problem drinkers who come to them are aware that it is possible.
3. Why do AAs go to the meetings after their problem is solved?
The AA fellowship holds the view that there is no effective treatment for alcoholism. People can never go back to their previous drinking habits, and keeping good physical, mental, and spiritual health is essential to their capacity to abstain from alcohol. This can be accomplished by attending meetings frequently and applying what they learn there. They also discover that helping other alcoholics keeps them sober.
4. Can I get my family to such meetings?
At “Open” AA meetings, family and close friends are welcomed. Talk about this with the contact there.
5. Where are these meetings held?
Meetings for AA can take place in person, online, or over the phone. Each meeting’s participants pick where, when, and how frequently to gather. There are several locations where a room can be booked for in-person meetings can occur. Meetings take place in areas like:
- Treatment centers
- Office buildings
- Recreation centers/community centers
- Beaches, in parks, or in other outdoor settings
- Buildings devoted to renting to recovery groups like clubhouses.
Meetings can also be held over the phone or online. Depending on the preferences of the group members, various platforms are employed like smartphone apps. Some are face-to-face video meetings where people can see each other. The video is off during other online gatherings. A conference call number is used in yet additional meetings.
6. What advice can you give to new joiners?
Experience has shown that AA members who succeed do the following:
- Avoid taking the first drink.
- Attend regular AA meetings.
- Find AA members who have been able to sustain long-term sobriety.
- Try to put the AA program of recovery into practice.
Wind Up the Meeting…
A person might become an alcoholic for a variety of causes, and it is the responsibility of a real friend or a caring relative to help them recover. Most meetings have members discussing the effects drinking has had on them and those around them. Most also talk about how they stopped drinking and how they live their lives now. In order to address their shared problem and assist others in beating alcoholism for a better and brighter future, A.A. members share their experience, strength, and hope with one another at all meetings.