Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-step rehabilitation program that helps people who are addicted to alcohol. AA members adhere to a series of recovery steps to achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol and provide the groundwork for long-term recovery.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a worldwide organization of people who have struggled with alcohol at some time in their life. AA is sponsored and organized by its members, and it operates independently of any outside funding. It is not associated with any religious or political organization.

The organization’s mission is to encourage recovery by “carrying its message” to alcoholics in need. All AA members choose to remain anonymous. Anonymity alleviates the stigma associated with identifying and recognition, allowing participants to have a more pleasant recovery experience.

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are a collection of guiding principles that serve to establish the spiritual foundation for a sober life. AA welcomes everyone, regardless of age, gender, or race. The sole condition for membership is a willingness to stop drinking.

What Happens at an AA Meeting?

Meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous are frequently conducted in public, easily accessible facilities with enough parking, such as churches, schools, coffee shops, and restaurants. Making the decision to attend an AA meeting may be terrifying and incredibly unpleasant, especially if you don’t know what to expect. It entails stepping outside of your comfort zone and confessing to a room full of strangers that you have a problem and need assistance in getting well.

Fortunately, every AA member understands exactly how you feel. The group was formed by recovering alcoholics, and that paradigm has remained unchanged to this day. Everyone in AA has been there before, creating a unique sense of camaraderie and understanding among the recovering addicts.

Types of AA Meetings

The basic meeting format and guidelines vary according to the type of meeting.

  • Speaker gatherings: AA members talk about their experiences with alcoholism, how they found the program, and how they recovered through it. This gathering style is more about sharing and listening than it is about interacting.
  • Discussion meetings: One member speaks briefly about their personal alcohol difficulties before leading a conversation about recovery with AA and any drinking-related concerns that another person brings up. This is a lot more interactive than a speaker meeting.
  • Step studies: A small, dedicated group works step by step through the AA 12 steps.

“Closed” vs. “Open” Meetings

Meetings of the A.A. might be open or closed.

  • Anyone, including AA members and non-members, is welcome during open meetings. This is the greatest approach to understand more about AA—what it is, what it does, and if this recovery program is right for you. Speaker meetings are frequently open, while discussion meetings are occasionally open.
  • Closed meetings are exclusively open to AA members or potential AA members. Discussion groups are sometimes closed, as are 12-step studies. Closed sessions can aid in the development of a sense of safety during the healing process.

The 12 Steps

The 12 Steps began in Alcoholics Anonymous and have since become the norm for almost all addiction treatment groups. The steps are presented in a linear format, but participants see them as a continuous circle. Steps may be repeated until the recovering addict is at ease with that stage of their recovery process.

The foremost step is to accept that you have a problem and require assistance in conquering it. The following stages include making a choice to stop, acknowledging your wrongs to yourself and others, making amends for wrongdoings, being willing to surrender one’s life over to God, taking a fearless moral inventory of oneself, and committing to ongoing development. Because of the 12 Steps’ success, other groups arose–Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, and numerous more versions, each reflecting the 12 Steps or a different interpretation. Furthermore, 12 Step programs encourage self-reflection and growth to make positive changes.

What Are Sponsors?

A sponsor is a fellow AA member who has spent substantial time in recovery. The sponsor usually works the 12 steps of AA with their sponsee and offers support when needed.

The program’s sponsorship component can provide ongoing, personalized assistance for both the sponsor and the person being sponsored. This individual is your direct link to the program. Outside of sessions, they can provide phone assistance for any questions or worries concerning relapse.

Finding an Alcoholics Anonymous Group

There is almost likely an AA group near you, no matter where you reside. Most groups meet on a regular basis, so attend sooner rather than later. Decide whether you want to attend a closed or open meeting and where you want to meet. You can find one online at the Alcoholics Anonymous website.

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