Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is a worldwide fellowship that is based on the principle of mutual aid and was created by Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Willson in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. The main goal of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is to encourage members to stop drinking and help others to stay sober.
The founders of AA meetings have come up with the 12 Steps that a person with alcohol addiction should go through to achieve recovery. In 1946, those 12 Traditions became a regular practice for AA meetings, and the program grew popular among many different groups. The Traditions are also encouraging people who are a part of Alcoholics Anonymous to avoid participation in public issues, governing systems, and strong principles.
Later the format of a 12-step meeting was also implemented, although with some changes, in other groups that help to achieve sobriety from substance abuse and other addictions. At an AA meeting, you will not see alcoholism as a medical phenomenon. However, Alcoholics Anonymous is still seen as helpful for the popularization of alcoholism disease theory. The process of recovery has ended up being successful for many alcoholics.
Along with some other sustained treatments, AA meetings are recommended by the American Psychiatric Association for those who get no results from brief treatments. The statistics show that more than a third of AA members keep on attending group meetings for more than a year from their very first meeting.
AA Meetings for Women
The first woman to decide to join the AA program was Florence Rankin, and she started attending the meetings two years after the program was invented. In 1939, a member of a non-Protestant church, who was a Roman Catholic, acquired membership in AA as well. It was a big step that encouraged a diversity of people to participate in a discussion of their recovery.
Addicts with drinking problems from all over the world started to adapt the program to their location and spread the desire for recovery among people who were in the same situation. The Fourth Edition of the Big Book, published in November 2001, stated that since the previous edition in 1976, Alcoholics Anonymous grew up to two million participants or even more.
The Big Book is a literature piece that is used as a base for each meeting. The formal name for it is “Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism.”
For a person who has been dealing with an addiction for a while, it is hard to achieve sobriety all by yourself. At the beginning of your recovery path, it is important to reach for support from others. AA meetings can help you to focus on the goal of staying sober while providing a place to speak about your thoughts and emotions with a group of like-minded people.
Even when society sees you as someone who is struggling a lot, it is important to have faith in the future.AA meetings provide you with a safe place to talk about your problems and your achievements of being free from alcohol.
An Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is a great way to start your recovery process step by step. Men and women with the same experiences attend AA meetings to motivate, help, and guide each other through this difficult process.
Attending AA meetings can open a new chapter to your healthier alcohol-free life. Connect with other people who have experienced the drinking problem and work your way out of the darkness of addiction.
Types of AA meetings
Since the very first AA meeting, the formats of those group sessions have evolved for the best. Now, people can choose the discussion format that is the most convenient for them to attend and comfortable to fully participate. Even if you are out of the country or your location changes from time to time, there is a possibility to come to the discussion. What is more, the specific types of AA groups allow you to be more anonymous, which is especially good if you are only starting the recovery and you are not quite comfortable with talking about your addiction openly yet.
One way that an addicted person can join the AA group is through an online meeting. With the help of online platforms, the 12-step meeting is held as an online call, where people discuss the agenda like they would during a standard in-person meeting. Online meeting discussion is preferred by some AA members because it allows them to contact others without showing their faces. As only the voice of a speaker is heard during the online meeting, it is easier to tell your honest thoughts and to get better results from the discussion.
If an alcohol-free ascension in-person sounds more comfortable to you, there are plenty of such options as well. Meeting for discussion with people in real life helps some struggling people to create a stronger bond, which in most cases leads to better results.
Unlike an online meeting, an in-person discussion requires a place to be organized at. Some of the most common locations for AA meetings include the following:
- Treatment centers;
- Community church;
- Office buildings;
- Community spaces;
- Other room options where group discussion can be held.
An in-person and an online meeting can be held in either an open or closed format. The standard form of an online meeting is usually the closed one, while the in-person discussion can be open as well.
A closed 12-Step meeting keeps the number of participants limited without allowing any people who are just willing to learn about AA to come. This format is better for people who struggle with opening up in front of strangers and someone they know nothing about. An open Alcoholics Anonymous meeting welcomes everyone who is interested in the discussion.
You can find both open and closed types of AA meetings. Choose something that is more comfortable for you and begin your journey towards a sober life.
AA Meeting Plan
Both an in-person discussion and an online meeting are usually organized in a similar way. Firstly, a newcomer would be asked to name themselves, which can be done using a real name or something imaginary. The leading speaker, who usually directs the discussion in the right way, will spend some time helping the new member to adapt to the new environment. When the starting part of the meeting is over, the discussion, including daily reflections, traditional study, and literature readings, begins.
One can expect the 12-Step meeting to be consistent and evolving, as each week, a new step might be implemented in the discussion. The meeting is regulated by the main speaker, who suggests the topic of the discussion and helps other members to get involved. The Big Book is used as a base for studying addiction experiences and their consequences. Men and women who attend the 12-Step meeting can also participate in prayer (usually during the meetings held in churches) or in meditation.
Whether it is an online meeting or an offline discussion, the main component is always the reflection of your own experience. While starting with some more serious talks, the ending of each meeting might be less formal. Members can have personal conversations with each other; however, it is not obligatory.
AA Meeting Benefits
Those who sought a simple way to begin addiction recovery should consider joining an AA meeting. Men and women from many different places in the world found the discussion format helpful and reassuring regarding the possibility of full recovery. Whether you believe in God and help from all the Saints or you trust some other powers to guide you through recovery to sobriety, an AA discussion is a way to start.
An open, friendly, and supportive group will comfort and motivate you anytime. Going through the Big Book altogether, you will find the most effective ways of recovering from addiction. Families all over the world were happy to see their loved ones healthy and sober.
Frequently Asked Questions — FAQ
What is the prayer at AA meetings?
The meeting can be held in a community church, in which case the discussion might also include a prayer. Although, it is not necessary, and some meetings also include a meditation or a recitation from the Big Book and other important literature.
What happens at the end of an AA meeting?
The discussion is usually finished with praying to Jesus Christ, especially if the meeting is held at a church. Other meetings can include readings of important Big Book excerpts or even a minute of silence for those who passed away because of the addiction.
Can I just turn up to an AA meeting?
If the meeting is open, all men and women can attend the discussion, regardless of having an addiction. However, there might be offline and online meeting options that are closed and do not allow outsiders to come in.