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a man struggles in alcoholics anonymousAlcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship founded in 1939 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, both recovering alcoholics. It is a non-professional, self-supporting and non-political initiative. Its membership is open to everyone regardless of religion, race, age, and gender. The only condition is the will to recover from alcoholism. The primary goal of AA is to help alcoholics recover, stay sober and help other alcoholics recover. Its founders developed the 12 steps of AA to guide the alcoholics towards recovery.

12 traditions were subsequently introduced to help the members stay focused and unified against alcoholism. Ever since its start, it has helped millions of alcoholics recover. Even though it is often regarded as unscientific, recovering alcoholics have admitted its usefulness.

Currently, the fellowship has more than 2 million members residing worldwide. In the United States alone, there are more than 50,000 Alcoholics Anonymous fellowships. According to an Alcoholics Anonymous survey conducted in 2014, about 27% of members were sober for less than a year, 24% for 1-5 years, 13% for 5-10 years, 14% for 10-20 years, and 22% for more than 20 years.

What to Expect at Your First Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting

Deciding to become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous can be difficult. Many questions arise in the mind of newcomers. Will the meeting be held in a shady church basement? Will I have to share everything with strangers? Will the experience be helpful?

The truth is, attending an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is completely safe. The other members can be extremely supportive and helpful, especially towards new members. They know how you feel and how to make you feel comfortable. Stepping out of your comfort zone and making the bold decision of recovering can be physically and mentally challenging. All the members there have been through the same as you have been. You are not required to discuss your problems during the first meeting if you do not feel comfortable enough. You can hear other members talk.

As time passes and you attend more meetings, you feel more comfortable and gradually start opening up. There is a great scope to learn from the experience of recovered alcoholics. You can also seek advice for your existing issues arising during the recovery process.

The members of the fellowship are supposed to follow the same 12 steps developed by the founders.

Types of Meetings

There are several different kinds of AA meetings. Each of these caters to the specific needs of those participating. For each type, the meeting time is pre-decided, and usually, each meeting lasts for about 90 minutes. Some types of meetings to familiarize yourself with include:

  • Closed Meetings: Closed meetings are only meant for recovering alcoholics who are members of AA.
  • Open Meetings: During open meetings, you can bring your spouse, family members, or friends who are non-alcoholics. Generally, all the meetings are closed unless mentioned otherwise. The type of meeting you want to attend depends entirely on you. Some people prefer privacy and want to keep their alcoholism separate from the rest of their life while others may find additional support from their friends and family immensely helpful.
  • Online Meetings: During online meetings, the members interact through electronic devices rather than coming together in a physical place. Online meetings can be both open and closed.

The steps are the basic guidelines that help alcoholics recover. Even though they are given in a sequence, you are not necessarily required to follow the sequence. Any step can be revisited if there is a need. These steps require you to admit that you have a problem and have no control over it with a subsequent decision to amend the damage you have caused to yourself and others.

Arguments Against and Excuses to Avoid

Alcoholics Anonymous is the most trusted support group for recovering alcoholics. However, arguments against it are heard from time to time because it fails to provide any scientific basis. But the truth is, it has helped millions of people, including the non-religious ones, around the globe to recover from alcoholism. Different treatments work for different people, and it is important to find the one that works for you.

People suffering from alcoholism and alcohol use disorders often tend to come up with excuses to avoid a meeting. The reason behind it can be the discomfort associated with the idea. Stepping out of your home and attending a meeting might not seem like a very good idea at first, but you will only know about whether it works or not after attending the meetings.

Alcoholism is a life-threatening disease. It is important to do whatever is necessary to recover before it is too late.

Discover How Addiction Rehab Centers Can Help

If you or a loved one is struggling with an alcohol use disorder or addiction, reach out to Addiction Rehab Centers today at 844.910.0686. No matter what kind of alcohol addiction program you enter, you’ll find numerous therapies available, such as:

We can answer your questions and get you the support necessary to begin recovery.