Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions of people on their path to addiction recovery, but you might be wondering if the program will be a good fit for you
Alcoholics Anonymous has two primary purposes: to stay sober and help alcoholics achieve sobriety. Let’s take a closer look at the program to see if it is the right fit for you.
What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA as it is commonly known, has been around since it was founded in 1935. The organization describes its program as an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. AA is self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. Membership is open to anyone who wants help with alcoholism, regardless of age. There are also no fees or dues required to join this support group.
Who Can Join?
Alcoholics Anonymous was originally constructed to support people with alcoholism, but it has since seen more members with various substance abuse habits. While the program tends to focus on alcoholism, per its name, the 12 steps can be applied to people with drug problems as well. Today, there are over two million members currently enrolled in AA There are no age or education requirements to join. The only requisite to join an AA group is the desire to stop drinking.
Closed vs. Open Meetings
The difference between open and closed AA meetings is quite simple. Closed meetings are only for AA members, while open meetings are accessible to the public, including:
- Those who are considering joining AA and want to try it out
- Friends, family members, and spouses of AA members
Members of Alcoholics Anonymous can choose which type of meeting they’d like to attend. They can choose strictly closed meetings, open, or a combination of the two.
There are two different types of open meetings: speaker and discussion. At an open speaker meeting, the participants will describe their experience with alcohol and why they came to AA. During an open discussion meeting, one member speaks briefly about their experience with drinking and then leads an open discussion on any drinking-related problem that is brought up.
There are also two kinds of closed group meetings: discussion and step. Closed discussion meetings are conducted just as open ones are, but they are for alcoholics only. Step meetings center the discussion around one of the Twelve Steps.
Common Myths About AA
People who have never been to an AA meeting often have misconceptions about how they work. Portrayals in movies and on television aren’t always accurate, leaving you with a skewed perception of how these support groups operate. Here are a few common myths outlined by Very Well Mind that don’t generally occur:
- You have to declare that you are an alcoholic to the group.
- You have to participate in group hugs.
- AA is a cult.
- You have to pray.
- You will be surrounded by “helpful” alcoholics.
- You have to spill all of your secrets.
- You might see people you recognize.
According to an analysis conducted by Stanford School of Medicine, Alcoholics Anonymous is the most effective path to abstinence. The New York Times suggests a relatively high success rate of nearly 75 percent. Mutual support groups like AA tend to be the most beneficial for those who are already pursuing clinical treatment options.
The 12 Steps of AA
The AA Twelve Step program is one of the most famous systems in the world for helping people overcome and recover from addiction. It is believed that once all 12 steps are completed, the alcoholic is ready to move out of active recovery and into a more mentor-like role toward newer alcoholics in the program. The 12 steps are as follows:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
Is Alcoholics Anonymous Right for You?
Although millions of people have found lasting recovery through AA, it’s not going to be the perfect fit for everyone. The only way to find out if AA can help is to give it a try see how the support from others affects you. You might also want to consider the following questions:
- Do you drink to face up to stressful situations?
- Do you drink when you get mad at other people?
- Do you often prefer to drink alone, rather than with others?
- Are you starting to get low marks in school or work?
- Do you ever try to stop or drink less and fail?
- Have you begun to drink in the morning before school or work?
- Do you gulp your drinks as if to satisfy a great thirst?
- Do you ever have a loss of memory due to your drinking?
- Do you avoid being honest with others about your drinking?
- Do you ever get into trouble when you are drinking?
- Do you often get drunk when you drink, even when you do not mean to?
If you can answer yes to any of these questions, it’s time to take a look at your drinking habits and what recovery can do for you.
Let Ardu Recovery Center Help
Having a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous can be highly beneficial in aiding your recovery. However, AA is certainly no replacement for an in-patient rehabilitation facility. At Ardu Recovery Center, you’ll find more than just a support group, you’ll have around-the-clock supervision and medical care to keep up with whatever you may need while you’re going through detox and making your way toward sobriety. We tailor our program to fit your specific needs, so you’ll have a greater chance of achieving long-term success.
Contact us today to receive more information and see if Ardu could be the right fit for you. We serve the beautiful Utah County area in Utah.