When talking about addiction, one of the most commonly discussed terms is AA. This stands for Alcoholics Anonymous and was first founded way back in 1935 operated by the Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. With an estimated two million members in over 189 nations around the globe, this program is unlike any other.
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What is Alcohol Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is considered a fellowship of alcoholics who come together to mutually obtain lifelong sobriety. Membership is available to all individuals who are looking for help, and there’s no cost to attend a local AA meeting. The central office of Alcoholics Anonymous is located in New York, but you can find groups near you. The success structure of Alcoholics Anonymous is sought through a 12-step, spiritual approach.
What Does AA Treat?
Alcoholics Anonymous helps to treat individuals who can’t control their alcohol use. With the help of group meetings, guiding traditions, and a 12-step program, AA members are able to share their experiences and overcome their alcohol addiction. Those who successfully complete the 12-step program are able to fully develop a satisfying life without alcohol use.
Who Does AA Help?
AA helps those who are unable to control their alcohol use and, in turn, helps those in their day-to-day lives. Most AA meetings are considered closed, where only AA members can attend. Through mutual learning and sharing, anyone who is dealing with alcohol abuse can receive help from Alcoholics Anonymous.
However, AA does hold some open meetings from time to time that even non-members can attend. These are considered speaker meetings where a particular AA member will tell their story so that attendees can get a better understanding of alcoholism and overcoming it.
How Does AA Work?
Alcoholics Anonymous works by surrounding those addicted to alcohol abuse with those who are overcoming or have already overcome their addiction. All AA programs are run by former alcoholics who are interested in helping others overcome their own alcohol addiction.
All of those who decide to join the Alcoholics Anonymous program will be advised to undergo the group’s 12-step program. All parts of this renowned program are described in detail within the Big Book, which is considered the bible of the organization. These steps include all of the following:
- Admit that life has become unmanageable, and you’re powerless over alcohol.
- Believe that a power greater than yourself could restore you to sanity.
- Decide to overturn your life and will to the care of God.
- Construct a fearless moral inventory of yourself.
- Admit to yourself, another human being, and God the exact nature of your wrongdoings.
- Be ready to let God remove all the defects of your character.
- Ask God to humbly remove your shortcomings.
- Formulate a list of those who you’ve harmed.
- Make direct amends to all the people that you’ve harmed.
- Constantly take a personal inventory and freely admit when you’re wrong.
- Utilize meditation and prayer to improve your conscious contact with God.
- Undergo a spiritual awakening as the result of the steps that you’ve taken and continue to carry your message to other alcoholics who are suffering.
Those who successfully complete this 12-step program will be able to live a happier and more fulfilling life. However, these steps are never truly finished in the eyes of AA members. Rather, most refer back to these steps to assist them on their endless journey through life’s ups and downs.
The Twelve Traditions
Apart from the twelve steps, the Big Book also outlines twelve traditions. These are seen as guidelines that help sculpt the relationships between members, groups, the entire AA Fellowship, and society in general. Each AA group is run with these 12 basic traditions in mind:
- Personal recovery depends on unity.
- There is only one ultimate authority, which is a loving God. Our leaders are trusted servants and don’t govern.
- The only requirement for program membership is the desire to stop drinking.
- All groups should be autonomous.
- AA’s primary goal is to carry its message to the alcoholic who is suffering.
- AA groups never lend, endorse, or finance their name to protect against the prestige, which can divert the program’s primary purpose.
- AA groups must decline outside contributions. Only self-supporting contributions can be accepted.
- AA will remain nonprofessional forever. Professionalism is defined as the occupation of counseling alcoholics.
- AA ought never to be organized.
- AA has no opinion on issues outside of the group itself.
- AA is about attraction rather than promotion.
- Anonymity helps AA to place principles before personalities.
Who is AA Right for?
Alcoholics Anonymous is perfect for anyone who wants to stop drinking. This membership program is not intended to be a one-meeting-and-done program. Rather, it’s designed for those who have come to their own self-conclusion that they have a drinking problem that they’re unable to control on their own.
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a treatment facility or a rehab center. Rather, AA focuses helps recovering alcoholics live a better way of life. If you’re looking for a treatment facility with health care professionals to help you overcome with alcohol addiction or substance abuse, Long Island Interventions can help you.
What is Group Therapy, and What are Its Benefits?
Group therapy happens at closed AA meetings. Unlike open meetings where there is a designated speaker, closed AA meetings are intended to allow all members to share their experience and ponder upon daily reflections. Members will talk about their common condition and their goals for overcoming it.
These self-help groups provide a ton of great benefits to AA members that play a large role in helping members achieve sobriety. Probably the most significant benefit of this group therapy setup is that it allows those suffering from alcoholism to know that they’re not alone.
It’s easy to turn inward and think that you’re the only one with a problem. Attending a group session can allow you to physically see others who are going through what you are. Just knowing that there are others out there who have similar experiences with you and have overcome it can make your situation seem more bearable than ever before.
During group sessions, participants will share various tactics that they’ve used along their journeys. This is great for those who are looking for additional tools to put into their toolbox, so to say. You can discover new tactics that can help to invigorate the progress of your own journey and put the flame back into your fight.
Another great benefit of group therapy is that it gives you a sense of accountability. Other members will expect you to be there, and, as a natural human being, you don’t want to let them down. These AA groups can serve as a necessary usual in the lives of suffering alcoholics who have lost everything else, like family and their job.
Where Can I Go for AA Meetings?
AA meetings are held in person, online meetings, and even over the phone through a hotline. AA membership is free, the only requirement is your desire to stop drinking. Finding a meeting starts with using one of the main sources provided by Alcoholics Anonymous.
You can visit their website at www.AA.org to search for a local meeting by your zip code. Or you can download The Meeting Guide App on both Android and Apple devices to do a quick search. You can subscribe on their email newsletters for upcoming events and latest news. If you’re a recovered alcoholic who wants to help others, or want to make a contribution through financial means, please feel free to reach to AA. You too can help in changing lives.
How Does AA Help Families?
The literature from Alcoholics Anonymous can help family members affected by an alcoholic better understand the illness of alcoholism. Even attending an open AA meeting can be a great way for family and friends to learn more about the condition.
Apart from helping to better understand what an alcoholic is going through and why they make act certain ways, AA helps families by assisting alcoholics on their journey to sobriety. As part of the 12-step program, members are encouraged to make direct amends to those who they have hurt. This step alone can help mend families and allow all members to move forward toward a more fulfilling relationship in the future.
If you or someone you know may be struggling with addiction, be sure to contact Long Island Interventions for more information on addiction help. We can help you connect with Alcoholic Anonymous groups in your area as well. Begin your recovery and start healing today!