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What To Expect From Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

Founded in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step programme designed to help those with alcohol addiction or alcohol use disorder.

It is a place to share experiences with other people with alcohol use issues. The programme encourages life without alcohol – and has over two million members.

Alcoholics Anonymous, often shortened to AA, is an organisation that hosts regular meetings for those recovering from addiction to alcohol. Although some people use AA as an alternative to rehab, most people will attend meetings after completing rehab as a form of secondary treatment.

What Are AA Meetings?

Alcoholics Anonymous is classed as an international mutual aid fellowship. Like many other programmes, AA focuses on abstinence-based recovery through a twelve-step programme. However, unlike many other addiction treatment services, AA is completely free and self-supporting. That being said, you may be asked for a voluntary donation.

AA meetings can be open or closed. Most meetings are closed, which means that only AA members can attend. AA meetings generally involve discussions – somebody will lead the meeting and choose what topics are going to be covered.

Many meetings focus on just one topic, whereas others will have a variety of topics open for discussion. You can find 12-step study groups (where you study the twelve steps), beginner’s meetings, or topical discussion meetings. Beginners meetings can teach you all you need to know about AA, and what to expect from further sessions.

Open AA meetings, on the other hand, are open to anybody. Open meetings give you a platform to practice gratitude and share your story, worries, or doubts. These meetings also give you a chance to listen to other people’s stories regarding alcoholism.

Different centres will host different meetings – some will focus on talking, whereas others will involve more listening. Some are connected to a certain treatment programme, whereas others tend to be more religious. This could be why there’s a misconception that AA is a cult.

There are many types of meetings. You can find AA meetings for women only or men only, meetings that are inclusive to just young people, Big Book meetings (that discuss the Big Book/ “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions”) – and many more. Be sure to research local AA meetings in your area if you’re interested in taking the first step into AA.

If you’re looking for other secondary treatment such as extended counselling or group therapy, we can help. Contact our dedicated team at Help4Addiction today to learn more about alcohol rehab and addiction treatment.

Not all meetings have to be in person – some local facilities offer virtual meetings as well as phone calls and emails.

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Attending Your First AA Meeting

Attending your first meeting may feel overwhelming – especially if you don’t know what to expect. You may be reluctant to take the first step or be worried about what is going to happen during the meeting.

During meetings, newcomers are usually invited to share, but it isn’t a requirement. These meetings provide a safe space for individuals from all walks of life to share their experiences – and it can be comforting to know that you’re not alone with your addiction to drinking.

To avoid upsetting people or coming across as rude, be sure to avoid cross-talk while other people are talking. Be sure to actively listen throughout the duration of the meeting, and expect this to be reciprocated if you choose to speak.

Don’t be deterred by the religious references – if you aren’t religious and don’t believe in God, you may be put off by the talk of ‘God’. However, Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t affiliated with any religion in particular – but is considered a spiritual organisation.

AA is not classed as a particularly religious organisation – any references to ‘God’ refer simply to a higher power – despite the fact that some meetings take place in a church setting.

You don’t have to be religious to attend AA meetings. The only requirement to attend Alcoholics Anonymous is the desire to stop drinking. Even if you aren’t 100% sure that you’re addicted to alcohol (an alcoholic), you’d be more than welcome to attend an AA programme.

How To Find An AA Meeting

The local helpline number in Great Britain for Alcoholics Anonymous is 0800 9177650. They can point you in the direction of the currently registered online meetings.

Likewise, our team at Help4Addiction can help you find a meeting and the best secondary treatment – and can help family, friends and anyone interested in AA and recovering from addiction.

Likewise, a quick search online can indicate the locations of meetings. This can help you find an English-speaking meeting within a short distance so you don’t have to travel for miles. You can also find a Zoom meeting, which is convenient if you lead a busy lifestyle.

AA is intended for alcoholics in recovery. If you’re in recovery from drug addiction/ want to break your addiction to drugs, you could attend a service similar to AA – Narcotics Anonymous.

Why Attend Alcoholics Anonymous?

If you want to break your addiction to alcohol, our professionals can find the right treatment facilities for you. With treatment facilities located all around the UK, from London to Liverpool and Newcastle, we can find the right alcohol rehab centre for you.

Many people choose to attend AA after completing rehab to stay on the right track and receive support and encouragement to prevent relapsing.

Millions of people have credited their alcohol addiction recovery to Alcoholics Anonymous, and although it may work for everybody, it’s certainly worth giving it a go. You don’t have to pay to attend Alcoholics Anonymous – there are no dues or fees, and you don’t even have to talk and share your story with others if you don’t want to.

About Author

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn

Nicholas Conn is a leading industry addiction expert who runs the UK’s largest addiction advisory service and is regularly featured in the national press, radio and TV. He is the founder and CEO of a drug and alcohol rehab center called Help4addiction, which was founded in 2015. He has been clean himself since 2009 and has worked in the Addiction and Rehab Industry for over a decade. Nick is dedicated to helping others recover and get treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. In 2013, he released a book ‘The Thin White’ line that is available on Amazon.

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