Founded in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-step program 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, and encourages life without alcohol – and has over two million members.
You may have heard about Alcoholics Anonymous, and you may even have an understanding of what Alcoholics Anonymous is – but do you know what to expect from AA meetings? What should you expect from your first meeting? And what exactly do AA meetings entail?
We’ve got you covered – read on to learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous and what to expect from Alcoholics Anonymous meetings so that you can get help for your alcohol addiction.
What Are AA Meetings?
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 Alcoholics Anonymous meetings after completing rehab as a form of secondary treatment.
Alcoholics Anonymous is classed as an international mutual aid fellowship. Like many other programs, AA focuses on abstinence-based recovery through a twelve-step program.
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.
Alcoholics Anonymous 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), beginners 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 share your story, worries, or doubts – and 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 program, whereas others tend to be more religious.
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. If you’re worried about face-to-face meetings after covid, you’ll be glad to know that some local facilities offer virtual meetings as well as phone calls and emails.
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.
Thankfully, we’re going to tell you all you need to know when attending your first meeting. Read on to learn more about what to expect from AA meetings, and for some tips on making your first meeting go smoothly.
Many people have the idea that you have to share your story in front of everybody in an AA meeting – but this isn’t the case. You may be invited to share, but it certainly isn’t a requirement. It is 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 avoid upsetting people or coming across as rude, be sure to avoid cross-talk while other people are talking. Be sure to actively listen when people are talking, 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, or wanting to get control of your drinking problem. 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 program.
When attending your first AA meeting, you may notice that people come into the session late but leave early. This is a bad habit – if you do this, you aren’t making the most out of the sessions. Instead, try getting there on time and actively listening to what people have to say.
Some people will meet up with other members after the session and go and get lunch or coffee. This is a great way of making friends with other individuals in a similar situation to you – and can be a great way of receiving support and encouragement. After all, you don’t need to go out drinking to make friends, and you don’t need alcohol to have fun.
How To Find An AA Meeting
With AA meetings occurring all over the country, it can be overwhelming trying to choose the right one for you. If you ask your primary care physician, your mental health professional, they can point you in the direction of your local AA program.
Likewise, our team at Help4Addiction can help you find the best secondary treatment, whether it be support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, group therapy, or counselling.
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.
Narcotics Anonymous (UKNA or simply NA) follows a similar structure to AA but focuses on breaking the addiction to narcotics such as cocaine. Like AA is a group that helps those addicted to alcohol, NA is a group that can help those addicted to drugs.
Why Attend Alcoholics Anonymous?
If you want to break your addiction to alcohol, we 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.