How Alcoholics Anonymous Started
Continuously providing help and support to alcoholic addicted persons for 80 years is what Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) does best. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith both of whom were alcoholics, aiming to encourage others to quit and remain sober. The two came up with what is known as the 12 Steps to guide the meetings which later gave birth to the "12 traditions" that set out the reason for the AA's existence. Many former alcoholics believe the group was instrumental in helping them remain sober and the group still uses the original 12 steps in its meetings.
There are more than 50,000 AA groups in America alone and over 2 million members in the world.
What Happens At An AA Meeting
Arriving at the decision to go to an AA meeting can be scary and very uncomfortable, especially for people who don't realise what to expect from it. Opening up about your condition to people that you have just met is always the hard part for the new members. Fortunately, every participant within AA is fully aware about how the other feels. It must be understood that the organisation was founded by recovering alcoholics, and the model has served the community well even to this day. Everybody in the AA programs even those running them has gone through the program at some point, so they empathize with members.
At each AA meeting, the attendees are welcomed to join the group. While a discussion among new attendees is certainly encouraged it is not essential. Not everyone will be open to exposing their private experiences at first and everyone will understand this. In the course of time, most of the attendees realise great healing power of the open honest debating at these meetings.
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Closed Vs Open Gatherings
Only recovering alcoholics or those trying to get on the path to recovery are allowed to attend closed AA meetings.
On the other hand, friends, spouses and family members are welcome to attend open meetings. You may choose the type of meeting you feel comfortable attending. This is mainly because some people do not want to involve their families and friends in their struggle with alcoholism and the recovery process. Other people appreciate the support provided by their loved ones during these meetings.
The 12 Stages
Alcoholics Anonymous is the first group that came up with the 12 stages of achieving addiction recovery which is currently being used by other communities. The steps are meant to be followed as a cycle although they are listed linearly. The member needs to be comfortable with every step before they can move to the next stage.
The initial step requires an alcoholic to admit that he or she has a problem and needs help to overcome the same. Following steps are consciously deciding you want to stop the habit; accepting your wrongs and those others did to you; correcting your mistakes; committing to keep on the road to recovery. You can read more about the 12 steps here.
Objections To AA
It is normal for a person to try and find reasons not to attend the meetings especially if they don't feel comfortable yet. Some of the common oppositions which people have in mind are
- They doubt that attending the meeting will help
- The guilt of meeting familiar faces
- They are not certain whether they have a problem
It is important at this stage to focus on the fact that you have genuine reasons for having considered going to the meetings in the first place even if the other reasons are weighing heavily on you.
Accepting your condition and seeking help is the main objective. Attending a meeting may end up saving you a lifetime of pain and destruction brought about by the addiction to alcohol.
Identifying An Alcoholics Anonymous Group
Regardless of where you are living you will not have any difficulties in finding an AA group within the locality. There is usually a schedule of meetings for each group; it is best to join as soon as you can. You should make a decision about whether you want to attend an open or closed meeting and also choose the location you have in mind, and you will definitely find one online through our meeting finder. Contact us on 0800 772 3971 today and we'll help you find an AA group that will suit you best.