What are the different types of meetings? How long are AA meetings? Can one attend an AA meeting online? Find out more about alcoholism recovery and how to find AA meetings near me.
What is an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting?
An AA meeting gathers a small group of individuals who have a common goal to stop abusing alcohol and achieve lifelong recovery from addiction.
The meetings are designed to support recovering alcoholics through several different ways, including the 12-step program, which addresses compulsive behavior, making amends, and learning to live an alcohol-free life.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a non-profit, volunteer-based organization. Local AA meetings are a type of mutual-help fellowship of community members. Former alcoholics run them intending to help those in recovery.
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Format
The most common AA meeting format is an informal gathering of people going through specific steps with the ultimate objective of quitting alcohol abuse. The meetings offer a supportive environment to individuals in various stages of recovery. Alcoholics who are still drinking but have a strong desire to quit are encouraged to attend. In addition, friends and family of recovering alcoholics are welcome to participate. The meetings are open to people of all ages, genders, and ethnicities. The organization does not affiliate itself with any specific political or religious group.
Do People Really Remain Anonymous at an AA Meeting?
As the name suggests, anonymity is a fundamental underlying principle of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Members are not permitted to break the anonymousness of others in their chapter. Therefore, new members can share experiences about their drinking problem in confidence and be assured their trust will not be violated. In addition, members won’t be identified in print, online, or on-air as an alcoholic. However, many members who have been in the program for a while find they have no objection to people learning about their membership and attendance of AA meetings, as this helps them stay sober. Nonetheless, an affiliation to Alcoholics Anonymous cannot be disclosed by anyone except the member.
What Are AA Online Meetings?
Some alcoholics simply do not have the time or resources to attend meetings in person. People who live in small towns and rural areas may find that searching for “AA meeting near me” returns no practical results. For the benefit of such individuals, in addition to the AA meetings list in the local area, members around the world provide support 24 hours a day, seven days a week through e-mail, chat, online forums, and AA group phone calls. This is a quick and confidential way to get immediate help for a drinking problem.
A suitable chapter can be found in an online AA meeting directory. New members can join a chapter located anywhere in the world. Group sizes vary from as few as 30 members to several hundred. A site administrator maintains current addresses and calls meetings to order. Even in cyberspace, the singular purpose of the AA online meetings remains recovery from alcoholism based on the 12 steps.
The online NA meetings are also a great alternative to the traditional therapies in times of the COVID-19 pandemic. The addiction treatment during coronavirus is essential for many patients who have already undergone recovery and those who only want to start it.
Postponing rehabilitation can worsen addiction and the accompanying side effects, making living unbearable.
How To Find AA Meetings Near Me?
If anyone is looking for any gathering of alcoholics anonymous near me, then the Addiction Resource locator tool is the right option. Through this tool, people can find all AA meetings nearby based on the location needed. This tool is easy to use, and it provides individuals with a user-friendly interface and various options.
Some of the Benefits and Options that It Offers are Listed Below:
- The tool allows to enter a location and find facilities of alcoholics anonymous near me.
- People can view all the variety of meetings as markers on Google Maps.
- One can click on any marker to find the meeting name, phone number, timings, and other related information.
- The tool uses the user’s current location and provides accurate navigation and directions to the AA meeting on foot, by car, or public transport.
- This locator allows one to decide which meeting one would like to join based on how convenient it is and how well it suits one’s requirements and schedule.
- The tool allows searching for any AA meetings near me today by simply searching for a city, zip code, or current location.
- Its user-friendly interface provides an excellent experience for anyone looking for AA meetings near me.
This locator tool can save users the time and energy to search for AA meetings through other sources when they can do the same using this tool with minimum effort, time, and hassle.
How and When Did AA Meetings Near Me Start?
The underlying principles of Alcoholics Anonymous are based on a Christian self-help organization known as the Oxford Group. Ohio resident Bill Wilson began using these principles to try and help others with drinking problems after his long struggle with alcoholism resulted in personal and professional disruption. His first success came when he used this faith-based alcoholism treatment on Dr. Robert Smith on June 10, 1935, the official date of the first AA meeting.
The two men founded the organization Alcoholics Anonymous in 1937 by breaking away from the Oxford Group. Several decades later, the organization has become a global phenomenon, helping millions of people overcome their alcohol dependence.
It is now possible to find AA meetings near me today in every corner of the world. An estimated 115,000 groups in 150 nations using Alcoholics Anonymous promises, prayers, AA daily reflections and other methods to turn lives around.
Does Attending AA Work?
Around the world, millions of people put their faith in Alcoholics Anonymous. As a result, several studies have tried to gauge the effectiveness of AA meetings.
Here’s What the Recent Research Data Says:
- More people recover from alcohol addiction through Alcoholics Anonymous than any other program. AA has an estimated membership of 20 million worldwide.
- Up to 50 percent of long-term active Alcoholics Anonymous members achieve total abstinence, and nearly 70 percent drink less during participation.
- Involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous for 1 to 3 years following addiction treatment increases the rate of abstinence by 35 percent with an enduring effect on abstinent lifestyle from AA-based supportive networks.
- Abstinence rates are twice as high among those who attend AA meetings as those who do not. Abstinence is also higher in those with a higher number, frequency, and duration of meeting attendance.
- Participation in AA provides long-term benefits. Individuals who participated for at least 27 weeks had better alcohol-related outcomes 16 years later.
- Attending an AA meeting three or more times per week is more likely to result in complete abstinence, but even one or two sessions can result in a sharp decrease in drinking.
- Any pattern of involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous is better than little to zero participation. Added value is obtained from higher initial attendance. Maintaining an AA sponsor over time has additional benefits above the attendance of meetings.
- One study compared individuals who received AA help, formal addiction treatment, or both and found outcomes were better in the AA-only group at one and three years.
- Alcoholics who participate in a 12-step program in addition to formal addiction treatment have almost twice the chance of recovery compared to those who receive traditional therapy alone.
- A study compared alcoholism treatment methods and found that abstinent days were significantly more after 12-step facilitation than cognitive-behavioral therapy at 1 and 3 years.
- Intensive referrals to AA meetings with more involvement are associated with significantly higher abstinence rates than standard referrals.
- Men and women have similar AA attendance rates and abstinence goals, but women are more likely to be abstinent and more likely to continue AA participation over time.
- A significantly higher percentage of alcohol-dependent adolescents were found to be abstinent after completing an AA-based treatment program than non-completers.
Types of AA Meetings
The program includes meetings in varying formats to address all the issues alcoholics deal with and provide comprehensive alcoholism help.
The Following Abbreviations, a.k.a. AA Meeting Legends, Will be Helpful to Better Understand The Upcoming AA Meeting Type:
|O||Open (Anyone welcome)|
|C||Closed (For those with a desire to stop drinking)|
|BB||Big Book Study|
|12||Twelve & Twelve Study|
|AB||As Bill Sees It|
Here’s a Brief Description of the Types of Meetings Held by Alcoholics Anonymous Chapters:
AA Open Meetings
Both alcoholics and their friends and family members can attend an open meeting, although only the person struggling with alcoholism can speak. For people who are unsure whether the program is right for them, attending an open forum is the best way to learn more. The meeting usually follows social interaction with coffee, soft drinks, cookies, and cake.
What is a Closed AA Meeting?
Closed meetings are limited to current and prospective members of the program only. Guests are not permitted to attend. These meetings are an opportunity for members to discuss specific aspects of their alcoholism with others who have gone through similar experiences.
The person leading the group chooses a topic for an AA meeting and leads the discussion based on their personal experiences. Members are encouraged to discuss their drinking-related problems and any issues related to recovery.
This type of AA meeting allows chosen members to tell their stories and describe the effect of alcohol on their life. The member also talks about their experience with the program itself and the changes it has brought about.
This is a type of meeting in which a panel of members makes a presentation to a group of professionals, for example, doctors, to educate them about what the program can and cannot do. In addition, this is an opportunity for professionals to learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous through the panel members’ experiences. A question and answer session is usually included at the end of the presentation.
AA meeting topics are chosen from the Big Book. This book, written by founder Bill W, outlines the program’s philosophy. Copies of the book are supplied to attendees for the meeting duration. In addition, some groups make individual copies of the Big Book available to all new members, which allows members to make personal notations alongside the text.
Question and Answer
The AA meeting schedule may include a question and answer meeting where the floor is open for questions or where members are asked to write down their questions on a piece of paper and place them in a basket that is passed around. The group leader reads out the questions, and participants answer them based on their experiences.
12 Steps Study
This type of meeting focuses on some aspects of the 12-step method. These are usually closed meetings where there is a discussion on one of the 12 steps that are the program’s foundation.
What to Expect from an AA Meeting?
The basic structure of all AA chapters is similar, but because local volunteers run each chapter, the level of experience varies. In addition, the demographic of the people who attend the meeting affect the conversation’s discussion and direction. For example, a program for teenagers will address the specific problems faced by this age group. Finally, depending on the type of meeting, the group may study one of the 12 steps in-depth, read text from the Alcoholics Anonymous book and learn some spiritual practices like the Serenity Prayer.
Experts may be called to talk about certain aspects of recovery and treatment. The schedule is usually flexible, and the group leader decides topics for AA meetings depending on the most pressing need of the attendees.
What is an AA Meeting Like?
Members are encouraged to introduce themselves with the familiar phrase, “I am (name), and I am an alcoholic.” This helps newcomers feel comfortable and develop a sense of belonging to the group. Although all members are encouraged to speak in the meeting, it is not compulsory to talk. Cross-talk is discouraged, and each member is given a chance to share their individual experience uninterrupted. In addition, members can share their experiences without fear of judgment — the group leader moderates the discussion about preventing it from going off track.
Sometimes, enthusiastic and friendly older members may offer support and encouragement and even share their phone numbers with newbies. However, new members are not required to develop friendships outside the AA meeting if this feels inappropriate or uncomfortable.
Rules For New Members
New members are assigned a sponsor to support their recovery from alcoholism. The sponsorship program is designed to provide a social element to Alcoholics Anonymous. It helps people remain strong when temptation strikes. A member’s sponsor stands by a policy of total abstinence and offers encouragement as needed.
What Not to Expect From AA Meeting Group
It is important to note that AA meetings do not make medical diagnoses or offer detox and alcohol addiction treatment advice. The meetings also do not provide housing, jobs, food, or clothing to recovering alcoholics and do not help financially with any accumulated debts. In addition, letters of reference are typically not provided for parole officers, courts, lawyers, and social agencies. However, individual groups may choose to cooperate and provide proof of attendance at AA meetings. Each group has autonomy in deciding whether to sign court slips, etc., but this is not standard.
Commitments and Cost of AA Meetings
The desire to quit alcohol must come from the person fighting alcoholism. Alcoholics Anonymous does not provide initial motivation, and the organization does not solicit members. The strength of program three is the voluntary nature of the membership.
There are no fees, charges, or financial obligations of any sort to attend meetings. Even a flat broke person can join the nearest local chapter, which can be found with a quick AA meeting near me search in the locator tool. However, the program does accept donations to remain independently supported. For example, local groups may “pass the hat” to cover the cost of coffee and sandwiches.
A unique feature of Alcoholics Anonymous is the absence of rules and regulations. The organization does not follow up on members or try to control them in any way. No one checks to see if a member is drinking. Although most members attend at least one meeting a week, there is no commitment to attend a certain number of future meetings. No attendance records are maintained. There is no obligation to go to a hospital, detox center, or addiction treatment facility. Membership does not require allegiance to any sect, political party, or institution. The only commitment required is a continuing desire to become abstinent.
Unruly members may be asked to leave a meeting but will be welcomed when they are no longer disruptive.
Joining an AA Meeting Near Me Today
The process of joining Alcoholics Anonymous is relatively simple. No formal membership is required to participate in meetings. At the first meeting, a person with drinking problems can sign the AA meeting sheet, attend the proceedings, and consider themselves a member. The program is open to individuals from all walks of life, regardless of age, gender, race, profession, or social status.
The only requirement is a strong desire to overcome alcoholism by joining the informal fellowship and using the experience and support of former alcoholics to become sober.
Anyone can attend an AA meeting near me, but only members with an alcohol problem may attend closed meetings and 12-step meetings. Friends and family who participate in open meetings are not considered AA members unless they are alcoholics who desire to stop drinking.
Local AA chapters may have some policies or restrictions; for example, some programs may admit only women.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an effective way to quit drinking for anyone who desires to do that, so don’t hesitate to look for AA meetings near me today and join their gathering to start living sober.