Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as AA, is an organization founded in 1935 that utilizes camaraderie and a set of 12 defined steps to assist those struggling with an addiction to alcohol. Since its inception, the group has grown to include chapters across the world, and its core tenets are incorporated in a variety of substance abuse treatment and recovery programs. What to expect at an AA meeting will depend on a number of factors, but all who are interested in a life free from addiction are welcome.
What is an AA Meeting?
AA uses meetings as its primary method of bringing alcoholics together in recovery. Location does not define what is an AA meeting as meetings are often held in churches and non-profit business locations; however, they can literally be held anywhere. From large cities to small towns, people struggling with an addiction to alcohol can typically find an AA meeting nearby, even if the meeting only consists of a few people. According to AA itself, the only requirement for membership is a desire to recover from alcohol addiction.
What is an AA Meeting Like?
If you’re wondering what is an AA meeting like, you’re not alone. At the core of AA is anonymity among members and meeting attendees. As a result, people at an AA meeting will often only identify themselves and others using a first name and possibly a last initial. Some meetings will be led by a speaker or group leader, but others will be less formal and involve open discussion among attendees. During open discussion, attendees are able to share their personal experiences with the group, and afterward, members may approach new attendees to engage in individual conversations.
Becoming a sponsor or approaching someone to become a sponsee is another part of what to expect at an AA meeting. A sponsor is an AA member who has worked the 12 steps and is interested in helping those who are interested in working the steps themselves. A sponsee can typically call or meet with a sponsor during times of temptation or relapse during recovery.
What Happens at an AA Meeting?
What happens at an AA meeting often comes down to what type of meeting it is. Some meetings are designed for seasoned members who have worked or are working the 12 steps of the program, but others are intended for newcomers who have not formally committed to joining. There are also meetings that place a focus on studying the Big Book, a collection of teachings and writings from AA founders and veterans of the program. In many cases, meetings will be held numerous times per week with different days designated to concentrate on one type of meeting or another in order to serve a diverse community.
Although loved ones of alcoholics may wonder what happens at an AA meeting, these individuals are usually encouraged to attend support groups for loved ones of addicts instead of AA meetings directly. Al-Anon is one of the largest organizations in the world that specifically addresses the issues surrounding relationships non-addicts have with addicts. These meetings can offer an overview of what is an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting like while caring for the unique needs of family and friends of alcoholics.
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