Alcoholics Anonymous And How It Begun
Continuously providing help and support to alcoholic addicted persons for 80 years is what Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) does best. Founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith (who both were recovering alcoholics), Alcoholics Anonymous were started as a community fellowship for recovering alcoholics to encourage them to stay sober. There are 12 traditions that were put in place to help define the reason for the group's existence but first, the famous 12 steps were introduced to help give the meetings some direction. The original steps developed by the pair are still intact while many former alcoholics have credited the group for the help they received during their recovery.
Presently, Alcoholics Anonymous can boast of more than 2 million active members throughout the world and more than 50,000 groups nationwide.
What To Expect From AA
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. It however gets easy becomes all the members share a common experience like yours. The founders of the AA were themselves alcoholics and the groups follow the original model to this day. Sharing a common experience of being alcoholics is what makes AA successful in its objective and mission.
At each AA meeting, the attendees are welcomed to join the group. The best way to recover is through opening up about your journey but it is not mandatory to speak in the meetings. Not everyone will be open to exposing their private experiences at first and everyone will understand this. During the meetings, the people present will openly discuss various issues about their lives and this helps many of them to find peace.
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Closed Vs Open Gatherings
Only the people that are struggling with alcohol addiction are the ones allowed to attend the closed meetings in AA.
Open meetings welcome also spouses, friends, and family members of the addicts. You have the option of deciding whether you want to attend a closed meeting or an open meeting depending on your comfort level within the organisation. A certain share of the people attending these meetings prefer to keep their therapy separated from the rest of their lives. However, some people recover faster when their families and friends are near them.
The 12 Steps Of AA
The 12 steps originated in Alcoholics Anonymous, have become the standard for almost all addiction recovery groups. Though steps are taught to one leading to the next (linear), the members experience them as a circle of events. Some of the steps mentioned could be revisited until the recovering alcoholic is comfortable during that stage of their recovery process.
Accepting the fact that you are suffering from alcoholism is usually the first stage you go through. 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. More on the 12 steps can be found here
Withdrawal symptoms and other uncomfortable things one goes through as they try to quit alcohol abuse discourage many from attending the AA meetings. Some of their common objections are the following
- They doubt that attending the meeting will help
- They are afraid of confronting someone they know
- They are not certain whether they have a problem
Knowing the main objective of attending the meeting will help you overcome some of these excuses and recover from your addiction.
If you suspect that the problem exists, you're probably right. There will be no harm for you if you go to a meeting; besides, it can potentially save you from years of suffering caused by your addiction.
Finding An Alcoholics Anonymous Group Near You
There is always an AA group close to where you live. The meetings held many times so you can catch the next one soon. 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. If you're looking for an AA group, we can assist you to find one just contact 0800 772 3971.