When you are ready to address your drinking problem, learning about Alcoholics Anonymous can help you make it a valuable part of your recovery process.
The main reason Alcoholics Anonymous is interesting, effective, and often successful is that it is a peer-support program. If you are struggling with alcoholism, you may feel that no one understands you. When you become involved in A.A., you will find others who understand what you feel and think, and your experiences. This can provide a recovery-oriented foundation for the present, and hope for your future. A.A. will show you that you are not alone, and that you, too, can succeed.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12-Step program. Each specific part or phase of the program is known as a step. Each step contributes something positive to an alcoholic’s recovery. As an example, Step One consists of the alcoholic admitting he is powerless over alcohol, and that his drinking has made his life unmanageable.
The steps coincide with learning to trust and rely on your Higher Power. While many A.A. members consider God to be their Higher Power, you are not required to have any specific beliefs, or any religion. Your approach to a Higher Power is entirely up to you.
Throughout the steps, you will examine yourself and your life, ask your Higher Power for help in making necessary changes, make amends to people you have harmed in the past, and help carry the message of hope to other alcoholics who are still suffering.
One important part of the A.A. program is a sponsor. A sponsor is a person who has quality sobriety. His or her role is to guide you through the steps. A good approach to acquiring a sponsor is to listen to people share in the meetings, and choose someone you trust and respect. It is strongly advised for newcomers to choose a sponsor of their own gender.
Meetings are a valuable part of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. While open meetings are available to anyone who wishes to attend, closed meetings are only for alcoholics. Although you are not required to do so, you will also have the option of choosing a home group.
A.A. meetings are for the purpose of members sharing their strength, hope, and experience. People share about their drinking problems, and how their drinking affected their lives, as well as the experiences they have had with recovery. While you are not obligated to share, your sharing is beneficial to yourself and to others. Newcomers have as much to contribute to A.A. as members who have been involved with the program for many years.
The desire to stop drinking is the only requirement. You will find people who are still drinking but wish to stop, as well as members with longterm sobriety. There are no dues or fees for participating in A.A.
Regardless of your stage in recovery, A.A. is useful. However, as a peer-support program, it is also important to note what A.A. is not. The entire scope of Alcoholics Anonymous is alcoholics helping other alcoholics in the journey to sobriety. It is not meant to replace professional help. If you need alcohol addiction treatment, medical or mental health services, or any other type of professional assistance, these issues should be directed to professionals in that particular field.
Second, 12-Step programs are not meant to be social or dating networks. If you want the best chance for recovery, A.A. is not the place for intimate relationships, and your social life should not be confined to Alcoholics Anonymous. Unfortunately, you may find individuals who attempt to take advantage of newcomers.
Avoiding unnecessary problems begins with obtaining A.A. literature, and choosing a sponsor. You can be on the path to successful recovery from the beginning.
Alcoholics Anonymous has existed for decades, helping people all around the world to get and stat sober. If you are ready to stop drinking, or have already quit, A.A. can be an asset to your recovery process.