Should I Go to AA Meetings?
Have you ever asked yourself should I go to AA meetings? It may be a good idea to explore why that’s even a possibility in your life. You may wonder if drinking really is a problem in your life… You may already know you’re drinking is out of control and you need some help… Or, you may have already gone to rehab and wonder if AA can help you maintain your sobriety… Whatever makes you wonder if AA is for you, finding out more about it can help you decide. AA is typically a good way to get fine like-minded people who want sobriety but it is much more effective after leaving a 12 step rehab program.
What is AA, Anyway?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a 12 Step, member run, self-help group for anyone who has a desire to eliminate alcohol use from their lives, and to continue in sobriety maintenance after they stop drinking. In fact, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. You are welcome to attend even before you give up drinking.
The program began as one alcoholic helping another, and that tradition continues today as the core dynamic of the group. This is done through listening to others speak about their recovery experiences and having fellowship with others in the group. A primary way people are helped and help others is through sponsorship.
What is an AA Sponsor?
A sponsor in AA is a member who helps another member–a recovering person who understands the issues another with an alcohol problem faces. And, a sponsor should have been in AA long enough to be able to help guide a newer person to how AA works overall as a group and how the principles of AA work in the daily life of recovery.
Many people are reluctant to go to AA meetings because they are unfamiliar with how AA works. This is one of the main reasons newcomers are encouraged to find a sponsor, although it is by no means a requirement. When you find someone that you feel you can relate to, you can simply ask that person to sponsor you. It is traditional for women to sponsor women, and men to sponsor men.
Should I Go to AA Meetings if I Don’t Believe in God?
Most people have heard that AA is a spiritual program and may know that some members talk about God and how important spiritual issues are in their recovery. This is often misinterpreted as AA itself being a religious group and that belief in God is a mandatory part of the program. This can be very off-putting to some. AA meetings can even be helpful even after attending a non 12 step rehab center because their are prinicples that help people work towards staying sober, and can give you a chance to connect with sober people in your community.
AA is not a religious program. This means there is no religious doctrine espoused and no requirement to believe in God. In fact, people of all religious backgrounds, as well as those who have no religious training or religious beliefs, participate in and benefit from AA. People are free to believe however they believe and to practice whatever religious or spiritual practices they choose. The AA literature does encourage people to rely upon the God, or Higher Power, of their own understanding. And, for those who do not have such beliefs, it is often recommended they rely upon the program or group as a higher power that has more understanding of recovery than they do.
Should I Go to AA Meetings if I’m Nervous Around People?
Feeling nervous in groups is a concern for some who consider going to AA. Many are fearful they will have to speak in the group, for example. However, you can always just listen or say ‘I pass’ if someone asks you to speak. The group will accept this easily as your right and move on.
Also, you do not have to have conversations with others at a meeting. You can simply go in, take a seat, listen through the meeting and leave when it is over. Many people attend meetings this way, and some will do so until they feel comfortable in dealing with others in conversation before or after meetings. You may be greeted at the door of a meeting by someone who is there to welcome members, but that is a simple hello and warm welcome with no other social obligation.
If you or a loved one has a problem with alcohol, AA can be very helpful. It has helped countless people get sober and stay sober. However, many need additional help, especially with safe detox and other treatment to prepare them for a sober life. If you or a loved one is ready for treatment, we can help you find good options. We offer free consultations in which we identify your needs and preferences. We will also clarify your insurance coverage.