Alcoholics Anonymous has about 115,00 groups around the world.
Socialization and Support
Socialization can play a big role in a person’s alcohol use. If you surround yourself with people who drink frequently and regularly encourage others to drink, you’ll have a low probability of staying sober. If, however, you surround yourself with people that will abstain from alcohol and encourage you to do the same, you’re far more likely to maintain your sobriety. You’ll realize that you have options other than drinking alcohol when you want to socialize. You may even begin to discover new hobbies and outings that you can enjoy without the help of alcohol. AA meetings give you a different group context from the one that you may be used to. These are just a few of the reasons why AA works for recovering alcoholics. The increased accountability combined with support from the group gives participants a better chance of success.
Spirituality as Part of Recovery
Spirituality has, at the very least, anecdotal evidence for its role in alcoholism recovery. Religion and spirituality provide people with a source of inner strength, a sense of divine purpose, and reason to become the best versions of themselves. All of these benefits can help with recovery, and many people have cited their spiritual journeys as sources for recovery.
AA has a deeply spiritual background. Many of the 12 Steps mention a “Higher Power.” AA meetings don’t demand that this Higher Power be specific to one religion or dogma. Rather, the Steps require members to submit themselves to the care of God “as [they understand] Him.” This sense of spirituality can provide peace and comfort, giving participants a better state of mind for maintaining their sobriety.
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Long Term Consistency
Consistency is the key to almost any endeavor, and AA meetings provide the consistency that alcoholics need to thrive. While short-term rehab programs are often vital for recovery, a person may feel lost after he or she graduates. Going from a highly structured schedule to a world without rules can make anybody wonder what to do next. AA meetings can fill in the gap, providing a like-minded community. Members are encouraged to keep attending meetings on a long-term basis. Recovery becomes a central focus for recovering alcoholics when they have regular opportunities to check in with AA groups.
AA provides even more consistency with sponsorships. Newly-recovering alcoholics can seek a sponsor, a consistently sober AA member who will mentor them through the 12 Step process. Sponsors make themselves available for help and advice in between meetings, giving those whom they sponsor a way to keep consistency in accountability.
Consistent motivation keeps people moving towards a goal, and breaking goals into smaller chunks can make a goal seem more accessible. AA meetings provide members with motivation and achievable goals. AA gives different-colored poker chips to recovering alcoholics as symbols of achievement. Members can receive these chips:
- White, or the “surrender chip” for new members
- Red for one month sober
- Emerald for three months sober
- Blue for six months sober
- Green for ten months sober
- Bronze for one year sober
The above are just some of the chips that AA members can earn for sobriety. These chips provide a tangible source of motivation. Another month of sobriety means a new AA chip, and sometimes the idea of earning this “reward” is enough to keep struggling members on track.
Could Alcoholics Anonymous Help You?
Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions of people find and keep up with their sobriety, and you could certainly become one of those people. If you need help with an alcohol addiction, you can search for AA meetings in your area. You’ll find no shortage of meetings, and it won’t be long before you settle into your home group.
What If You Need More Help?
Wading through your recovery options can be a difficult and often frustrating process. You may have a lot of unanswered questions like “Can I go to rehab and AA meetings?” or “Should I go to AA or NA?”