Alcoholics Anonymous or AA, is the de facto 12-step fellowship for those recovering from substance use disorder, alcoholism and addiction. Exposure to the fellowship usually begins in treatment, and for good reason. AA has been around since 1935 and has helped millions of alcoholics and addicts get and stay sober. In a modern world of advanced technology and medicine, it’s amazing that we still turn to this incredibly simple program which relies on the power of fellowship and unity as their solution. What’s even more incredible about AA is that when the program is followed as suggested, it works incredibly well.
Addiction and alcoholism is an incredibly complex problem that manifests itself differently in each individual. A one-size-fits all approach seems like an unlikely way to effectively treat anything. Even though on the exterior it may seem like AA follows a strict “one-for-all” 12-step process, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Every member will likely share a completely unique perspective on their experience in AA. There are, however, some constants that will apply to almost every member. If you’re a new member of AA, you may be wondering what to expect. Here we’ll examine a few things that a newcomer in the fellowship can anticipate.
Your First Time Walking into the “Rooms”
At the beginning of your journey in AA you may not know what to expect. Walking into a room of strangers for the first time and sharing your troubles can be an unfamiliar experience. However, you’ll quickly realize that you’re in the company of people who share the same thoughts and feelings as you. Most alcoholics find the anxiety of sharing with the group will dissipate quickly after hearing fellow alcoholics share in the meeting. Sharing is considered an extremely important part of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. Bringing your frustrations, anxiety, and problems to a meeting and leaving them there, is an effective way to lessen the load many alcoholics carry with them on a daily basis.
Going Through the Steps
Going through, or “working” the 12-steps is another indispensable part of Alcoholics Anonymous. This is where much of the individual variations between members experiences are seen. No two members will work the steps exactly the same. Since each member has a unique journey that led them to the rooms of AA, they will also have a unique journey of recovery. The 12-steps were meant to be worked with another person, referred to as a “sponsor” in AA. A sponsor is essentially your closest confidant, or best friend of sorts in AA. They should be someone whom you completely trust and can rely on to be there for you when you need guidance. Every sponsor will have a unique way of working the 12-steps. Some will have you write out certain steps, while others will have you perform actions or tasks to complete a step. In all likelihood it will probably be a combination of the two, but the main idea behind it all is to help you recover from your addiction. Stopping the drinking or drugging is a necessary first step, but unless you address the “why” part of your addiction, relapse is very likely.
What is the “AA” Way?
In a nutshell, the basics of AA are: Stop drinking/drugging, go to meetings, get a sponsor, work the steps, help another alcoholic. It’s a very simple program, designed for complicated people. Thankfully it’s not only very accessible, it’s also free for anyone who has a desire to stop drinking/using drugs. If you or someone you know has a drug or alcohol problem and is ready to turn their life around, call us at Royal Life Centers. We’ll help you get on the right path so that you can live the life you deserve. Our admissions team is available 24/7 to take your call and answer any questions you may have. Call us today at (877)-732-6837 or (877)-RECOVERY. Because We Care.