What are The Twelve Steps?
Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) is the original 12-Step model and was founded in the mid 1930’s. AA was designed for men and the program was built on a nonhierarchical radical approach to recovery. AA is built on spiritual principles set in motion by the central presence of a higher power. AA does not have any experts or professionals running their recovery model. Twelve-step groups stress face to face interactions and it is recommended that each person attending AA rely on the presence of a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who acts as a peer-guide in working the AA twelve steps. It is going through the steps with a sponsor, working closely together and using face to face contact where the most recovery happens. There is no cost to attending meetings and sponsors are available upon request.
Can I Attend an AA Meeting?
Yes, anyone can attend “open” AA meetings. Open meetings are open to the public and are there for individuals to learn about how AA works. Closed meetings are for self identified “alcoholics”. This means that only self-identified alcoholics are allowed to attend these meetings. There are different kinds of meeting, some study Alcoholics Anonymous, considered, the Big Book. Or the secondary text called the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions. There are meetings dedicated to step studies, and open discussion, or leader’s choice. For information about getting to a Twelve Step meeting click here.
What If I Am Not an Alcoholic?
Even if you are not an alcoholic, you are still invited to check out the AA way of life. Get to a meeting and make a few to get the feel for what they are like. Anyone can attend an “Open” AA meeting. Bring a friend, this can help by having a friend bring encouragement and support. AA’s will not diagnose you as being an “alcoholic”. Most AA’s are not going to convince you of your status. Attend with an open mind, try to make six or more meetings with an open mind.
What if I Use and Abuse Drugs Only. . . Can I attend an AA Meeting for Help and Support?
The answer is yes. Many people who use and abuse drugs, begin their night or day with a can of beer or a glass of wine. This action decreases your defenses, often the next step is grab a joint, or take a few pain pills. Perhaps this is done in a way that the person does not even notice they are using the drug they perhaps want to stay away from. Attending an “Open” AA meeting will increase your consciousness around what you are using and what effect this is having on your life. AA can help. Even if you are only using drugs, get to an AA meeting and you can see and experience your behavior and actions differently. Open your ears and see if you hear anything at the AA meeting that is helpful. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
What is the next step?
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