More people in the U.S. suffer from alcohol addiction than any other type of drug addiction. For millions, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), an international fellowship of people with a drinking problem, has been the solution to achieving and maintaining sobriety.
Alcoholics Anonymous – An Overview
AA crosses all borders, including geographical location, race, sex, income level, religion, and politics. Membership is free and open to anyone who understands that they have a drinking problem they cannot control alone and who wish help. The organization was founded in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob, and what was once a meeting of two alcoholics grew, starting with the publication of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, aka “The Big Book.” The program quickly spread, with AA chapters popping up all around the country and eventually the globe.
AA hosts two types of meetings, open meetings, which anyone may attend, and closed meetings for members only. Only people with a drinking problem may become AA members and attend closed meetings. The only qualification for AA membership is acknowledging your drinking problem and expressing your desire to stop drinking.
AA How It Works
The AA program is a series of 12 steps, each of which focuses on understanding the nature of addiction, exploring the underlying causes each person has foor abusing alcohol, and helping the individual take positive steps for personal growth, accountability, and an effort to make amends to those they hurt while in active addiction.
New AA members are paired with a sponsor, a mentor who helps them with sobriety accountability and works with them to understand how to complete each step. An AA sponsor and sponsee work from a position of trust, and the sponsor is available for the sponsee if they struggle with triggers or temptations.
Open AA meetings are typically speaker meetings, where one individual tells their story of alcohol dependence, realizing they needed help, and their journey towards sobriety. Most AA meetings are closed and generally are topic meetings, in which the leader chooses a topic, and members discuss their experiences with it. Other closed AA meetings are meetings dealing with a specific step designed to help new members with the program.
What Makes AA Effective?
Many studies indicate that people seeking sobriety treatment have the best chance of success if they pair professional therapy with group support meetings like AA. In fact, the Cochrane Library conducted a studtythat determined that AA and other 12-Step groups led to higher rates of continuous abstinence over a prolonged period of time than treatments like Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT).
AA focuses on complete honesty, with oneself and with their group. The 12 steps are designed to help addicts take an honest inventory of themselves, face the trauma that may have led them to alcohol dependence, and acknowledge wrong behavior and actions that they did while intoxicated. The philosophy behind this process is to help people understand why they drank and the harm it caused themselves and others.
Do You Need Help With Alcohol Addiction?
If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction, programs like AA may help you find support in your sobriety. However, some people may also need professional treatment and therapy to help them achieve sobriety. If you find that a 12-Step program isn’t enough, we can help. Hickory Treatment Centers offers several professional counseling programs, including Intensive Outpatient Therapy and family therapy, to help you with your addiction. Contact us today for a confidential assessment of your needs.