AA or Alcoholics Anonymous has been around since as early as 1935! Millions and millions of people have benefitted from the “Twelve steps” approach undertaken through AA meetings. And there have also been several spinoffs of this group like the Sex Addicts Anonymous or the Narcotics Anonymous and so on! All of them have similar modus operandi.
If you are struggling from alcoholism and happen to be keen on joining an AA Meeting in South Dakota, which is close to where you live, you will first need to understand what you are actually getting into. Apart from the basic facts about Alcoholics Anonymous, there are some other salient bits of information that may matter.
Salient Facts about AA
- Membership Pre-Requisite: The biggest requirement for gaining membership is an inherent desire to stop drinking and register handsome scores on the sobriety calculator. The meetings also acknowledge people who may still be addicted to alcohol when they begin attending these meetings and promise assistance till they become completely sober.
- Open and Closed Meetings: Open meetings are essential for one and all. Closed meetings are for those who wish to stop drinking. However, non-drinkers are often encouraged to attend open meetings in order to pick up a few facts about this organization and learn about their model. It proves to be a worthwhile educational experience. Drinkers can also start by looking for open “AA meetings near me”, attend a few of these, and then graduate to closed meetings.
- You may not need to speak: Often times we witness drinkers introducing themselves at AA meetings on TV programs, using their name and a few other details. However, in reality, you may not be required to speak at an AA meeting at all. You can just sit down, relax and quietly listen to the experiences of others. That alone can prove to be of great help.
- The Religious Angle: In the twelve steps propounded by AA, there are some references to the higher power or to “God”. However, Alcoholics Anonymous clearly mentions that this does not have any religious angle as such. It welcomes people across all faiths. Atheists and agnostics are also welcome.
- Recognizes Psychiatric Disorders: AA recognizes that people who are into alcohol might be dealing with mild, moderate, or severe mental health issues. They may be under treatment or therapy for these problems as well. It is also important to know that AA is never against medications. They recognize the fact that many people might actually be benefitting from medications that have been prescribed to them for a variety of health issues. However, AA does have inhibitions about addictive prescription drugs that are often abused by members.
AA is not a part of or connected to any other organization. It does not have any religious denomination and no governing body as such. Each AA group can be governed by its own rules. You just need to find the best one for you.