I Need Help Finding an AA Near Me
I Need Help Finding an AA Near Me
Table of Contents
Do you need help finding an AA meeting near you? Maybe you are scared of going to your first meeting. Below, you’ll find out all you need to know about AA.
What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?
According to the AA website, “Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem.”1 It is a self-supporting, laid-back meeting. There are no requirements, and everyone is welcome if they have a desire to quit addictive alcohol-related behaviors. Some people also go to an open AA meeting if they are struggling with a separate addiction but they only have access to AA.2
History of AA
Alcoholics Anonymous started in Akron, Ohio in 1935. The founders are Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. Both men found sobriety together, and they started a program to help others find a spiritual solution to their addiction. They were able to replicate this success in Cleveland, and it soon grew worldwide.3
By 1950, they settled on the twelve traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, approved literature, and twelve steps. Because of the dedication of its earliest members, not only is AA a global organization, but several other recovery groups for different addictions such as Sexaholics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, CoDA, Cocaine Anonymous, and several other groups were able to get started.
Other Support Groups
Self-Management and Recovery Training, better known as SMART, is an international community of support groups. The goal of SMART Recovery is for people to help one another as they find a solution to their problems. Unlike AA, which starts off every meeting with, “Hello, my name is ______, and I’m an alcoholic,” SMART stays away from terms that identify the person with their addiction. They have four principles:4
- Build and maintain motivation
- Cope with urges
- Manage thoughts, feelings, and behaviors
- Live a balanced life
AA was founded on spiritual principles. However, LifeRing Recovery groups focus on a secular-based recovery path. They are an “abstinence-based, anonymous organization dedicated to providing a safe meeting space where you can experience a non-judgmental recovery conversation with your peers.”5 Their main principles are based on the 3-S philosophy: sobriety, secularity, and self-help.
Unlike the other groups, Moderation Management Recovery focuses on helping someone learn how to manage their intake of alcohol to prevent misuse. It is a non-profit that works to reduce the harm caused by alcohol misuse.6 They have an app you can use called Step Away, and their main principles are as follows:
- Set your goal
- Monitor your progress
- Manage your cravings
- Moderate your drinking
How Do AA Meetings Work?
As stated previously, in-person meetings will normally take place in a community venue such as a church, community center, or 12-step house. Some rules to consider are:
- Be on time. You can come in late, but they will always start right on time
- No smoking
- No cross-talking. This is where a person engages in a one-on-one conversation with another person during whole group share time
- If you have a court voucher, wait until the end of the meeting to have it signed
You can find meetings around the world. There is most likely an AA meeting within 30 minutes of where you live.
Online MeetsIf you don’t feel comfortable going in person or there are no in-person meetings near you, there are online meetings. Online AA is a similar format as going in person, except everyone will participate via a video platform. People still only use their first names, so it is suggested to change your last name to your last initial. By looking at meetings nearby, you can find an online meeting. Normally, you will have to call or email a contact to get the meeting information.
The Benefits of AA Meetings
There are several research-based benefits to AA meetings. Here are a few.
Someone needs to develop emotional connections while recovering. Recovery can be a very difficult process. When we build friendships with other people, it can be easier to get through withdrawal periods and temptations.
Teaches New Coping StrategiesMany times, people do not have coping strategies when they first start attending AA. That is normally what alcohol was used for. As people listen to other individuals’ stories, they can learn strategies that other people have used to cope with stress and life’s struggles.
Holds Members Accountable
AA is a great place for accountability, too. When you receive a sponsor, they will help keep you accountable when it comes to your sobriety. Your friends in the group may reach out when they sense something is wrong, and they can help you get back on track. Many times, AA meetings will have a check-in period where people simply share if they have been sober since their last meeting.
How to Find AA Meetings Near You
Through the Official AA WebsiteAt aa.org, you can find an AA meeting near you. On this official AA website, you can type in your zip code or city name to find the closest meetings to you. You can also find online AA meetings through individual Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting websites.
Through A Rehab or Clinic
During detox, many people will go to a rehab facility or clinic to face alcohol withdrawal symptoms safely. Professionals at any rehabilitation center can help you find an AA meeting close to your location. Many rehab facilities will also help you walk through the 12-steps of AA. Many times, there will be an AA meeting that happens at the facility.
Other Ways to Focus on Sober Living
As you recover, it will be necessary for you to replace drinking with healthier activities. Many times, these are called outer circle behaviors. There are multiple things you can do to help you grow in your recovery and stay sober.
Sober Living Communities
Sober living communities, also known as halfway houses, are transitional homes to help people coming out of jail or rehab. These homes host a group of people that are in recovery and focus on sober living. These homes can be a great place to get a start on building good habits to maintain sobriety.
Health and Fitness
Many people that struggle with substance use disorder use working out and healthier living to maintain sobriety. Working out releases endorphins in the mind, which leads to more positive feelings and emotions. Exercising can be a great coping activity to manage stress.
Building Positive Relationships
Community helps weed out addiction. When people build positive relationships, research shows that they are far more likely to have long-lasting sobriety.7 These relationships can give you someone to call when you are tempted, and it gives you new friendships based on sobriety.
Beneficial Hobbies and Distractions
Creating new hobbies may replace the time you used to spend drinking. Picking up new hobbies or skills can distract you from temptations and urges. Many times, people in recovery will discover themselves during the process of the 12-steps, learning that they like things they didn’t realize when they weren’t sober.
AA is an extremely beneficial program that has changed how we look at recovery entirely. Before AA, many people did not believe it possible to become sober. However, with the help of the early founders, AA hasn’t just helped those struggling with alcohol abuse, but people of all addictions. If you need help finding a meeting, go to aa.org or reach out to a nearby rehab facility.