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How Do I Find The Best AA Near Me?

If you’re searching for “AA near me,” read on to learn more about AA meetings, how you can be involved, and what to expect from the program.

Researching and Finding "AA Near Me"

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a group of individuals who gather together to address their addiction to alcohol. Attending AA meetings is free of charge, and since there are no restrictions to participation based on age or education, anyone who wants to learn to manage their drinking habit is eligible to join. The main goal of AA is to assist alcoholics in achieving sobriety.1

How to Find an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting?

To locate an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near you, you can conduct a web search or search the AA website for local meeting times and places.

What are AA Meetings Like?

The format of AA meetings varies, and each meeting has a distinct local flair. In the majority of meetings, participants will discuss the effects drinking has had on their lives and the people around them. If they have achieved sobriety, some members will also talk about how they stopped drinking and live their lives now.

Importance of Finding the Right AA Meeting

While attending AA meetings may generally be quite beneficial, it’s crucial that you find one that’s right for you and suits your unique character needs. Some factors to take into account when locating a meeting are the group’s attitude, its capacity for encouragement, and the educational resources the AA meeting offers.

Local AA Groups Near Me

Meetings for AA can take place in person, online, or over the phone. Each meeting’s participants pick where, when, and how frequently to gather. There are several locations where a room can be booked where face-to-face meetings take place. Places like churches, treatment facilities, community centers, and even outdoor locations like parks, beaches, and other outdoor spaces are used for meetings.

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How Often Should You Attend AA Meetings?

Attendance of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is not mandatory; it is a personal choice that one makes to actively participate in the program. The frequency of attendance is up to the individual.

Participating in AA

The secret to keeping sober is to support one another. There are several options to take part in various ways. The easiest way to get started is by joining a local AA group. Being a part of a group increases the likelihood of achieving long-term sobriety

How Do We Start a New AA Group?

You know that attending AA meetings regularly will keep you sober, but you detest having to travel so far. Can you organize your own AA meeting group? Yes, you can.2

Guidelines for Establishing a Local AA

Here are a few guidelines on how to start an AA meeting in your neighborhood:
  • Raise startup capital
  • Secure the venue
  • Gather the necessary items for the meetings; as objects cannot be left at the meeting location, it is easier to compile a list of the necessary items so that you remember to bring them all
  • Properly handle the group’s finances; open a separate account
  • Register your group

What are Central Offices or Intergroups?

Similar to how Alcoholics Anonymous groups themselves are partnerships of persons, a central office (or intergroup) is an AA service office that incorporates partnerships among groups in a community. 

A central office manages tasks that are common to all groups that are better handled in a more centralized fashion. These tasks are often maintained, monitored, and supported by the groups in the interest of all parties.3

Benefits of AA Meetings

While participation in Alcoholics Anonymous may not be the best treatment option for everyone, attending AA meetings can prove beneficial for many people who are struggling with an addiction to alcohol, or who know someone who is struggling with alcoholism.

The Perks of Membership

There are numerous benefits to becoming a member of AA, including, but not limited to:
  • Meetings are free, can be found worldwide, and are held in a very structured setting
  • There is no requirement to enroll, and you are free to attend meetings whenever and wherever you like
  • There are no invasive inquiries or requirements
  • You can remain anonymous
  • It is open to everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or philosophical convictions
  • It establishes a network of assistance

Pros and Cons of AA Meetings

While there are many benefits to attending Alcoholics Anonymous, the program is not without its faults. Some of the downsides of AA are as follows:
  • Abuse has resulted from anonymity
  • Those who are invited by a court may attend
  • Young addicts might hang out with the wrong people
  • AA is a community-based program, as a result, addicts are still frequently around negative influences

Alternatives to AA

There are several alternatives to the 12-Step Alcoholics Anonymous program that may be more effective for some people. Here are five alternatives to AA:4

  1. Smart Management and Recovery Technology (SMART) Training: Focuses on giving the client the tools they need to maintain their recovery.

  2. LifeRing: This nonreligious organization offers a supportive network of friends who are committed to abstaining from drugs and alcohol.

  3. Women for Sobriety (WFS): This non-profit, abstinence-based organization is composed of female members who assist one another in achieving sobriety. 

  4. Secular Organizations for Sobriety (SOS): SOS is a charitable organization open to anyone who is looking to recover from addiction, and it has no ties to any religious or spiritual group.

  5. Moderation Management (MM): This program focuses on learning how to control and moderate problem drinking behaviors rather than abstinence.

How to Become a Member of AA Meetings

Becoming a member of Alcoholics Anonymous is a simple process: it requires only that you attend meetings and are actively seeking to achieve sobriety.

How to Join?

The foundation of every effective change, according to AA, is taking the first step by attending an AA meeting and acknowledging that you have a drinking problem. 

Some follow-up steps that need to be taken include:

  • Speaking at an AA meeting
  • Letting someone know if you feel like drinking
  • Telling someone if you do drink

Guidelines of Membership

There are no fees, contracts, pledges, or paperwork associated with joining Alcoholics Anonymous. The sole guideline or rule of AA membership is the desire to stop drinking.

What Should I Know Before Attending an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting?

Before attending an AA meeting, you should remember that meetings, while structured, are still very relaxed. Just take a seat and pay attention as the group members share their personal experiences with alcohol use and getting sober. You can choose to interact with people or keep to yourself until you feel more at ease.

AA Meeting Size

A church or community center may host a typical AA meeting. Depending on the neighborhood and the size of the venue, the group size can range from five to fifty people.

What Happens at 12-Step AA Meetings?

A typical meeting starts with the moderator reading the AA Preamble and conducting the Serenity Prayer as a group (short version). Then, various attendees of the meeting read passages from various AA books, including “Alcoholic Anonymous” (also known as “The Big Book”) and “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.”

Twelve Steps of A.A.

The 12-Step method is employed by Alcoholics Anonymous. Each step on a member’s road to recovery is completed, usually with assistance from a sponsor. The twelve steps of AA are as follows:
  1. Admit that you have no control over alcohol

  2. Recognize that a greater power, in whatever manifestation, can help you regain your sobriety

  3. Decide to surrender your will and your life to a higher power

  4. Assess your moral character

  5. Admit the nature of your wrongdoings to a higher authority, another person, and yourself

  6. Recognize that a superior being will purge you of your character flaws

  7. Humbly ask the higher power to correct your flaws

  8. List the persons you injured via your addiction and be prepared to make amends

  9. If it won’t harm them, make amends to those people

  10. Keep taking a personal inventory, and when you’re wrong, own up to it

  11. Employ prayer and meditation to communicate with the higher power

  12. Continue to live according to the twelve principles of AA and spread the AA message to other alcoholics

Types of AA 12-Step Meetings

The most widely known programs are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA).
Listed below are some other types of 12-Step meetings.

Substance Addictions

12-Step meetings for substance addiction and abuse include:
  • Al-Anon/Alateen: For friends and family of alcoholics
  • Cocaine Anonymous (CA): For people with cocaine addiction
  • Crystal Meth Anonymous (CMA):  For people with methamphetamine addiction
  • Heroin Anonymous (HA): For people with heroin addiction
  • Marijuana Anonymous (MA): For people with marijuana addiction
  • Pills Anonymous (PA): For people with prescription pill addiction

Behavioral Addictions

As with substance abuse and addictions, there are also 12-Step programs for behavioral addictions, such as:

  • Gamblers Anonymous (GA):  For people with gambling addiction
  • Emotions Anonymous (EA): For people with mental and emotional illness
  • Overeaters Anonymous (OA): For people with food addiction
  • Sex and Love Anonymous (SLAA): For people with sex addiction
  • Workaholics Anonymous (WA): For people with work addiction

Open vs. Closed AA Meetings

Closed AA meetings are only open to members or those who “have a desire to stop drinking” due to a drinking problem, while non-alcoholics or people interested in AA are welcome to observe open meetings. The AA meeting chairperson may ask attendees to limit their conversation to topics related to alcoholism recovery at both types of meetings.

What Does AA Do for Alcoholics?

While Alcoholics Anonymous may not be the ideal treatment option for everyone who struggles with alcoholism, AA does provide a safe space to openly explore one’s addiction, as well as a community of individuals who share similar experiences.

What is the AA Success Rate?

Since many of the findings are released by Alcoholics Anonymous and depend on several variables, an exact success rate is not accessible. Some AA members choose not to participate in research because they fear that doing so might compromise the group’s anonymity.
AA’s 2014 Membership Survey also provides the following statistics about the membership:
  • 27% of members stay sober for less than a year
  • 24% of members stay sober between one and five years
  • 13% of members stay sober between five and ten years
  • 14% of  members stay sober between ten and twenty years
  • 22% of members stay sober for twenty or more years

What is the Purpose of AA?

The primary goals of Alcoholics Anonymous are staying sober and assisting other alcoholics in achieving sobriety. AA seeks to create a space where people are comfortable sharing their struggles with addiction and giving people a community in which they find people that can better understand their struggles with alcohol addiction.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous Effective?

According to a recent assessment, Alcoholics Anonymous may be just as effective as, or even superior to, scientifically validated interventions for aiding alcoholics in quitting. However, not everyone finds success with Alcoholics Anonymous.