Is attending an Alcoholics Anonymous program (AA) a part of your alcohol addiction treatment plan but you’re not sure how effective it is? Alcohol use disorder (AUD) affects millions of US adults and the drinking habit can be difficult to kick. The challenges increase the need for those in recovery to attend sober groups such as AA and other aftercare programs.
These programs can help those in recovery maintain their sobriety by offering ongoing support and a safe, judgment-free environment to discuss their struggles.
What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?
AA is a non-religious, apolitical international fellowship of sobriety seekers founded in 1925. It’s a free program and membership is open to anyone, regardless of age, who wants to end their drinking problem. Weekly AA meetings are held at places such as local churches, community centers, and parking lots. Some are open to the public and some are closed meetings only for AA members. All you need to qualify for membership is to be an alcoholic and have a desire to stop drinking. The fellowship uses the 12-step and 12 Traditions principles to promote sobriety through spiritual growth.
As members work through the steps and attend meetings, they can develop a supportive network of people who understand their struggles and provide a safe space to talk about their challenges in sobriety. The group’s main focus is helping individuals find lifelong sobriety by providing support, structure, and accountability. Experts credit AA with restoring many lives since its inception and continues to be an invaluable asset in the fight against alcoholism.
AA follows a program of 12 steps that focus on personal responsibility and spiritual growth. The fellowship also has 12 Traditions—a set of guidelines for how AA groups should operate—which emphasize taking collective action and supporting one another in order to remain focused on sobriety. Through regular meetings, members can work through the steps and draw strength from the fellowship’s collective experience. Members also share their successes in sobriety with newcomers to motivate them in recovery.
Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work?
AA has been in existence for 86 years and has more than 100,000 groups worldwide. This may be a sign that it works, but it is not conclusive. In fact, many drug and alcohol rehab programs now include Alcoholics Anonymous meetings as an aspect of self-help therapy and peer support.
AA members come together and share their personal stories on alcoholism, recovery, and daily challenges to upkeep their sobriety. Program effectiveness rests on attendance, member participation, and individual commitment to succeed. However, determining the actual success rate of Alcoholics Anonymous is challenging since allowing members to participate in studies can breach the anonymity of the group.
Further, alcohol use disorder is a brain disease that requires different levels of treatment to help reverse some of the effects of long-term drinking. Receiving treatment or counseling prior to entering the program provides a foundation and helps enhance the effectiveness of these meetings. Prior treatment may also help reduce drop-out rates and relapse.
The 12 Step Principles of Alcoholics Anonymous
The effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is also linked to the 12 steps to sobriety which serve to reinforce your commitment to creating a satisfying life without alcohol. The 12 steps are set out in what is called the “Big Book.” In general, the principles encourage you to accept you are powerless over alcohol and look to a higher power for guidance on the personal changes you need to make to control your desire to drink. Gratitude, forgiveness, humility, and making amends are other guiding principles of the 12 step approach to recovery.
AA Meetings at a Texas Alcohol Addiction Rehab
While these sober meetings are effective in various ways, beating addiction requires a detailed evaluation, comprehensive treatment, and a continuum of care preferably before you start going to any Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. San Antonio Recovery Center provides stage-by-stage treatment starting with alcohol detox to cleanse your body of toxic chemicals and reduce physical dependence. Recovery takes place in one or more of these programs based on the level of care you need:
- Residential program
- Inpatient treatment
- Intensive outpatient program
- 90-day treatment program
- Aftercare program
Following up with cognitive-behavioral or mental health therapy helps to reduce cravings as you learn how to cope without resorting to drinking. Your therapist will integrate the AA 12-step program into your individualized treatment plan, which may also include family therapy, trauma therapy, and holistic therapy.
It takes more than AA meetings to recover from alcohol addiction. The treatment programs and therapies at San Antonio Recovery Center will provide the strong foundation you need for long-term abstinence. Call 866.957.7885, or contact us online to find out how to begin the admissions process.