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Addiction to alcohol is one of the most common addictions throughout the world. It has existed since early biblical times, perhaps even earlier to the first discovery of it. People would cherish the sensation of the buzz, the stimulating effects alcohol brings in the right amount. There are others though, that seek the dark yet comforting abyss of inebriation, where they are released from the problems of the world.

Alcoholics AnonymousIn an effort to reach out to all alcoholics who need help, the formation of Alcoholics Anonymous was made. These group meetings follow several programs, one such is the 12-step program that helps you gain your control back to yourself and away from alcohol.

How will Alcoholics Anonymous Help Me?

One of the focuses of the program is to help you get through the effects of alcoholism, whether it be yours or someone else’s. They often employ a program called “Taking it a day at a time.” In essence, it’s a micro-managing program that helps you get through your day by simplifying your goals into small, bite-size pieces. Then it’s a matter of completing them one at a time, day by day.

They also help you in a holistic way by allowing you to hear about other people’s stories. By remaining anonymous, you can feel less ashamed. By hearing other people’s stories, you get some perspective and hope about your condition.

Following the 12-step program and the Day-at-a-time program allows you to get your control back, piece by piece. When you have proper control of yourself, it becomes a useful skill when facing a possible relapse.

What if I’m Not Ready to Go to a Meeting?

First of all, nobody will force you. Though they impose strict regimes in keeping in control, all the control is up to you. If you think you’re not ready, don’t go there. That, however, is the last thing you should do, as there are plenty of alternatives.

  • Go with a friend

You don’t need to be an alcoholic to go there. Find someone you trust and go with them. Let it be someone that supports you the most or someone you can draw courage from. These meetings also provide help for the people who support alcoholics, so it’s a total win-win situation.

  • Go there and just sit in the meetings

You don’t have to talk. You don’t have to participate, at least at first. Again, none of them will force you to do anything. You are free to go and leave. If you feel like you’re not ready to speak, go there and observe, see how people do what they do. If you think you can do it, participate. If it’s not your cup of coffee, you’re free to leave to find other alternatives.

  • Research about it

You’re already doing it. By learning more about what happens in there by watching videos or reading people’s experiences, you can get a scope of it. Remember, you can keep your name a secret. You don’t need to go as far as wearing a mask to hide who you are, but there have been cases like that.

  • Get one either as far or as near your home

This is all about comfort. If you feel ashamed because someone will see you go to the meetings, then seek on that’s away from your neighborhood. The problem here is that you may find it hard to go there constantly. You can also find one closer to home, so you can leave and go as you please.

Alcoholism is shameful, that’s for certain. However, seeking help to cure your alcoholism is not. It’s far, far more shameful if someone was aware that they have a problem, but didn’t do anything about it. With all the skills, friends, and lessons you’ll gain in this meeting, you will come out a much better person than you used to be before the alcoholism hit.

Will Anyone Say I’ve Been There? Is it truly Anonymous?

Society has much in the way of judging alcoholics and addicts alike. After all, people have been hurt and killed, families have been torn apart, and lives are ruined because of alcoholism. Even though alcoholics are victims of the behavioral disease, (which is not entirely their fault,) they can’t help but feel ashamed about it. This leads to them worrying that other people may “spread the word,” that they are alcoholic.

For one, all Alcoholics Anonymous groups give newcomers special treatment when it comes to anonymity. You’ll be given all the pointers and everything you need to know about anonymity.

They also exercise anonymity even with the press or the public media. They impose equality to ensure that nobody uses the organization to achieve recognition or power. They also heavily impose the limitation of using digital media such as blogs or posts in social networks, in order to keep everyone’s anonymity. The only way a person can break the anonymity

rule is if they revealed themselves. This means you won’t see people taking pictures or recording videos inside the meeting places.

Do I need to Reserve a Spot at Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings?

No. All you need to know is the time and place. There’s no registration required since that goes against the anonymity rule and they don’t take attendance, nor track how frequently people go in and out.

There will be people designated to guide and host the meetings. You can call them for any questions, such as how to get to the meeting places and if there’s anything you need to bring. Mostly, all you need to bring is yourself and your conviction. There are times though when people bring food for everyone, which is also something welcomed.

Is Alcoholics Anonymous Religious?

The right term is spiritual, though it’s not uncommon or unusual for people to see and brand it as religious. Most of the reason is due to the 12-step program’s instruction to accept a higher power. For Christians, this means accepting the Lord and allowing The Lord God to take control. Accepting a higher power is figurative and even a non-religious person can accept a higher power. The point is not the higher power, instead, it’s about surrendering control. Preferably to something better, who will not let you down, something “higher” than you.

Realistically, there are people who advocate the word of the Lord in these meetings. They mean well, and nobody there will nor should force you to believe in anything but yourself.

Do I have to Talk in Meetings?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: AA meetings will never force you to do things. They not even inclined to give you advice unless you ask for it. If you just want to listen, listen. When the host or moderator of the group asks for you to talk, politely say no and they will pick the next one.

This also means nobody is allowed to interrupt anyone when they are talking. This means if you finally feel like sharing your story and the lessons you learned, expect that everyone will lend you their ears and the floor is very much yours.

It is, however, encouraged for you to talk. Even if you won’t make a coherent statement and simply ranted, that’s fine. Talking about your problems causes a cathartic effect, allowing you to release all your pent-up emotions. With this said, expect people going from zero to boisterous laughter in less than a second, then stomp the floor in fuming anger the next.

My Friend/Lover is a Drug Addict. Will Alcoholics Anonymous Be of Help?

Yes, but Narcotics Anonymous can help you better. AAs can still help because, in the end, they are talking about addiction and what damage the addiction causes. Alcohol, however, has a different effect on people, which in some cases may generate experiences completely different from heroin or morphine addiction.  

Narcotics Anonymous helps families and addicts alike. Often times you’ll see their spouses telling their stories, some of the grief, others of recovery. In between, you’ll hear something similar to your case, perhaps even identical. Another thing worth noting is that you can hear stories from addicts themselves, which may shed a light on your lover/spouse/friend’s condition.

They have the same 12-step programs as well, along with possible connections from professionals. They also practice strict anonymity, so you and the person you’re concerned with will be safe.

Alcoholics Anonymous and all similar groups have existed decades ago, using the same traditional methods. They have helped people go through either own addiction or someone else’s. They will never force you, nor charge you with anything. They will encourage you to listen and share your stories, and occasionally, they will request donations for the group’s upkeep.

They are created to help people go through the behavioral and physiological disease of addiction. It’s never too late to visit one, and it’s never too early to ask for help.

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