For those who have finally come to terms with the fact that they need help for their alcohol addiction, there are a number of options for treatment. It may be that a period of detox is required before therapy, and many recovering addicts are advised to join a fellowship programme such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
AA meetings are hugely beneficial and have helped millions of people around the world beat their addictions. Being able to share your feelings and experiences with others who are or have been in a similar situation to yours is immensely therapeutic.
However, many individuals are uncomfortable with the idea of sitting down and sharing their innermost thoughts and fears with a roomful of strangers. This is a natural reaction, and many people are too embarrassed to speak about their experiences, especially in the beginning. Nevertheless, most recovering addicts will begin to feel at ease after a couple of meetings and will get to the stage where they want to share with others.
It is understandable to feel uncomfortable with something new but if you are serious about kicking your habit, you should attend meetings daily for at least a month before deciding whether or not they are for you.
You may find the whole idea of sharing entirely alien, and this could be putting you off the idea of going to an AA meeting. Many individuals feel this way and simply do not realise that there is no requirement to share with others. You can just listen to what other members have to say; you may be surprised at how you relate to their experiences, thoughts and fears. You may even find that many of those at the meeting are just like you. You might feel a strong desire to tell others about your story.
How AA Meetings Can Help
Attending an AA meeting can help on so many different levels. Remember that there will be plenty of people at the same stage in their journey as you are, but there will also be some others present who have come much further. They may have been in recovery for a number of years, so seeing how far they have come should give you inspiration and motivation to continue your journey.
You will find that nobody at these meetings judges anyone else. Nobody is condemned for mistakes they have made, and everyone is accepted. Sharing at AA meetings is a form of therapy and one that has been proven to work. While you do not have to share with the people at your meeting, you may be surprised at how it helps.
Do not forget that anything you say at an AA meeting is strictly confidential. Everyone at a meeting will benefit from the anonymity, so anything you say will not be repeated outside. You do not have to provide all of the intimate details of everything you did while addicted to alcohol. You can tell your story without going into all the finer details if doing so makes you feel uncomfortable. If you want to be more specific then that is entirely up to you, but remember that there is no requirement to do so.
How Long Do You Need to Go to Meetings?
You may be wondering how long you will need to attend AA meetings. The answer depends on your circumstances. Your sponsor may advise you to continue attending daily meetings for a number of months and until you are more stable in your sobriety.
Some continue to attend weekly or monthly meetings for the rest of their lives because they feel this is the best way for them to maintain their sobriety. When you stop attending meetings will be your decision, but you should at least continue to stick to the principles of AA going forward as this is the best way to ensure your recovery does not suffer.