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How to Get the Most Out of Alcoholics Anonymous


Many people have successfully built a life away from addiction by using the fellowship Alcoholics Anonymous. This group not only provides the individual with support and encouragement, but it also provides a program for living. Of course, there are things that people will need to do to get the most out of this fellowship, and this is what we will be discussing in this post.

The Importance of Getting the Most Out of Alcoholics Anonymous

The decision to seek help from a 12 Step programme like Alcoholics Anonymous can be a good one. It means that the individual will be given a path to follow, and they will be surrounded by fellow travellers who can help them along the way. The reality is though, that just attending these meetings might not be enough to keep the person sober. This is why experienced members of the group will often advise newcomers that ‘it works if you work it’. In other words, if people make no effort and just expect AA to fix them, they may be in for a bumpy ride ahead.

Go to Regular Meetings

One of the ways that people can get the most out of this fellowship is by going to regular meetings. This will mean that they will be receiving support on a regular basis and will be frequently reminded of what they are dealing with. One of the other popular quotes that you may hear at the meetings is ‘meeting makers make it’ – in other words, if you go to regular meetings, it will increase the likelihood of you remaining sober long term. Some people refer to meeting attendance as being like putting money in the bank for a rainy day.

Work the Twelve Steps

The programme of Alcoholics Anonymous is the Twelve Steps, and the only way to benefit from this programme is to actually do these steps. One of the most common reasons why people become stuck in AA is that they refuse to touch the steps, or they do not wish to go beyond a certain step. For many people, it can be steps around admitting past wrongs and making amends that are the real stumbling block. It is highly recommended to do the 12 Steps for those who are serious about getting the most from this recovery programme. It is also important to keep in mind that the work of the 12 Steps is never complete.

Get a Sponsor

The advice to get a sponsor is probably the one thing that newcomers can become really tired of hearing. The reality though, is that taking this step can make a huge difference to the individual. This person is there not only to offer personalised support and advice, but they can become a trusted friend and greatest supporter of the sponsee in recovery. The sponsor is the person the individual will go to if they are feeling vulnerable or on the verge of relapse. This more experienced person in the fellowship will also help the sponsee work through the steps. There is no requirement in AA to have a sponsor, but the reason it is so often recommend is that it can be a great asset.

Get Some Phone Numbers

It is particularly important that newcomers get the phone numbers of other people in AA. The purpose of this is that they can begin to build a sober social network. Some of the older members will just automatically offer their phone number or email address to new people, and this is certainly something worth taking advantage of. When people first break away from addiction, they will usually be also walking away from their old support network – the people they drank with. It is important that people begin to create a new social network as soon as possible, and this is what getting phone numbers is all about.

Do Service

One of the most important things that members need to do in order to get the most out of AA is to do some service. The importance of this type of work is summed up in the AA saying ‘you have to give it away to keep it’. There are many benefits to service, including:

  • reminding people of where they have come from
  • it is a way to give back
  • it boosts self-esteem because the individual feels valuable
  • meaning that people feel more involved in the meetings
  • encouraging people to be more sociable
  • making sure that the meetings continue to exist in the future
  • the fact that the individual has a service commitment encourages them to attend the meetings regularly.

There are many types of service that people can do in AA, such as:

  • tea making
  • telephone service
  • secretary of a meeting
  • doing the chair at a meeting
  • greeting newcomers
  • being a sponsor
  • being a treasurer
  • taking responsibility for ordering AA approved literature
  • setting out the chairs before the meeting
  • clearing up after the meeting
  • even sharing at a meeting might be considered a type of service.

It really can make a huge difference for people to take on some type of service in AA. It may be the thing that helps them move their recovery to the next level.

Read the Literature

It really can be important for people to really absorb the programme into their life. One of the ways they can do this is by regularly reading the AA literature. Some people describe this as a type of brainwashing, but it can be described as a positive type of brainwashing because it is making the person feel stronger in recovery. The problem is that time heals all wounds, and it is easy for people to forget where they have come from. By regularly reading the AA literature, the individual is constantly reminded of what is important in their life.

Make Use of AA Online

These days there are many great AA resources online. The benefit of using these is that it can further strengthen people’s recovery. It is probably not a good idea to replace offline AA with online AA, but the two do work very well together. Some of the online resources that people can enjoy include online meetings, online chat, AA web forums, AA blogs, and AA websites. There are also plenty of AA related videos and audio content online as well. Best of all – nearly all of this stuff is completely free.

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