How Can I Find the Perfect AA Meeting?
For people recovering from alcohol addiction, AA meetings offer an invaluable means of support and guidance in recovery. While all AA meetings do work towards the same ends (leading a sober lifestyle), meetings can vary considerably in terms of how they go about it.
Finding the perfect AA meeting will likely take some footwork, but it can be done. Understanding the different formats used in meetings and the different types of AA meetings can help you narrow down the ones that best suit your needs.
It also helps to have an idea of what you’re looking for in terms of guidance and support as different meetings may offer more of one than the other.
The Role of AA Meetings in the Recovery Process
Anyone whose been through an alcohol treatment program has likely sat through more than a few AA meetings. In effect, AA meetings remain an ongoing part of the recovery process, from detox treatment to years into a sober life.
According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, AA meetings play a vital role in helping a person work through the day-to-day temptations and challenges that come with recovery. Considering the vital role these meetings play in recovery, finding a meeting group that you can connect with only helps to increase the benefits to be gained from attending.
Types of AA Meeting Formats
AA meeting formats have to do with how a meeting groups are conducted. Meeting formats can vary from group to group so it helps to know beforehand before attending for the first time.
Types of AA meeting formats include:
- Question and answer formats for people just starting out in AA
- Speaker meetings where different people share their stories
- Discussion formats where group members share experiences and lessons learned
- Study-based formats that focus on working the 12 Steps
Groups for Specific Populations
Alcoholism affects different people in different ways. Likewise, each person’s “demographic” make-up can influence his or her experiences with alcohol.
For these reasons, AA meetings have branched out to accommodate the different life paths of recovery, according to the U. S. Department of Veterans Affairs. AA meeting groups for specific populations include:
- Women’s groups/ men’s groups
- Gay and lesbian groups
- Groups for young people
- Groups for older adults
- Special interest groups, such as for doctors and musicians
Regardless of how perfect any one AA meeting group looks on paper, the atmosphere or demeanor of the group ultimately determines whether its a good fit for you. The only way to get a feel for a group is to attend a few meetings and see how it goes.
While it may make more sense, time-wise to base your decision on one or two meetings per group, it can be hard to get a real sense of the people and the issues they’re dealing with in two meetings. If you’re still ready to move on after four or five meetings then that particular group is probably not a good fit.