New to AA? How to Choose the Right AA Support Group
If you’re currently searching for an AA support group, then you’ve accepted you have a problem with alcohol addiction and are ready to do what it takes to become happier, healthier, and sober. Fortunately, you have several options when it comes to choosing an AA support group that will work best for you.
The path to recovery from alcohol addiction is often a difficult journey that you shouldn’t have to take by yourself. But with the right AA support group, you can experience an enlightened, fulfilling journey that not only leads to lifelong sobriety, but to the development of new friendships and an improved overall quality of life.
To get started, call our helpline at 800-839-1686 to speak to a live counselor who can discuss available treatment and recovery options. In the meantime, keep reading to learn more about how to choose the best AA support group based on your individual needs as a recovering addict.
There are generally two types of AA support groups you can join: open groups, and closed groups.
Open AA Groups
Open groups are for everyone and anyone interested in learning more about recovering from alcohol addiction. In addition to being open for recovering alcoholics, open meetings can be attended by family members, friends, physicians, nurses, counselors, social workers, teachers, police, students, and journalists, to name a few.
In many cases, open meetings are also known as speaker meetings, during which one or more individuals have been chosen to share their experiences and stories as they relate to overcoming alcohol addiction. These people may describe how they became alcoholics, when they decided to seek help, their struggles with overcoming addiction, and what their lives are like now.
Closed AA Groups
Closed groups are limited strictly to individuals who have admitted they have a drinking problem, or who have a desire to stop drinking and are interested in becoming AA members.
During closed meetings, members share their individual stories with other AA group members. They might talk about how they initially became addicted to alcohol, what influenced them to seek treatment, and how they’re progressing on the path to sobriety. Meetings usually last about one hour, and members have the opportunity to chat one-on-one with sponsors and other AA members before and after the sharing session.
Other Meeting Styles
If you’re looking for a certain type of AA support group based on your unique preferences as an individual, there are several different meeting styles you can choose from to enhance your recovery experience. Some addicts feel more comfortable sharing their stories with individuals who share their same gender, sexual orientation, age, etc. For example, teens and young adults may find that AA support groups limited to people between the ages of 15 and 25 are more therapeutic and supportive than AA support groups comprised of senior adults.
To learn more about diverse AA meeting groups in your area, mention your preferences to your counselor, physician, or AA sponsor. Your AA contact can share your phone number with an AA group that best meets your requirements or preferences.
Choosing the Best AA Support Group
When choosing an AA support group, consider the type of setting that will make you feel most comfortable when sharing your story with others. Sharing is an important step of the recovery process, and plays a vital role in your being able to overcome alcohol addiction.
For instance, if you’re seeking a safe haven where you can speak freely and honestly about alcoholism without being judged, you may want to consider joining a closed AA support group comprised of other addicts who have experienced similar situations as yourself.
On the other hand, if you want to connect with and learn from healthcare professionals, members of law enforcement, and other non-alcoholics who can provide insight into overcoming alcoholism, you may want to consider attending an open AA meeting. No matter what your preference, keep in mind that you can continue trying different AA support groups and meetings until you find the best group that works for you.
Do you need help and guidance with finding the right AA support group? Contact our helpline at 800-839-1686 to speak with a counselor and discuss your treatment and recovery options. Your sobriety and anonymity is our top priority, and we’re available 24/7 to help you along the path to recovery.