How Long Can I Stay in AA?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “People can attend MHGs [mutual-help groups like AA] as frequently and for as long as they want without insurance and without divulging personal information.” This is one of the reasons why programs like these are so popular among recovering addicts.

AA is a Flexible Program

Stay in AA

Some people choose to attend AA meetings for the rest of their lives.

You can attend AA meetings every week––or even every day especially if you live in a big city––for several months, several years, and beyond. You can also attend one meeting and not attend again for weeks or years. Because the program is so flexible, you can stay in for as long as you like and never experience any issues with insurance, payments, etc. However, the program is often only able to give you what you put into it, meaning if you do not attend meetings regularly, you will be less likely to experience positive effects.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Most drug addiction treatment programs encourage patients to participate in group therapy during and after formal treatment.” This means you could potentially stay in AA from the beginning of your recovery and into the rest of your life. It all depends, though, on whether or not AA is beneficial to you and if you feel you are getting better or staying strong by attending meetings and staying in the program.

How Long Should I Stay in AA?

Just because you can continue to attend AA meetings for the rest of your life doesn’t mean you necessarily should. The decision should instead be based on whether or not the program helps you and whether you need it to continue your safe and effective recovery. Staying in AA may not hurt a person in some situations, but it can be best to move on from a treatment program of any kind if it is no longer actively benefitting you.

Therefore, you should stay in AA for the amount of time that the program continues to benefit you currently. If, in the future, you decide you would like to go back to AA after leaving for several months or years, you can absolutely do so and pick it up in a way that benefits your new situation.

Stay in AA to Get Better

As stated previously, there is no point in staying in AA as long as possible if it isn’t helping you. However, if you feel it is currently still making a difference in your life or even that attending meetings keeps you in a stable state of recovery, then you should attend as long as you want to and feel comfortable to do so. The flexibility of this program is what draws people to it in many ways, but it is important to still take stock of your situation and use the program appropriately to fit your needs.

If you would like to learn more about AA or find a meeting near you, call 800-839-1686Who Answers?.

How to Return to AA After a Long Absence

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.