How to Return to AA After a Long Absence

Recovery is a long process, and some individuals who decide to leave Alcoholics Anonymous because it is the best choice for them at the time may choose to come back weeks, months, or even years later. Returning to AA may be the right option, even if you’ve been out of the program a long time, as it can be very beneficial to your recovery at different times during your life.

Can I Return to AA After an Absence?

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “People can attend mutual-help groups [of which AA is still the most popular for alcohol use disorders] as frequently and for as long as they want without insurance and without divulging personal information.” You do not need to pay dues when and if you decide to come back, and the program is judgment-free, so no one should make you feel ashamed for leaving or for returning.

It can be difficult to get back into the swing of going to meetings and doing other things after you have been out of the program for a while, which is why it can be helpful to find a sponsor. But AA is an extremely flexible program, one that allows all of its members to choose when and if they want to attend a meeting, even if they have been absent for a stretch.

What Do I Need to Do When I Return to the Program?

AA meetings

You can return to AA at any time!

Just show up to a meeting. If you have been in the program before, you will likely already know how it works and remember to be respectful and understanding of the other members. Many times, members who recognize you may ask how you’ve been as a sign of encouragement, but if you’d rather not say, you don’t have to.

It is a good idea to find a sponsor when you start going back so you have someone helping you get re-assimilated into the program. It may take time for you to get used to going to meetings again, but once you do, you will be able to feel comfortable and relaxed in the program.

Returning to AA: Just Jump In

If you feel that returning to AA could be helpful to you after you have been gone from the program for a long time, it likely will be. It is important that you remember there are no rules or roadblocks to your involvement with the program; just jump back into your routine, however smoothly you can, and start attending meetings again. Once you do, you will begin to feel comfortable as a member of the program once more.

Whether you have experienced a relapse, have begun to feel tempted again, or are merely looking for others with the same issues with whom you can connect, returning to AA is a positive step for many, no matter how long they’ve been away. Call 800-839-1686Who Answers? today and we will help you find a meeting in your area where you can begin attending the program again as soon as possible.

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.