The journey of becoming free from substance abuse problems is a long one, and, often, people will have many different ways of overcoming this problem. Winning the battle of substance addiction is not a battle to face alone. A few people manage to find their strength with the support of their families and friends. Most people go through rehabilitation and treatment programs because addiction is a disease. However, whether you are facing it with family and friends or professional treatment, there’s support groups to guide individuals through the many steps that are needed to start living a sober life. In that regard, alcoholics anonymous meetings can also play an important role in the lives of people who are struggling with substance abuse problems.
Much like a medical rehabilitation program, alcoholics anonymous meetings also follow steps that are also known as the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous to guide people to living a sober life. Though these meetings are known as “alcoholic anonymous meetings”, they are not exclusively for people who have alcohol problems. Many meetings are open and welcome people from all walks of life — this means that even people who are struggling with a drug addiction can gain something from attending AA meetings. These 7 benefits are detailed below:
- There is a welcoming community
Many people who attend AA meetings are either dealing with their own struggles of some kind of substance abuse or have a loved one that is doing so. If there is one way that people can connect, it is through sharing the same or similar experiences. Many of the withdrawal symptoms that a recovering alcoholic experience is very similar to those that a recovering addict goes through. After having a sit-down, it is very possible that a recovering addict can find a sense of community with AA meetings.
- It provides life direction
All of the AA meetings follow a set of guidelines called the 12 steps of AA. Each step is a different aspect and stage in the process of getting sober. Following these steps gives life direction and something to aim toward. This makes it easier to break free of substance abuse problems.
- It is a good source of information
There are different kinds of AA meetings, some can be open lectures that focus on the 12 traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous, or some can simply be discussions where participants can choose to share their experiences and stories about getting sober. Whatever the case may be, it’s always a great opportunity to gain new information from people that have gone through similar experiences.
- It’s free to try
One of the benefits that AA meetings have to offer versus traditional rehabilitation programs is that there is no cost to attending these gatherings other than giving it some time. If AA meetings just don’t happen to work out, it’s a good thing that there was no money involved, and it’s a big possibility that some alternative perspectives and views could have been gained from the experience.
- It is a safe space
The name itself, “Alcoholics Anonymous meetings”, should already show one of the most important aspects of these meetings: it is anonymous. Whatever happens, whoever attends, and whatever experiences are shared stays within the circle. Coupled with the fact that most of the people who go to an AA meeting every week want the same thing of living a sober life, this anonymity creates a safe space for people going through substance abuse problems.
- Motivation is Infectious
If there’s one thing about community that you can’t deny, it’s probably the fact that people are often heavily affected by the moods and attitudes of the people around them. If people have a positive and uplifting attitude, it can motivate the people around them. However, if people show a negative attitude all the time then it tends to bring everyone down. One of the core tenants in the 12 traditions of AA is that the only requirement for membership is to stay sober. As long as everyone can focus on that goal, it is very possible that each person can lift up the other.
- It gives you a goal
As mentioned in the last step, the only requirement to be in Alcoholics Anonymous is to stay sober. For somebody with a substance abuse problem, it also means staying sober from drugs. Having something to aim for in a life filled with uncertainties is a priceless treasure. As long as you aim to stay sober, you definitely can. Once you have stayed sober for a while, you can also use the sobriety calculator to look back on your progress.