If you or a loved one is struggling with their sobriety, you’re not alone. Did you know that as many as 1 in 10 US adults will experience addiction at some point in their lives? It’s not uncommon by any means.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resources available to those in need. The best part is that most of these resources are entirely free to join. Let’s talk about the benefits of AA meetings and see if they’re right for you!
What Are AA Meetings Like?
Every meeting is different, but al-anon support seeks to educate and support those in need. These typically take place at churches or community organizations and are almost always free to join with a recommended donation.
These are very free and open meetings. Anybody can join them and speak if they choose to, or remain silent during the meetings. You do not have to give your name, and you can divulge any information you feel comfortable sharing in a safe and understanding space.
You will also hear about other people’s journeys, which is a great opportunity to learn new skills as they apply to your sobriety. It will also reassure you that you aren’t alone and help reinforce the message behind sobriety.
Also, these are usually 12-step meetings. If you choose to partake, you may engage in the 12 steps to sobriety, which include making amends and building a better life for yourself. It takes time, but you have a long life to live!
AA vs NA Meetings
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is every bit the same as AA meetings, just with different types of substances. AA meetings are quite popular because alcohol is such a widely abused substance. However, anybody can attend AA or NA meetings, regardless of the substances they abused.
Who Can Benefit From AA Meetings?
We’ll start off directly by saying that nearly anybody can benefit from an AA meeting. If you’re unsure, there’s no harm at all in trying, whether you believe it’s right for you or not. Either way, here are some examples of people who can benefit from AA meetings.
People Who Abuse Alcohol
We don’t want to use the term “alcoholics” for two reasons. First, there is a negative connotation to the term. Second, not everybody has to be an alcoholic to have a drinking problem.
While that may sound odd to some people, there are plenty of people who binge drink, self-medicate, or all around drink excessively. These are not necessarily alcoholics, as alcoholism implies a physical dependency. However, a psychological dependency is even more powerful and requires treatment nonetheless.
Did you know that 1 in 6 adults binge drink, with a quarter of them doing it at least weekly? While this is often normalized in our culture, this is detrimental to our health and can quickly lead to addiction, health complications, and potential deaths. Therefore, anybody who regularly engages in alcohol abuse could benefit from al-anon meetings.
People With Substance Use Disorder
People who have overcome drug abuse can benefit from attending al-anon meetings on a regular basis. The only differences between alcohol addiction and drug addiction are legality and stigmas. Substance use disorder (SUD) is the same, no matter the substance.
That’s not to suggest that everybody experiences SUD the same way, as they certainly don’t. However, everybody struggling with sobriety can benefit from ongoing treatment and support.
Those Who Have Completed Rehab
AA and NA meetings are perfect for those who have finished a stay in rehab, whether recently or not. Inpatient programs are perfect for early recovery, as you will receive 24-hour access to medical oversight during detox, and you’ll stay away from temptation.
However, it’s dangerous to think of rehab as a “cure” or a “one-time event” because it isn’t. Sobriety is a lifelong journey that requires a lifelong commitment. Transitioning into a sober life on your own isn’t easy, and maintaining abstinence throughout your life is even more challenging.
Did you know that up to 85% of rehab patients relapse within their first year? That isn’t to say that it isn’t effective, but rather that addiction is simply so powerful. For that reason, proper follow-up care is essential.
When nurses receive their degrees, do they get to be nurses forever? No, they have to maintain their licensure throughout their careers with continuing education. Why should sobriety be any different?
Sobriety is a lifelong skill, and it’s easy to forget over the course of 10, 20, or 50 years. Think of AA as a constant reminder of why and how to live a sober life.
Family Members and Loved Ones
Any family members of people with SUD can potentially benefit from al-anon support. Addiction recovery should involve the whole family, as it is a healing process for everyone. If you have been traumatized by a loved one’s addiction, it helps to know that you aren’t alone.
Addiction meetings are also a great source of education for everybody. This will help you learn that you aren’t alone, what the common symptoms are, how to respond, and how to live your best life after the trauma you may have faced.
Find the Support You Need
As you can see, AA meetings are for absolutely anybody who may need them. AA or NA meetings have no home for stigmas, discrimination, or hate. If you believe you could use the support of understanding people, then find a meeting near you today!
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