Choosing Alcoholics Anonymous in Recovery
Alcoholics Anonymous can be a good choice for people who have decided to break away from their alcohol addiction. This option is not suitable for everyone, but it does offer a program that may help the individual build a good life in sobriety. The most well known aspect of the AA program is the meetings. Those who are new to recovery are advised to attend 90 meetings in 90 days.
The Benefits of AA Meetings
There are a number of benefits to attending AA meetings such as:
- By going to a meeting the individual gets to spend time with people who understand what it means to be an alcoholic. The members are in a good position to offer each other support and advice.
- The individual can learn more about the 12 Step program by going to the meetings. This program not only allows them to escape addiction but also build a good life in sobriety.
- By attending the meetings the member gets to hear about other people’s experience with alcohol. This is a constant reminder of where they have come from and what they would be going back to if they relapsed.
- The meetings offer a venue where the individual can discuss their problems. This ability to vent means that they will be able to deal much better with stress.
- There are many members of Alcoholics Anonymous who would be considered inspirational characters. Spending time with these individuals can be inspiring.
- The meetings offer a wonderful opportunity to socialize. They allow people to build up a network of sober friends.
- Another benefit of these meetings is that they provide members with the opportunity to do some type of service. Helping others is a wonderful way to strengthen sobriety; it often benefits the individual offering the service more than those receiving it.
The Need for 90 Meetings in 90 Days
It is suggested that newcomers to Alcoholics Anonymous try to attend 90 meetings in 90 days. This is not a requirement of membership but only a recommendation. In the early days of Alcoholics Anonymous they only had one meeting per week but plenty of people still managed to build successful recoveries. There are benefits to attending daily meetings in early sobriety, but this will not be a feasible option for a great many people. Those who do have the spare time should certainly consider it.
The Benefits of 90 Meetings in 90 Days
There are a number of benefits to attending 90 meetings in the first 90 days of recovery including:
- The early weeks of recovery are when people are most likely to relapse. By attending a meeting every day it can help the individual stay committed to sobriety.
- If people give up an addiction they will suddenly have a great deal of time on their hand. Going to a meeting every day will help them fill up this time.
- This intensive immersion into Alcoholics Anonymous will give the individual the opportunity to learn about how the 12 Steps work.
- It will help to ensure that the individual has plenty of support during the early days of their recovery.
- Total immersion in Alcoholics Anonymous ensures that the program becomes a priority.
- Walking away from an addiction usually means leaving behind friends who are still drinking or using drugs. By attending a meeting every day the individual will be able to build a new support network.
- Committing to 90 meetings in 90 day and keeping this commitment can be a good boost for self-esteem. Most addicts will have a long history of broken promises and resolutions so actually keeping to a commitment can be good for confidence.
- This type of immersion into Alcoholics Anonymous shows that the individual is really willing to change their life. This willingness is the key to success in sobriety.
- Socializing can be an important element of regular AA attendance. It is common for people to go for a coffee after the meetings.
The Risk of Relapse in Early Recovery
People are most likely to relapse in the first few weeks and months of recovery. The risk of relapse never completely goes away, but things can be particularly precarious during the early phase of recovery. This means that the individual will benefit from plenty of support during this transition period into sobriety when they are most vulnerable. By attending a meeting every day the newly sober person will making good use of the available resources and giving themselves the best chance of success. 90 meeting in 90 days comes with no guarantee that the individual will avoid relapse, but it may reduce the likelihood that this will happen.
The Dangers of Boredom in Recovery
Those who relapse after a period of sobriety will often cite boredom as a justification. When people are addicted to alcohol they will spend most of their day thinking about, obtaining, consuming, or getting over the effects of this substance. This means that when they are sober they will suddenly have too much time on their hands. If they fail to find productive things to do with this time they will begin to feel bored. This is dangerous because one of the main reasons why people abuse substances in the first place is to escape the uncomfortable feeling of boredom. If they feel this way in recovery they may decide that the sober life is just not satisfying or worth the effort.
It can take a few months before people in recovery discover meaningful things to do with their time. This is because prior to this the individual may have had little interest in anything that didn’t involve alcohol and drugs. 90 meetings in 90 days will provide them with a productive use for their time. By going to a meeting every day the individual will have something to do so this should mean less risk of boredom.
Avoiding Loneliness in Recovery
Loneliness is another justification that can be used by people when they relapse back to their addiction. Giving up alcohol may mean saying goodbye to a network of drinking buddies and this can be difficult. If the individual is estranged from their family as well then this may mean that they are incredibly lonely during those early days of recovery. Unfortunately new friends are not going to come and find them; it will usually be necessary for the individual to do the legwork. Going to 90 meetings in 90 days offers a great opportunity to build new friendships and avoid loneliness.
Criticisms of 90 Meetings in 90 Days
Critics of AA may worry that this total immersion in the program might be a form of brainwashing. The individual will become dependent on the meetings and they will be merely swapping one addiction for another. There is also concern that that people can become so obsessed with AA that they neglect other important aspects of their recovery. Family members who once complained that their loved one neglected them to go to the bar may now complain that the same is happening with the meetings. There is also the criticism that those who become gung ho for Alcoholics Anonymous in the beginning can run out of steam and relapse.