AA meetings play an important role in recovery because they offer physical and emotional support. A lot of people have a positive outlook on AA meetings and feel they help them grow, but there are also people who have had bad experiences and are looking for a different route. Alcoholics Anonymous goal is to help those in recovery stay in recovery. Sometimes though, people don’t get the help and inspiration they need in AA meetings. And that could result in relapse and addiction again. So, what happens when you do encounter a bad experience in AA? Maybe it’s just not for you? Are you doomed in recovery? Or maybe you just need to give AA another chance?
- People in AA have very different personalities. Newcomers might feel bossed around or uncomfortable in a setting like this. Even if people are trying to help out, it might come across as being pushy.
- Anonymity isn’t always respected. If you decide to open up in the meeting, it might not stay at the meeting. And it could come up again in conversation with someone else.
- AA meetings are helpful towards those who want to be there. If you’re being forced by law, or by friends/family, it might not work out as planned. Especially for those who have different religious beliefs, as AA meetings and 12 step meetings promote praying and the help of God in recovery.
- Those who are ahead in their sobriety could take advantage of the newcomers; the unofficial 13th Step.
- The AA meeting or program can be unorganized in productivity. They could be spreading inaccurate information on addiction and misleading information on client’s recovery. Meetings can be flaky and unworthy.
- Engage in mutual support with others who are struggling with substance abuse and addiction.
- It’s free and open to anyone.
- AA supports all stages of recovery, therefore people who are days or months sober have the same benefit as those who have been sober for years and centuries.
- AA gives the opportunity for those in long term sobriety to mentor newbies in recovery.
- It’s used in court, in which the addict seeks help with their recovery and follows the steps to a healthier lifestyle.
- It’s a great place to meet other sober friends; to have friends who have been in your shoes before so you have someone to talk to about issues or ask for advice. It’s also nice to have sober friends so you can invite them on outings with your non-recovery friends and still make it a comfortable setting for you.
You don’t have to give up on AA totally. Maybe you can give AA another chance. Here are ways to make the best of AA:
- If you’ve only been to one program, maybe try another. AA programs run differently. You might not fit into the one you’re currently going to. If you branch out and attend an AA meeting elsewhere, it can open your eyes to a better opportunity at recovery.
- If you’re turned off by the religious parts of AA and 12 step meetings, there are meetings that don’t correspond with religion. Try finding an AA program that supports non-believers and see if it changes your perspective.
- You might be experiencing a negative mood towards AA because of an individual you met in one meeting. Don’t let that stop you from attending more meetings, though. Your recovery is too important to just dismiss because of a certain someone.
- Safe Spaces are great alternative routes to AA. They allow certain people; e.g. only female, a certain age, specific demographics like that. This allows for a more comfortable setting in which you can share information and insight to.
- You might not be ready for help from other peers. Recovery takes patience and if you’re not ready for it, or you’re not willing to go, then don’t. Take some time, talk to a therapist or go to a group meeting and discuss your concerns with AA. You might be ready to go in the future, and you just need that push.