People with alcoholic backgrounds might be accustomed to finding likeminded friends when they push open the doors of a bar. They pull a barstool up, sip on a beverage and strike up a conversation with the person sitting next to them. In no time at all, the two seem like close friends who have known one another for decades. In recovery, some people find that they miss this camaraderie. They may not know where to find others like them, and yet, they may desperately want to find someone to talk to as they heal. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) may help.
Alcoholics Anonymous is built on the idea that people in recovery can help one another, and when they come together, everyone is stronger. Frequent meetings play an important role in this model, and according to Alcoholics Anonymous World Service, there are close to 60,000 AA groups in the United States. As a result, there are meetings held at almost every time of day in almost every corner of this country. Meetings are also held internationally, so even travelers can stay on track. When recovery seems precarious, there’s always a meeting people can attend, so they can get support and push a craving away.
Meetings aren’t the only way in which Alcoholics Anonymous can help. Participants in groups like this are also asked to pair up with someone who has a bit more recovery time. This sponsor pledges to be available when a craving hits, and mentors might also be willing to share their recovery stories and help those new to healing to stay on track. In time, these newer members may pay back the favor by working as a mentor to another person in recovery.
People in recovery have a significant amount of work to do, including:
Their days might already seem full and busy, and they may wonder why they should be bothered to find time for a meeting. According to experts, they should make time for meetings and AA participation simply because doing so has been associated with a robust and long-term recovery from addiction.
In a study in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, researchers looked at how closely AA participation tracked with substance use and abuse over a two-year period. Here, they found that people who were closely affiliated with their programs at the one-year mark had fewer symptoms of alcoholism at the two-year point. Just participating and taking the lessons to heart allowed people to stay sober. Studies like this suggest that those who do make the time for Alcoholics Anonymous involvement are repaid for their time with a robust recovery. This could make participation seem not only worthwhile but also vital.
There’s much to understand about long-term sobriety, and some people in the early stages of recovery find it difficult to determine what interventions are considered important and which might best be deemed optional. Therapists can help by providing clients with explicit aftercare instructions they can follow, but if you have questions about how aftercare works and how treatment programs can help, please call us. We can even help you to find a sober living home to live in when your treatment program is complete.