Has alcohol or drug abuse made your life unmanageable? If you answered this question in the affirmative, you’re not alone. The World Health Organization estimates that 5.3 million people die each year from alcohol-related illnesses.
However, many more people with alcohol use disorder are still struggling. Alcoholism is a lonely disease, and many who suffer don’t know how to get help.
Since the 1930s, Alcoholics Anonymous and AA meetings have changed the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Consider AA if you have a problem and need a place to start. Your participation could change your life.
Keep reading to discover six amazing benefits of Alcoholics Anonymous and how they can help you beat your addiction.
1. A Judgement-Free Space
People with alcohol and drug addiction feel guilt and shame. When they’re in the thick of their disease, addicts do things they would never do when sober. Heavy emotions can be a trigger, leading the alcoholic to drink again.
A cycle of drinking and shame is hard on your body and spirit.
When you visit an AA meeting, you’re surrounded by people who share many of your feelings. Whether they’ve been sober for 30 days or 30 years, every alcoholic knows what it’s like to be you.
When you’re at anonymous meetings, it’s a judgment-free space. Whether you decide to share your story or not, no one judges you. You can relax and know you’re in a safe place.
2. No Payment is Required
AA’s Tradition 3 states that the only requirement for AA membership is the desire to stop drinking. To clarify, if you want to stop drinking, you are welcome at any open meeting.
It’s helpful to have your own copies of AA’s books. The Big Book and 12 Steps and 12 Traditions contain critical information about your disease and the path to recovery. Again, if you can’t afford the books, the group often has extra copies you can use.
Alcoholics Anonymous doesn’t want new members to worry about money. Later, when you have ample sober time under your belt, you can give your group a donation if you choose.
3. Listening to Other People
Many alcoholics experience deep feelings of loneliness. They imagine that no one else could possibly understand what they’re going through.
When you spend time at an AA meeting, you might feel different. Alcohol affects everyone in similar ways. It causes the loss of relationships, jobs, friends, family, and money.
By listening to others speak at an AA meeting, you’ll realize that many others lost a promotion at work because they were drinking. Some didn’t talk to their families because they were drinking. More had their marriages dissolve because they were drinking.
After hearing these stories from people in recovery, you’ll understand that you’re not alone. And you may feel inspired. If they can do it, you can do it too.
4. Be Inspired
After you hear about others who have been right where you are, you can then hear where they are now. AA members share their success stories to remind themselves of the things that are possible without alcohol. They also share these stories to inspire newcomers.
Hearing stories of new jobs, improved physical and mental health, mended relationships, and a renewed zest for life is inspiring. When you remove alcohol abuse from your life, all things are possible.
One of the most inspiring moments comes when you connect with another AA member and realize you want what they have. Understanding that someone was in your place once and then made significant changes might be the catalyst for your own recovery.
5. Make New Friends
When you’re recovering from alcohol addiction or drug addiction, you may have to leave old friends behind. If your friends are still drinking and using drugs, spending time with them can derail your recovery before you even get started.
At AA meetings, you’re surrounded by sober people who are also fun people. They’re welcoming and warm and will embrace you when you’re new to recovery. Barbecues, group outings, and other activities are a big part of Alcoholics Anonymous.
You can look forward to making new friends and having fun without alcohol or drugs.
6. Working With a Sponsor
One of the most important parts of recovery in AA is working with a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has completed the 12 steps and feels comfortable sharing their experiences with newcomers.
Your sponsor can help you better understand the information in the AA literature. Your sponsor may also ask you to check in daily to ensure you’re still strong. Your sponsor may also ask questions about your disease, give you worksheets related to the AA material, or ask you to keep a journal.
The beauty of a relationship with a sponsor is that you both have the same goal. Staying sober at all costs is hard work. Having your sponsor’s support makes the journey so much easier.
And, in many cases, your sponsor will be your lifelong friend.
Other Benefits of AA Meetings
One of the best things about AA is that it has branched out to help people with addictions to substances other than alcohol. NA meetings are invaluable for people who are addicted to drugs.
Al-Anon meetings are support groups for people whose loved one is addicted to alcohol or drugs. Al-Anon support is vital for those who want to understand their addicted loved one better. They can also learn the skills necessary to support an addict without becoming an enabler.
Twelve-step meetings are also a critical part of an outpatient or inpatient addiction program like drug rehab. In addition to counseling and addiction treatment, AA and NA meetings are part of a comprehensive program. This program helps alcoholics and addicts learn more about their disease and how they can use AA principles to lead an honest, sober life.
Visit a Meeting and Learn More
If you’re struggling with alcohol or drugs, there is a better way. The team at 12 Step Illinois is here to answer your questions about meeting times or the AA principles. We’re also available if you just need to speak with a sober person.
You can search AA meetings by city here or call 1-888-530-5096. We look forward to meeting you and helping you realize that life can be beautiful without drugs and alcohol.