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  • Writer's pictureChris Thompson

How Long Are Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings Usually?



Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one of many treatment options for alcoholism. If you’re considering attending a meeting and are wondering how much time to plan for an AA meeting, you’ve come to the right place.


Facilitators of AA meetings typically keep meetings to an hour, on average. Meeting formats can vary depending on who leads the AA group meeting. Occasionally, meetings can run over an hour if a speaker is scheduled.


Sometimes, meeting attendees meet up for coffee afterward or stay around to chat, while others attend the meeting and leave immediately after. If you want to get sober but can’t fit a scheduled in-person meeting into your life, consider joining a sober community online that provides on-demand support 24/7.


You're not alone if you’ve decided to get help with your drinking problem. It may not surprise you that over six percent of adults over the legal age of 18 are struggling with an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Although 15 million people suffer from alcohol use disorder, less than 10 percent of people with a serious drinking problem reach out and seek treatment options.


Read on for more answers about AA and other helpful information.


How Do I Know if I Have a Drinking Problem?

Only you can decide if you have a drinking problem, but one way to find your answer is to ask yourself, “What is my current relationship with alcohol?”


You know yourself better than anyone, right? If you’re reading this, you may have decided you need help with your drinking or are researching to determine if you have a drinking problem. Self-evaluation, reflection, and accountability are key elements of recovery.


Although you’re the ultimate one who can decide if you’re an alcoholic, there are signs you should be aware of. Read on for guidelines from alcoholics anonymous to help you determine the answer.


Are You An Alcoholic?

AA provides some guidelines for alcoholism: If you consistently consume more alcohol than you intended to drink or if your drinking negatively impacts other areas of your life, you may be an alcoholic.


Let’s review some other characteristics associated with a drinking problem.


Memory Lapse and Blackouts

One thing to be aware of is experiencing a memory lapse due to drinking or having blackouts after consuming alcohol. Having blackouts does not necessarily mean you have an alcohol use disorder, but it is something you should be concerned about.


During a blackout, a person is still awake, but their brain is not creating new memories. Depending on how much the person drank, it is possible to transition from having a blackout to passing out.


Inability To Stop Drinking

There are some other characteristics of alcoholics to be aware of. With alcoholism, it doesn’t matter what you drink or even how much you consume. Although not true of all people with an alcohol use disorder, many dependent on alcohol cannot stop drinking once they’ve started.


Tolerance

Alcoholics have lost control over their drinking, and they build up a tolerance for alcohol consumption. They gradually need to consume more alcohol to get the same high effects from drinking.


Withdrawal Symptoms

If you quit drinking for a month, a week, or possibly a day, depending on your level of addiction, and you experience withdrawal symptoms, it’s safe to say you need to evaluate your relationship with alcohol. Withdrawal symptoms can vary, but there are some common symptoms reported.


Alcohol withdrawal can include the following symptoms:

  • Nausea

  • Sweating

  • Restlessness

  • Irritability

  • Tremors

  • Hallucinations

  • Convulsions

More About Alcoholics Anonymous

If you’re wondering how widespread alcohol addiction is, the size of the AA community is a tell-tale sign. You may be surprised to know AA groups can be found in 180 nations across the globe.


The membership for AA includes 2 million people, and AA literature has been translated into more than 100 languages worldwide. Statistics show that on a global scale, over five percent of diseases and injuries can be attributed to alcohol.


Finding AA meetings is fairly easy with some quick research on Google. The AA program was built on a 12-step program known as the big book. The program promotes accountability and a structured plan for recovery from addiction.


If you’re considering attending your first AA meeting, below are some frequently asked questions to ease your mind.


Who Can Attend an AA Meeting?

AA holds different types of meetings, including closed meetings and open meetings. Closed meetings are reserved for those with a drinking problem who want to quit drinking.


Open meetings are, as the name implies, open to anyone interested in the AA program, and they do not need to be an alcoholic to attend an open AA meeting. In these meetings, loved ones and observers are permitted; family and friends can attend to show support.


What Do You Wear to an AA Meeting?

AA meetings are not formal, and you can wear appropriate clothing that makes you feel comfortable. Some people say wearing nice, clean clothes makes them feel more presentable to speak at AA meetings, but there are no dress requirements.


One pro tip: it’s a good idea to avoid wearing hats or t-shirts that advertise and advocate alcohol brands or use. This can be potentially triggering for other members and can feel disrespectful, especially from a new attendee.


How Many Times Should You Go to AA?

On average, people attend AA meetings once a week. Consistency is recommended for a successful AA program.


However, there is no limit to the number of times you wish to attend nor a frequency requirement. You may attend as much or as little as you feel helpful and as your schedule allows.


People have lives outside of AA, and responsibilities with work, family members, or school can make it hard to make it regularly to alcoholics anonymous meetings. There are other meeting options similar to AA that are available 24/7. Download the Sober Sidekick app today!


What Is the Criteria for AA Membership?

The only requirement needed to join as an AA member is the desire to stop drinking. This is the one non-negotiable for membership at AA.


There is no form to fill out, no application, and no judgment for new or returning members. All are welcome into AA support groups who have the desire to quit drinking.


What Are AA Alternatives?

It’s important to know you have options for addiction recovery from alcohol. Depending on your situation, you may decide that a treatment facility is in your best interest.

Other treatment options include online sobriety support groups. Keep reading to learn more about treatment options. No matter where you are in your journey, there’s a support program for you!


Inpatient and Outpatient Programs

Addiction treatment programs can vary, offering detox from substance abuse at inpatient recovery centers and outpatient treatment centers as an option that lets you maintain the other normal parts of your life, such as work, school, or caring for family members.


Some treatment centers can be helpful in helping you determine the root cause of your drinking, including helping you with resources for a mental health issue and addressing overall healthcare. Be sure to ask about their full range of services if you explore this as a route to your recovery.


Sober Sidekick

Many people who suffer from alcoholism and other addictions are turning to support groups and meetings through the convenience of an app. Sober Sidekick is a discreet tool for addiction recovery, with a membership of over 150,000 people rooting for your recovery.


Sober Sidekick has the following features:

  • Online meetings 24/7 — Attend meetings on your time and your schedule.

  • Sobriety counter — Track your sobriety on the app to hold yourself accountable.

  • Daily motivations — Receive daily motivations just when you need it most.

  • Give-to-receive messaging — Support others as they support you.

  • Discretion — Remain anonymous, or share your story.

  • Free — No insurance? No worries. Sobriety Sidekick is free and downloadable today!


Summary

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is one avenue to get the support you need for your addiction. Evaluate your situation, and consider other options to determine the next steps for you. If you’re unsure where to start, download Sober Sidekick and get real-time support today!


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