Menu Close

Live Out Your Best Future

Take the first step toward addiction treatment by contacting us today.

What to Expect from AA

Several people discuss what to expect at an AA meeting

Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is often referred to as a fellowship of peers that help one another resolve drinking problems and maintain sobriety. Many addiction treatment centers include AA meetings as part of a comprehensive recovery plan.

People who are new to recovery may wonder what to expect from Alcoholics Anonymous and if attending meetings would be beneficial. Call Woodland Recovery Center at 662.222.2989 to learn more about an Alcoholic Anonymous program.

What Is AA?

AA is a peer-led support group that helps people with alcohol use disorder achieve sobriety through the 12 steps. The steps are a set of spiritually based principles that provide individuals with a guide to help them avoid alcohol and live a healthy, well-balanced life.

In a nutshell, the AA 12 steps are:

  1. Honesty
  2. Hope
  3. Surrender
  4. Courage
  5. Integrity
  6. Willingness
  7. Humility
  8. Love
  9. Responsibility
  10. Discipline
  11. Awareness
  12. Service

Each principle also comes with suggestions for “working” the step to make it an actionable part of recovery, not just an ideal.

The mission of AA does not include recruiting new members or prohibiting alcohol use in general. However, a core belief of Alcoholics Anonymous is that complete abstinence is the best option for anyone who meets the criteria for alcohol use disorder.

What Happens in Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings?

There are thousands of AA groups around the country. Unless the group is described as gender-specific, anyone is welcome to attend, and there is no charge. When it comes to what to expect from AA, there are many common myths.

It is not required that you:

  • Stand up and speak or say you are an alcoholic
  • Pray
  • Join any sort of committee or sign any agreements about attendance
  • Pay fees
  • Hug or touch other people
  • Share personal stories
  • Participate in other sober events

What you will experience is a group of welcoming people who respect your space and your privacy.

Meetings typically last between 60 and 90 minutes and include a series of readings, personal sharing, a reflection on a specific step or AA tradition, and some version of the Serenity Prayer. There is often a time for fellowship after the meeting, either at the meeting place or meeting at a nearby café to eat and visit.

There are different types of meetings, including speaker meetings that feature an inspirational message, topic meetings that focus on a specific issue, or panel presentations that are typically educational.

AA also books meetings for women only, men only, and the LGBTQ community, as well as open meetings, closed meetings, and meetings specifically for beginners.

The details of what happens in Alcoholics Anonymous meetings is considered private. That is the point of being “anonymous.” Members count on one another not to reveal their identities to people outside the meeting or to repeat personal stories.

What to Expect from Alcoholics Anonymous in Rehab

Attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings while undergoing treatment could be a crucial element of your personalized treatment plan. Similarly to how they operate within the broader community, these meetings might be facilitated by an experienced peer or someone from your recovery team. It’s quite common for these gatherings to be led by a volunteer who is navigating their own recovery journey—even if that individual is also a staff member at the treatment center. This peer-led approach fosters a sense of camaraderie and mutual understanding among participants.

Besides the well-known 12 steps, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings follow 12 traditions. These traditions act as guiding principles to ensure the integrity and effectiveness of meetings worldwide. A key tradition states that a person’s Higher Power is the ultimate authority in meetings, allowing for personal interpretation. Another stresses that the group’s welfare comes first, making meetings welcoming and supportive for everyone. Together, the steps and traditions of AA create a supportive framework for recovery, fostering personal growth, mutual support, and a commitment to sobriety.

Learn More About What to Expect from AA at Woodland Recovery Center

We offer 12-step meetings as part of our comprehensive treatment program at Woodland Recovery Center. Contact us today at 662.222.2989 or use our online contact form. Today is the day to get more information about what types of addiction we treat and how AA can support your sobriety during and after treatment.