How Does AA Work? The Basics Explained

How Does AA Work | How Does AA Work? The Basics Explained | Alcohol Use Disorder affects an estimated 14.5 million people in the United States. It can tear apart lives and families, leaving destruction and sorrow in its wake.

While there are many treatment options for AUD, one of the most popular is Alcoholics Anonymous or AA. Meetings occur in just about every city at least once a day, making it a helpful and accessible way to find support.

However, that first meeting can be quite scary. How does AA work, anyway?

Keep reading for a quick rundown on the basic structure of an AA meeting and decide if it’s right for you!

Opening Remarks and the Serenity Prayer

Though the structure — particularly at the beginning — may change depending on the meeting you attend, each meeting has a moderator who guides the group through the itinerary. Often, the moderator may be a local religious figure, but in some cases, it may be a fellow recovering addict with a history of living sober.

The moderator will open the meeting by welcoming everyone and asking if there are any new attendees present.

If you’re nervous about raising your hand, you’re free to keep your hand down. AA is about support, and you don’t have to do anything you don’t want to do.

The Serenity Prayer is a request to your higher power (if you have one), asking that they help you make positive changes and accept that which you cannot change.

AA Chips and Acknowledgements

Following the opening remarks, the moderator will present recurring attendees with a sobriety chip. These chips hold special meanings, as they represent milestones in a recovering addict’s life.

Group Sharing

This is the bulk of the meeting. In this section, group members who feel comfortable speaking will get in front of their peers and share their recent struggles and triumphs. The group is expected to remain quiet until the speaker is finished, at which point they can offer support and constructive feedback.

Rest assured, AA meetings are a place for hope. If you’re worried about a fellow group member shouting you down, the moderator won’t let it happen.

Post-meeting Socialization and Support

Once everyone who wishes to speak has had a chance to do so, the moderator will offer a supportive message. Depending on the chapter, it may be a Bible verse, though it can also be as simple as some words of encouragement. They’ll then close the meeting and you’re free to mingle.

The post-meeting socialization component of AA is quite important. It’s a time for you to meet your fellow group members and make sober connections who can help you through the coming days.

How Does AA Work? Everything to Know

If you came into this article asking, ‘How does AA work?’ we hope you’ve found some answers. Remember that you don’t have to do anything you’re uncomfortable with. So if you want to spend your first meeting sitting back and observing, you’re more than free to do so.

What matters is that you find a helpful, safe, and supportive group that is conducive to your sobriety.

Be sure to check out the rest of our health content to learn more about how you can lead a sober lifestyle!