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Support group meetings, like AA, are often considered an integral component to one’s recovery process from substance abuse and/ or addiction.

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international, nonprofit organization that was founded in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. There are no age or education requirements. The sole membership requirement is to have a desire to stop drinking. According to Alcoholics Anonymous traditions, its purpose is to enable its members to “stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.” Alcoholics Anonymous is based on realizing personal recovery from the effects of alcoholism by utilizing the Twelve Steps. Each of the twelve steps builds upon each other and is individually and collectively, intended to help people foster and cultivate the ability to lead a satisfying life without alcohol.

The Format

The AA program is carried out through support group meetings (AA meetings) and individual peer-mentorship (sponsors). The format of Alcoholics Anonymous enables individuals to share their experiences with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem. Members of AA often select a sponsor (an individual, often further along in recovery) to provide support and help work through the Twelve Steps. Every individual will have different needs when it comes to his or her treatment plan and recovery process. As such, within these substance abuse support group meetings, there are specialized group meetings that take place. Some people may feel more comfortable participating in AA meetings that are gender-specific, some may prefer attending AA meetings geared towards individuals with dual diagnoses (struggling with addiction in addition to another mental health disorder), and other people may prefer to participate in AA meetings that are sensitive to some other self-identifying trait.

AA meetings are typically discussion-based and consist of a facilitator who provides the discussion topic. AA meetings provide a platform for individuals to talk about the work they have accomplished, work they are about to embark upon, and listen to other people’s experiences. There are open meetings and closed meetings. Anyone may attend an open AA meeting (e.g., loved one of someone struggling with alcoholism, individuals interested in the group, etc.), while closed meetings are reserved only for recovering alcoholics. AA meetings typically last one hour. 

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At Upwell Advisors, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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