After doing the necessary work in rehab, it’s incumbent on you to make sure you do everything you can to protect your sobriety. If you feel you can walk right out of rehab and never look back, that’s fine. Unfortunately, most people can’t do that. For them, some form of active participation in aftercare treatment is necessary to help keep them on the straight and narrow road of recovery.
While it may not be practical to continue treatment on an outpatient basis, there is an aftercare option that has worked through the years for millions of Americans. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has offered to recover alcoholics and drug addicts a nice place of refuge when they are serious about their abstinence.
As you leave rehab, we encourage you to immediately consider going to AA meetings. It’s a place where you can go commensurate with other addiction sufferers who just need that something extra to keep them from their addictive behavior.
AA has been around since the mid-1930s thanks to the efforts of a man named Bill Wilson. Mr. Wilson was himself suffering from the disease of alcoholism when he had a chance to meet with another man who was fighting similar demons. The ability they had to be supportive of each other in tough times eventually led to the first formal AA meeting in 1935. Later, Narcotics Anonymous (NA) came into being in the 1950s.
Since that time, the program has grown to include tens of millions of members all over the world. What’s really great about these programs is membership is free. These programs are open to anyone who has a desire to stop using/drinking or stay sober.
The program has been designed so one alcoholic has the opportunity to help other alcoholics. There is a certain beauty in that. It has literally saved tens of millions of lives because people have a place to go when they feel themselves approaching the edge of relapse.
In larger cities throughout the U.S., there are meetings available every day, many times multiple meetings. Some meetings are gender-specific, some focus on the 12 Steps of Recovery, and still, other meetings are simple meetings where members come to share their experiences. While every member is important, the most important member at any meeting is the one who is there for the first time.
How Often Do You Attend AA/NA Meetings?
In AA and NA, the program literature stresses that each person should commit to one meeting per week. Is that enough? For someone with years of recovery, one meeting a week is usually enough to keep them connected to their recovery. They always have the option of attending more meetings if they feel their lives are getting out of control.
If you are new to the 12 Step concept, you should strongly consider going to as many meetings a week as you can. When you make it a habit to care about yourself, you actually start caring about yourself. The reality is you likely have a lot to learn about your addiction, and AA/NA meetings are a good place to do that.
As for the benefits you can derive from being an active member, there are three main ones:
- Camaraderie with people you have something in common with
- Having a place to talk it out
- Supports during the tough times
As an addict, you have a unique disease that is difficult for nonaddicts to understand. When you walk into an AA/NA meeting, everyone has walked a similar path and knows some of what you might be going through. You learn you are not alone.
Talk it Out
Sometimes, you just need a forum to talk out the issues that are diving you back towards your addiction. By expressing your feelings in a meeting, you are doing so in an environment that is safe from judgment.
The bonds you build in AA/NA can last a lifetime. These would be your brothers and sisters in the war against your addiction. When things start going south, you would soon learn the AA/NA will be there to help keep you on the right side of sobriety.
Before you worry about staying clean, you need to get clean. To do that, you need help. If you would allow us to help you, you can contact one of our staff members at 772-266-5320. Someone is available to help 24/7.