Similar to other addiction recovery meeting formats, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings tend to span about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes.
This is the average length of time for both online and in-person AA meetings, during which a speaker typically addresses a key topic and group members share related stories and experiences.
Where To Find An Online AA Program
If you are looking for an online AA program, you can find options via the AA website and via state chapter websites. Online options for many support groups and healthcare services have increased since the pandemic.
Virtual meetings allow greater accessibility for people who may have limited in-person options, such as those who live in rural areas, or people who otherwise can’t drive to meetings.
They are also a good option for people who need a more immediate meeting than scheduled in-person meetings.
What Is Needed For Online AA Meetings
Some remote AA meetings are done via phone call, and for those, you would only need a phone and the connection number.
For some formats, such as Zoom meetings, you can connect via phone through a number, or by using a computer device.
For a number of online meeting programs, you will need their respective apps downloaded and a login created in order to join the meeting.
Online AA Literature
Online AA literature to assist in recovery includes AA Grapevine, the international journal of AA, which includes personal recovery stories from around the world and other inspiration.
AA’s official website, AA.org, also offers a wide array of videos related to support for young people, professionals, and more.
AA.org also has options to buy classic 12-step program literature, like “the big book” of AA, titled, Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism.
The big book defines the 12 traditions and 12 steps of AA. Some AA meetings may also use prayers and books such as the Bible during meetings.
However, people of all faiths or backgrounds are welcome. For example, the big book has a section in chapter four for atheists and agnostics called “We Agnostics.”
Two Main Types Of AA Meetings
It can also be beneficial to know the two main types of meetings, both online and in-person, before attending your first AA meeting.
Open AA meetings allow family members, friends, or other loved ones to join members in attending to offer encouragement and support.
Even people who do not have an alcohol use disorder, or people who do but are unsure if a 12-step program is for them, can join open meetings as a witness.
Closed meetings are restricted to only the people who are enrolled. Typically, members are first assessed to see if they are a good fit.
These meetings also do not allow loved ones or people who are not AA members to attend.
Why The ‘Anonymous’?
AA members are asked to share only their first name and the first initial of their last name in meetings to provide anonymity. In online meetings, participants may also choose to turn off their cameras or microphones.
Anonymity serves a few important functions. On the larger scale, the focus away from the self and more toward group values can help people stop over-focusing on themselves.
Anonymity also safeguards all AA members from the effects of the stigma surrounding addiction, ensuring that their presence at meetings and what they share doesn’t affect other aspects of their lives.
Though addiction and mental illness are becoming better understood, stigmas persist, and some people are still judged unfairly for having these common health conditions.
Anonymity also helps protect the group from exploitation, as all members are seen as equals. AA has strict rules against being used as a promotional tool for a single individual.
Where To Find In-Person AA Meetings
In-person meetings can be found in addiction treatment centers as well as inside rented office spaces, religious buildings, counseling centers, community service centers, and more.
If drug and alcohol abuse recovery centers offer peer support in some way other than via 12-step meetings, they can often refer clients to in-person AA meetings in the community.
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Published on January 17, 2024
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- Alcoholics Anonymous — We Agnostics
- Alcoholics Anonymous — What to Expect at an A.A. Meeting
- Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) — Find Treatment