AA Meeting Topics

AA meeting topics

A Quick Summary of Alcoholics Anonymous

AA or Alcoholics Anonymous is more than what you see in the movies. Alcoholics Anonymous is an inclusive and welcoming support group. Since its humble start in 1935, AA has grown to the largest support group model in the world.

With free and open-to-all meetings across the globe, there are over two million Alcoholics Anonymous members. The only requirement for entry into an Alcoholics Anonymous group is the desire to stop drinking.

The Typical AA Meeting Format

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, outlined in The Big Book, starting with admitting the control alcohol has over us and ending with the spiritual practice of AA principles, are guidelines for overcoming addiction to alcohol.

If you’ve never attended an AA or 12-step meeting, you may be wondering what to expect. The typical AA meeting format has a few different components. First, expect to take a seat in a semi-circle surrounding the meeting chairperson who sits in the middle.

To start, the chairperson will read the AA Preamble, which outlines the AA mission and values and lead the group in the nondenominational Serenity Prayer. After, members will read aloud sections of The Big Book before newcomers are given the chance to introduce themselves.

Don’t worry if you’re not ready for this step, introductions are optional. While the preamble, prayer, and introductions are generally part of every meeting, what happens next may change depending on the type of AA meeting you are attending.

Different Types of AA Meetings

There are four major types of AA meetings, including:

  • Discussion meetings.
  • Speaker meetings.
  • Beginner meetings.
  • Study meetings.

In a discussion meeting, a member of the group acts as the leader, opening the meeting and selecting a discussion topic. In a speaker meeting, one individual or multiple will share their story, focusing on their journey with alcohol abuse and recovery goals.

Beginner meetings are led by AA members who are further along in their recovery journey. These meetings typically follow a question-and-answer format to help newcomers get a feel for what happens in AA.

Rather than diving too deep and risking overwhelming newcomers, leaders of beginner meetings often focus on the first three or the twelve steps. This brings us to the last type of AA meeting, a study meeting.

These are sometimes also called step meetings, tradition meetings, or Big Book meetings. By any name, study meetings focus on an in-depth look at one of the AA steps or traditions. And no matter the type, most AA meetings end with the Serenity Prayer or a moment of silence.

Open vs. Closed Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings

AA Meeting Topics

Sometimes, bringing a friend or family member to a meeting makes it easier to open up and share with the group. In an open AA meeting, any community member is welcome, and you can bring someone with you if they agree to respect the members’ anonymity.

Most open meetings are speaker meetings. Closed meetings, on the other hand, are usually more informal. Attending a closed meeting is limited to existing AA members and new participants who want to stop drinking.

This is an ideal setting for discussing vulnerable topics with other group members who understand them. But both open and closed AA meetings can provide members with support and valuable learning opportunities.

Choosing AA Meeting Topics

If you are leading a discussion meeting, you will get the chance to open the meeting and choose the topic for discussion. Choosing AA meeting topics can be a daunting task for some. But remember that participating can help you gain more from your time here.

The member acting as the meeting’s chairperson may choose a topic and lead the discussion. And there are endless potential AA meeting topics to choose from.

Potential AA Meeting Topics: A Short Listing

Potential AA meeting topics can range from those listed in The Big Book to the current emotional state of the chairperson. The 12 steps and the 12 traditions are two of the most common topics of discussion, but they are far from the only ones.

Some groups discuss one Big Book chapter each week, while others read from the book each week and discuss the chapters as they move through them. But while these are common courses of discussion, AA literature provides dozens of other suggestions.

A shortlist of potential AA meeting topics:

  • Acceptance
  • Forgiveness
  • Freedom through sobriety
  • Hope
  • Inventory
  • Making amends
  • Patience and tolerance
  • Participation and action
  • Sponsorship
  • Willingness
  • Working with others

Click here to read the full list of suggested topics for AA discussion meetings.

What to Bring to an AA Meeting

If you’re not gathering AA meeting topics to lead the discussion in your meeting, you may be wondering what else you need to bring. As we mentioned before, Alcoholics Anonymous is free, and membership is less formal than many other groups.

All you need to bring to an AA meeting is an open mind and a desire to stop drinking. There are no forms, applications, fees, or other formal requirements. Members are free to come and go and participate or observe as they wish.

Getting the Most Out of a 12-Step Meeting

AA Meeting Topics

Sharing your story with others who are on the same journey is a great way to make connections for lasting sobriety. Having a sober social circle or support group you can turn to at any moment provides the social support necessary for true recovery.

Social support helps you better relate to your environment, understand those around you, strengthen your place in the community, and develop healthy communication skills. Social support groups like AA allow you to connect with others with shared goals.

They promote feelings of belonging and shared purpose, while on an individual level boosting our self-esteem and confidence. There are many benefits to attending 12-step and other social support meetings during and after recovery.

And getting the most out of your meetings depends on what you are willing to put into them. If you’re wondering where to start, we recommend that you start by paying attention to the length and frequency of your meeting attendance, combining AA meetings with other treatments, and finding a sponsor.

Alcoholics Anonymous vs. Treatment for Alcoholism

While AA and other support meetings are crucial tools in recovery, they are rarely sufficient as the sole treatment methods for alcoholism. Depending on the severity of your addiction, we can recommend several different treatment types and settings, including:

  • Inpatient care (starting with medical detox)
  • Partial hospitalization program
  • Intensive outpatient program

This list starts with the most high-level program and works down to the most flexible. In an inpatient program, you temporarily relocate and work toward sobriety from the comfort and safety of one of our facilities.

With 24-hour access to medical support and recovery guidance, inpatient programs offer the highest level of care. This makes them ideal for those with moderate to severe addictions and withdrawal symptoms, a history of relapse, or a stressful home life.

In a partial hospitalization or intensive outpatient program, you live at home while attending weekly counseling sessions, support group meetings, and other recovery treatments at our facility. Partial hospitalization is common for those battling both addiction and mental illness.

These programs feature an average of 20 hours per week spent with us. Stepping down another level of care, intensive outpatient programs typically require nine to 19 hours of attendance per week. These are best for people with intermediate-level substance abuse problems.

It bears mentioning that while this is a step down in time requirements, it is not a step down in treatment or effectiveness. And it is also worth mentioning that we do not expect you to know which program will best suit your needs.

If you are unsure of where to start, call our 24-hour line for guidance.

Forging Your Path at Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you’re looking to start your journey with Alcoholics Anonymous, we can help you find a local meeting to aid the other treatments in your recovery plan. Addiction treatments work best when they are well-rounded and holistic.

We can help you build a treatment plan that addresses your emotional, physical, and spiritual recovery needs. The road to recovery starts right here at Pathfinders Recovery Center. Call us today at 866-263-1820.

The Sober Movement

The Sober Movement

What Is the Sober Movement?

The sober community has come a long way in recent years. There are many reasons for this. The rise of the opiate epidemic is a big one, but there is also so much more information out there these days regarding substance abuse.

When I was growing up, I had no idea of the dangers of certain drugs. There were afterschool specials and a few random TV ads about drugs being bad, but they never really told you why. “Just Say No” became a popular term back in the 80s, but what is the reason for just saying no?

I didn’t get it until I became a full-blown alcoholic and drug addict. I dabbled in a lot of different drugs and ended up wasting a lot of my life. I lost multiple jobs and could barely hold down a place to live.

When I entered Pathfinders for treatment, I didn’t know too much about the sober movement or the term ‘sober curious’. The definition of sober curious is a bit different from being actually sober.

Sober curious refers to the option you have to not drink or use drugs. When someone is sober curious, they are more interested in sobriety for health and wellness reasons. Anyone can be sober curious. You don’t necessarily have to have an addiction to be sober curious.

The origins of the term can be traced back to the author Ruby Warrington. Her book “Sober Curious” was published in 2018 and has become a must-read for those interested in the sober movement.

This book has been a big eye-opener for a lot of people, myself included. The sober lifestyle has historically been seen as made up of only former addicts. There are so many people out there who are not addicts that have just decided to not drink or do drugs.

When you meet someone who has never drunk alcohol or done drugs in their life, it’s rare. But these people are out there, and they have just as much wisdom as anybody else.

You don’t have to have a drug or alcohol history to have insight into the world of substance abuse. Obviously, recovering addicts may have more personal experience on the matter, but the information is out there if you choose to educate yourself.

It doesn’t take a drug addict to know that doing opiates can kill you. It doesn’t take you being an alcoholic to know that alcohol can seriously hurt your body and your mind.

Do I have to be an alcoholic to get sober? The answer is absolutely not. The sober movement is made up of all kinds of people. Perhaps you’ve had people in your life who are addicted, and it scared you enough to never want to try drugs or alcohol.

I have met many people in the sober community who were the children of alcoholics. They made the decision early on to never drink, knowing full well that it probably wouldn’t go so well. If you have a family history of substance abuse, chances are you won’t be one of those people who can just drink socially.

Changing The Sobriety Stigma

Changing The Sobriety Stigma

Another question sober curious people may ask themselves is why am I expected to drink to have a good time? There is so much peer pressure in our society and an emphasis on drinking to have fun.

Why is this the case? When you really try to wrap your head around this issue, it makes you question a lot of things. We’ve seen what drugs and alcohol can do to people, yet drugs and alcohol are so closely associated with having a good time.

Sober people are often looked at as boring and uninteresting. Since I got sober, I can’t count how many fun and interesting sober people I’ve met. This is one of the great tricks that society plays on us.

Just like there is a stigma with drug addicts, there is also a stigma around sober people. Some people think we are miserable because we can’t get high or drunk anymore.

There are people that are sometimes referred to as ‘dry drunks’. This is defined as a recovering alcoholic who still exhibits the behavior and attitude of an active alcoholic. You may meet these people, but in my experience, most of the people I’ve come across in the sober community are full of life and couldn’t be happier to not be addicted.

The trend vs. lifestyle of the sober movement is also something to consider. Sure, some people may consider themselves sober curious because they see it as the cool thing to do. Some people may be trying to impress others by bragging about their sobriety.

In my experience, no matter what community you are part of, there are going to be people who aren’t all in. Some people just want to feel like they are part of something bigger. Sometimes people just want to try it out and see for themselves.

No matter what, I treat everyone I meet in the sober community the same. If they no longer want sobriety, it isn’t my place to judge. If one of my peer’s relapses and doesn’t come back from it, it’s sad, but there isn’t a lot I can do for them personally other than offer my insight.

I look at achieving recovery from drinking as a way of life. This is who I am, and it plays a big role in every aspect of my life. When you become sober after being addicted, it’s something you need to put a lot of work into. It doesn’t come easy, but the rewards are very much worth it.

There is a lot to be said regarding social media and the sober movement. Social media is a huge part of our daily lives today, and a lot of influencers online have taken to the sober movement.

There are a lot of celebrities involved in the sober movement, which can be encouraging to younger people. I never want to be influenced in any way by something just because of what a celebrity says, but it really does have an impact on a lot of people.

All the great actors of the golden age of Hollywood were known for their drinking habits and exploits. These days, you will find just as many sober entertainers as you will ones that engage in substance abuse.

Forms of Treatment for Assistance In Sobriety

Forms of Treatment for Assistance In Sobriety

Your approach to sobriety very much determines how well you will do. If you are all in, and you truly want it for yourself, you have a great chance of succeeding. While you do have to do a lot of the work on your own, you are going to need help along the way.

I know that for me personally I really needed all the peer support that I’ve gotten over the years. It plays a big part in me staying on the sober path. I’ve met a lot of other problem drinkers like myself who made the decision to get sober before it was too later.

The definition of problem drinking is someone who abuses alcohol but is not yet chronically addicted. Luckily for me, I managed to get help before becoming physically addicted. Unfortunately, some people don’t seek help until they are late-term alcoholics.

There are a lot of different and unique ways to enjoy sobriety. I used to really enjoy cocktails, and luckily for me, there are a wide variety of non-alcoholic drinks that are commonly referred to as mocktails.

Mocktails and other sober movement drinks allow you to continue to have fun and indulge a little bit. When I first got sober, I switched to non-alcoholic beer. It was a great bridge drink for me. I always enjoyed beer and all the different varieties of beer. Being able to have my NA beer after I got sober was a good way for me to ease into my sobriety without completely dropping the drinks I used to enjoy.

The rise of the sober movement and sober curious people have been very fun for me to witness. The word is out on drugs and alcohol. They ruin lives, families, and careers. People don’t usually ruin their lives simply because they are sober.

With drugs and alcohol, no matter where you are in life, you are going to experience turmoil. Some addicts are violent and their behavior changes when they are under the influence. Some addicts are non-confrontational, and their addiction doesn’t affect their personality. Even though that is the case, they are still doing a great amount of damage to their bodies.

I was never a violent or angry drunk. I was what you’d call a happy drunk. I was nice to everyone, and I never engaged in any lewd or illegal behavior. Everything seemed fine until I realized the internal damage that it was doing.

The negative physical effects of substance abuse can really creep up on you. My uncle was a happy drunk too. Everything seemed fine with him until he died of a heart attack. The heart attack was brought on by his unhealthy lifestyle. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t get the chance to realize what he was doing to himself.

The alcohol was waging a silent war against him. Seeing that taught me a lot. The best lesson it taught me is that nobody ever died from achieving sobriety. That is a great thought that I continue to hold on to.

The Stigma Of Addiction: How Do I Break It?

What is Alcoholism?

In 1956, alcoholism was classified as a disease by the American Medical Association. The definition of a disease is “a quality, habit, or disposition regarded as adversely affecting a person or a group of people.”

The AMA’s conclusion is fitting to say the least. Today, alcoholism is a part of a much larger epidemic – the disease of addiction. Unlike physical ailments, alcohol addiction has become a serious societal issue, one plagued by stigmas and stereotypes. People often say, “Addicts are weak, they just need to toughen up and quit,” or, “Addicts are liars, burnouts and waste of space,” and “Addicts are bad people and criminals.”

All too often these types of judgmental statements are spoken. The purpose of this article is to give the reader a glimpse into what it is like to be an addict.


How Alcoholism Starts

stigma-of-alcoholismOutside circumstances vary drastically, but internally most addicts, including myself, have similar experiences although it can often feel like they’re the only one.

You’re introduced to a substance, you try it, and you like the way it makes you feel. In the beginning the substances make you feel euphoria, and for the potential addict, you just want to do it again. It’s a slow and gradual decline of one’s power of choice and into dependency.

 


Becoming An Addict

beginning-of-alcohol-addictionAs time goes on our tolerance for the substances gets greater. Leaving us needing more of our drug of choice in order to become intoxicated. So, what does any motivated addict do at this point?

More drugs and alcohol of course.

A non-addict may be able to anticipate what might happen if they continue down this path and decide to turn it around. This isn’t so with the real addict from our experience. What we see is delusions crop up, and from this altered reality we are able to find justifications for our actions.

Here is an example: a close friend of yours approaches you and says, “I think you should slow down with partying. I’m worried about you and you do not seem like yourself lately.” The non-addict’s thought process might lead to some introspection like, “Are they right? Am I getting carried away? Maybe I should take it easy for a while.” An addict on the other hand may say, “They don’t know what they’re talking about! I’m fine and if they can’t accept me for who I am, then I don’t need them in my life.” This defensiveness and sometimes anger comes quickly when someone challenges them or they think they may lose their drug, which is one reason so many addicts become alienated from the people in their lives. This cycle goes on until you have reached the no man’s land of dependency.


Active Full Blown Addiction

Once an addict has reached the stage of full-blown dependency, it is incredibly difficult to stop. When I was using, you could have given me a lie detector test and I would have been telling the truth when I said I believed to my core that there was no chance that I could stop.

The physiological make-up of my body had changed. This is true with all addicts. As a person in long term recovery, I wanted to get clean for years before I was actually able to make it stick. Allow me to emphasize the important part of that statement. I wanted to get clean for years.

When an addict feels like they can’t stop using, they often feel ashamed, weak and like a failure. Having the world say the same and worse, contributes to an addict’s need to detach from those feelings on some level, so they just keep using. Punishing and condemning addicts, bad mouthing them and judging them will never help this problem. It doesn’t help the addict, nor does it benefit the world as a whole as society continues to perpetuate the cycle. What is needed is an educated society that understands the issue and its complexities, and how best to approach it.


The Recovery Process

Since the founders of Pathfinders Recovery Center have been in recovery we have found that addicts, and people in general for that matter, are capable of great things. The same men and women that come from dark, selfish, and lonely pasts are now selfless and caring, with a unique compassion for their fellow man. One in ten adult people in this nation are struggling with some form of addiction, and only one in ten of those people get help. These statistics are staggering. This disease does not discriminate. There are politicians, lawyers, policemen, doctors, pilots, therapists, and all other professions. We are your neighbors, your friends, your pastor, and your child’s school teacher. Before judging and condemning addicts, please remember that these people you are talking about are sick. Very sick. The power of choice is more than likely no longer in their grasp. They need compassion and understanding. They need help, and to be shown there is a way out.

For more information and the science behind each chemical’s effect on the body view our earlier blog posts or contact a Pathfinders Recovery Center founder directly at (855) 728-4363.