What Can I Expect From An AA Online Meeting?

in Addiction
Published Aug 20, 2021
aa online

Once an individual has gone through detox and treatment for an alcohol use disorder, it is a good idea to seek continued guidance to help maintain their sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous or AA is a great way to connect with individuals that are on their own recovery journey and can relate to the challenges along the way. It is also a great way to hold oneself accountable and receive helpful encouragement. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many AA groups have opted to have meetings virtually. Before attending an online AA meeting, it can be beneficial to know what to expect from the experience. 

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

AA is an organization founded in Ohio in 1935 to help those with alcohol use disorders to stop drinking and live a fulfilling life without alcohol. It is composed of men and women that are either already in recovery or actively struggling with substance use and want to get help. This fellowship has spanned to other countries throughout the years and has helped thousands of individuals achieve and maintain their sobriety. 

AA is open to anyone regardless of their age, religion, or political views. It is also entirely free, and while new members are encouraged to attend meetings regularly, anyone can attend as often as they choose. Those that choose to participate in an AA meeting can rest assured that it is an entirely confidential environment.  

This organization follows a 12-Step program that helps an individual reshape their lives. Each step teaches a principle, such as honesty, trust, perseverance, and more. In the steps, God is mentioned; however, many people choose to reference God as a “Higher Power.” While there is a lot of focus on a Higher Power throughout the program, if an individual doesn’t believe in any God, they can still define this power however they want. 

How Do I Find an Available AA Group to Join?

The easiest way to find an online available AA group to join is to start on the Alcoholics Anonymous website. There is a drop-down menu on the main page where an individual can type in their country and zip code. They will then be shown several AA groups close to where they live. Once selecting one, they will be redirected to that intergroup’s specific website. At the top of the screen, the user can select “Online Meetings.” All upcoming online meetings for that particular intergroup will be displayed. It will show the time and date that the meeting is taking place, specify if the meeting is open or closed, and have the Zoom code and password necessary to enter the virtual meeting. Once it is time for the meeting, the user will simply need to type the code and password into Zoom, and they will be allowed into the meeting when it begins. 

What to Expect

Online AA meetings generally follow a somewhat similar format as in-person meetings. The chairperson (the individual leading the meeting) will introduce themselves, and the AA preamble will be read aloud. Then, a reading from The Big Book of AA or a designated speaker will give a talk. After that, those attending the meeting will have the opportunity to share if they choose to do so. This would be a good time for a new attendee to introduce themselves to the group. It is typical for an individual to introduce themselves by saying, “Hi, I’m ____, and I’m an alcoholic.” However, this is entirely up to what the individual is comfortable with. 

People often open up about their history of substance use, how it affected their lives and those around them, and how they are doing today after choosing sobriety. They may also talk about different challenges they face in their day-to-day life that may threaten their sobriety. After everyone is done sharing, the meeting will conclude with a prayer. The duration of an AA meeting is typically around an hour. 

Choosing a Sponsor as a Newcomer

After a newcomer has had the chance to get to know the group better, they can start thinking about how they would like to choose as their sponsor. A sponsor is someone an individual can turn to whenever they are struggling, need encouragement, or advice. They are also the person who will walk the newcomer through the 12-Steps. This person is someone they can turn to no matter the day or the hour and know they will be treated without judgment. Often this is an older member of the group who has been sober a long time. 

Regularly attending AA meetings is a great way to maintain successful sobriety after receiving treatment for an alcohol use disorder. However, because of COVID-19, many AA groups have decided to transition to online meetings. Attending a virtual meeting is not that much different than attending a meeting in person. The main difference is that it takes place over Zoom. It follows the same standard structure of announcements, reading the preamble, a speaker or reading, and a time slot for attendees to share. Someone who wants to attend an AA online meeting can easily find one by visiting the Alcoholics Anonymous website. If you think you are struggling with an alcohol use disorder or any other type of substance use, there is help available. The first step towards recovery is detox. At Gallus Medical Detox Centers, we’ve helped thousands of patients reclaim their lives following a substance use battle. Call (866) 296-5242 to learn more.