Here at Gallus, we’re not only concerned with managing your withdrawal symptoms through our alcohol detox process. We also want to see you succeed far beyond that and keep you safe and sober outside the walls of our detox facility. In our post about the 5 Tips for Staying Sober After Alcohol Detox, we mentioned that you should “join a support group like A.A that can keep you accountable and offer advice from others in the same situation as you.” Now, some may be skeptical about A.A and the results it can produce. Just because it has been hyped as successful does not make it necessarily so, right? To answer some of your questions about A.A, we’re going to discuss:
- What A.A is
- What results A.A has achieved and if it actually works
- If A.A is right for you
What exactly is A.A?
Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A) is a non-profit support network of men and women who want to stop drinking. To recover from alcoholism and achieve long-term sobriety, these support groups unite through their strengths and weaknesses and use the Twelve-Step program while maintaining anonymity. According to the A.A website, “It is estimated that there are approximately 114,000 groups and over 2,000,000 members in approximately 170 countries.” Since A.A collects no dues or fees for membership, it’s easy to find a class and get started immediately. To find a local A.A group, go here.
Does A.A actually work?
There is much debate about how well A.A actually works. According to a 2007 survey of Alcoholics Anonymous members, these are the statistics of member sobriety:
- Sober more than 10 years: 33%
- Sober between 5-10 years: 12%
- Sober between 1–5 years: 24%
- Sober less than 1 year: 31%
Average sobriety of members is more than eight years. Sounds good, right? But some contend that there is little concrete evidence showing that A.A is the cause of the recovery. Instead, they say the cause may lie in an individual’s willingness to recover and A.A is coincidentally being used by that person as a means to do so. Basically, it’s the case of the chicken or the egg. Which came first: A.A’s methods, or the person’s determination to overcome? Most likely, it is some combination of both. While there is no evidence that absolutely proves that A.A attendance leads to a decrease in alcoholic behavior, there does seem to be strong evidence by many studies that do support that very notion. For example, The Wall Street Journal reports that, “A year-2000 Journal of Studies on Alcohol study of 466 problem drinkers found that for those who attended A.A. following professional treatment, the three-year abstinence rate doubled, to more than 50%.” In the end, if you are really are motivated to beat alcoholism and feel like you need a good, constructive support group for absolutely free, then A.A is a good choice.
Is A.A for me?
According to A.A’s website, only you can determine if it’s right for you. However, they do provide a brief questionnaire that you can fill out to that helps you determine whether it’s right for you. If you answer four or more of the questions with “Yes” then they believe that the program could be beneficial. Even if you do answer yes to four of their questions, it comes down to personal preference. For instance, A.A does have religious content, and for those who are secular this might be a major turnoff. However, A.A isn’t the only organization that uses groups to help those who are recovering alcoholics. For other groups that help keep you accountable post-detox, check out these three alternative support groups for recovering alcoholics. Whether you go with A.A. or another group, make sure you get the support you need to stay sober.