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Alcoholics Anonymous Paper

Jessica M. Ray

Grand Canyon University Introduction to Addictions and Substance Use Disorders
October 29, 2014

Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous, commonly referred to as AA, is one of the most recognized treatment groups for alcoholic addiction (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2012). Dr. Robert Holbrook Smith and Bill Wilson founded AA on June 10, 1935. Both of these men suffered from alcoholism and founded the group with the commitment to stop drinking and helping others to stay sober with the support of their peers (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2012). It is s an internationally known fellowship of people who have a drinking problem. This is a non-profit group that is classified as a self-help program. To be a member of this organization the only requirement is a desire to cease drinking (AA, 2014).
Key Components of AA Online Meeting The meeting that I attended was an online meeting on November 10, 2014 at 9:30pm. I found this meeting by doing a Google search and logged on to the website of http://www.aaonline.net/. This meeting was labeled as being open and for beginners. The beginner’s portion of the meeting was the moderators were asking for those who had only been sober for 6 months or less to be the ones who shared with the group. The meeting was called to order at 9:30pm and the rules for the meeting were posted. The rules were that you did not speak unless called on by the moderator to take the floor. You requested a place in the line up to speak by ! which was raising your hand. The rules stated that anything that was said in the meeting was to stay in the meeting and to respect the privacy of all those in attendance. They also stated that the online meetings were not a replacement for the face-to-face meetings. The topic for this meeting was A Sense of Belonging. The meeting was opened with the serenity prayer. The key speaker was a woman who used an alias in the chat room that was speaking of her personal experiences with being an alcoholic and the struggles that she has faced to remain sober. Once she completed speaking the moderators moved to the first person who had raised their hand and allowed them a chance to speak. It was asked for each speaker to limit their times to between 3 and 5 minutes to allow multiple people to have the chance to share. There was about 12 people in total who spoke and shared their experiences and struggles. There were those who logged in during the meeting that did not follow the protocol and spoke during the sharing of the others and some who even were derogatory to the meaning of the meeting. The group did not say or do anything to these people, but just ignored them and continued with the meeting. The meeting ended at 11pm with the serenity prayer and an invitation to stay once the meeting was concluded for fellowship with the others.
12 Steps of AA
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol- that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people whenever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wong promptly admitted it.
11. South through prater and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.
The purpose of the 12 steps is providing structure to the members who are joining the group. The first step is having them admit that they have a problem, because they cannot be helped until they understand that they have a problem and ask for help. Greenfield and Tonigan (2013) conducted a study on the benefits and effectiveness of the 12 steps of AA and found that the steps provide a conceptual framework that allows the group members to work their way through the steps and thus making not only a spiritual change but a behavioral one as well. The authors found that rather than concentrating on how quickly they were completing the steps that members instead focused on the quality of completing each of the steps. The members did not skip around but instead would remain on a single step until they felt that they had completed that step. This allowed the group members to not become so overwhelmed with what they had to accomplish but instead permitted them to focus on getting through a step at a time, as it corresponds with the member having to get through one day at a time.
Types of Meetings
There are multiple types of meetings that are available for members to attend. The closed meeting is a meeting that asks for only alcoholics to be present. The open meetings are ones that are designed for anyone to attend. People are welcome to come and observe the open meetings, though typically they ask that only those who are alcoholics be the ones to speak openly on the floor. (AA, 2014).
Sponsors
A sponsor is “a more experienced person in recovery who guides the less-experienced sponsee through the program (Capuzzi & Stauffer, 2012).” The sponsor uses their experiences to assist the person they are sponsoring with dealing with the challenges of recovery. The main purpose of the sponsor is to attempt to guide the other through the 12 steps of the program. They are a type of lifeline for this person, someone that can be called when they are struggling to not drink. Witbrodt et al (2012) conducted a study that examined those members who had sponsors and good attendance to meetings with those who did not have a sponsor and had lower attendance. The authors found that those who regularly attended meetings and had the support of a sponsor had higher rates of abstinence from alcohol.
Home Group
The regular meeting that someone attends is referred to as their home group. This is the group that they interact with the most and may eventually assist in running. This is the group that they will usually try to maintain friendships within. This is the place where the person forms a personal connection along with the other members of the group. The person’s home group is where after becoming a member they will have the right to vote and a voice in the way in which the meetings are ran (The A.A. Group, 2005).
Conclusion
The AA meeting is a place where those who are struggling a problem with alcohol can go and share with others who are battling a similar problem. Savitha et al (2011) found that AA groups are “very effective in motivating and supporting alcoholics to remain sober and maintain abstinence (Savitha et al, 2011).” Part of the appeal for AA is that it is a free service that provides support to the individuals in a structured format that has the invidivual admitting their problem and working towards a resolution. A sponsor will guide the new member through the process and be a support system to them. AA is designed as a tool to be used that combines confidentiality with the ability to feel a fellowship with people who are going through or have gone through a similar struggle. The online meetings seem to be a good way for someone who is struggling but is unable to make it to a face-to-face meeting to get that sense of fellowship to stay on the path that they have chosen. From the experience that I observed during my meeting, this is a community that looks out for and cares about its members. Individuals at the meeting not only want to get better themselves but to assist those in the same situation to get better. I saw supportive and encouraging words shared with one another and even those who found a way to find humor in a difficult situation.

References
Alcoholics Anonymous. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/index
The A.A. Group...Where It All Begins. New York: A.A. Grapevine, 2005. Print.
Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (2012). History and Etiological Models of Addiction. In D. Capuzzi & M. D. Stauffer (Eds.), Foundations of addiction counseling (pp. 1-15). Boston, MA
Greenfield, B. L., & Tonigan, J. S. (2013). The General Alcoholics Anonymous Tools of Recovery: The adoption of 12-step practices and beliefs.Psychology Of Addictive Behaviors, 27(3), 553-561. doi:10.1037/a0029268
Savitha, Kumar, N., Sequira, L., & Mayya, S. (2011). Ouality of Life of Clients with Alcoholic Dependence Syndrome Attending and Not Attending Alcoholics Anonymous Group Meetings. International Journal Of Nursing Education, 3(2), 92-95.
Witbrodt, J., Kaskutas, L., Bond, J., & Delucchi, K. (2012). Does sponsorship improve outcomes above Alcoholics Anonymous attendance? A latent class growth curve analysis. Addiction, 107(2), 301-311. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03570.x

References: Alcoholics Anonymous. (n.d.). Retrieved November 13, 2014, from http://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/index The A.A. Group...Where It All Begins. New York: A.A. Grapevine, 2005. Print. Capuzzi, D., & Stauffer, M. D. (2012). History and Etiological Models of Addiction. In D. Capuzzi & M. D. Stauffer (Eds.), Foundations of addiction counseling (pp. 1-15). Boston, MA Greenfield, B. L., & Tonigan, J. S. (2013). The General Alcoholics Anonymous Tools of Recovery: The adoption of 12-step practices and beliefs.Psychology Of Addictive Behaviors, 27(3), 553-561. doi:10.1037/a0029268 Savitha, Kumar, N., Sequira, L., & Mayya, S. (2011). Ouality of Life of Clients with Alcoholic Dependence Syndrome Attending and Not Attending Alcoholics Anonymous Group Meetings. International Journal Of Nursing Education, 3(2), 92-95. Witbrodt, J., Kaskutas, L., Bond, J., & Delucchi, K. (2012). Does sponsorship improve outcomes above Alcoholics Anonymous attendance? A latent class growth curve analysis. Addiction, 107(2), 301-311. doi:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2011.03570.x

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