In a 2019 study, approximately 14.1 million adults in the United States struggle with alcoholism. The prevalence of binge drinking was 25.8% of adults. These numbers show that alcoholism and alcohol abuse are unfortunate common experiences among individuals who drink.
With that being said, we can now look at how Alcoholics Anonymous meets can benefit someone struggling with alcohol addiction. Research has shown that the gains from participating are dependent on the members’ motivation and their desire to be sober. Not to mention, the opportunity to grow a sober support network which can have a positive influence on the alcoholic’s life.
The motivation for recovery can come from a variety of sources such as wanting to improve family relationships or recognizing alcohol’s impact on your work. This means that being pushed to meetings by others is likely not going to be a long-lasting source of motivation.
The Internet Age has changed how we go about our lives, and this is no different in the world of alcoholism recovery.
Alcoholic anonymous online meetings are becoming increasingly popular and opening up new ways in which the alcohol-dependent can manage his or her condition.
This innovation has facilitated the continuing dominance of Alcoholics Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous is a global community of men and women who’ve suffered from drinking problems. It is now, more than ever, seen as the 'only' viable way to recover from alcoholism. Some research has confirmed that patients who participate in Alcoholic Anonymous do better than those patients who use other approaches.
In The Past We Had....
And Today We Have....
AA meetings online often work similarly to those alcoholic anonymous meetings in your local community – just the means of communicating are different. By participating in virtual meetings, group members could focus on Alcoholics Anonymous’ primary purpose: to help an alcoholic recover.
There are a number of different platforms available for meetings, and you are able to filter the search list by the platform used. Common platforms for online meetings are Google Hangouts/Meet, Zoom, and free conference calls.
Another option available would be email. Which you choose will all depend on your preference for which style of chat you are most comfortable with. Keep in mind that even though meetings are held online, they still protect and foster the principle of personal anonymity.
Similar to in-person meetings, it is encouraged that you try several meetings out to see what is a good fit for you. Try not to be discouraged by a negative experience or not feeling as though you fit in.
What's Good about Online AA Meetings?
In the past, finding an online meeting was a difficult task. However, these days a quick Google search for “AA meetings online” will reveal a wealth of sites that can help you locate AA online meetings.
An additional option would be that some meetings offer a live meeting online. Groups that are unable to meet at their usual meeting places have begun to meet digitally. Asking about this at your local meeting would be a place to start with this option.
Looking for and finding an Alcoholics Anonymous online meeting is easy, and you will have no problem finding one. The tricky part is likely going to be finding the one that is a good fit for you.
Members of Alcoholics Anonymous are encouraged to still attend in-person meetings, as online meetings are not meant to serve as a replacement option. Some situations can make it challenging for members to attend a meeting. Examples of this would be:
Many feel that in-person meetings offer more opportunities for members to form connections with other alcoholics. This can happen before the meeting begins or after the meeting concludes.
Either way, AA meetings online should be viewed as an additional tool for a person’s recovery.
The official website that has the schedule for AA online meetings is: www.aaintergroup.org
There are some definite pros to having the ability to access Alcoholic Anonymous online meetings.
With the nature of the internet, people can access a group around the clock, every single day. Since users are from all over the globe, you will almost always be able to find another soul to chat with. Often that is all that is needed to stave off the desire to pick up a drink – just talking about it and having the other person understand can be a huge relief.
Writing about your desires for a drink as well as your reasons for not wanting to give in to the urge is often a cathartic experience. That's why many counselors in alcohol rehab programs will recommend that you start a journal.
There is something about the act of writing it all down that can lift a weight from your mind as it gives you an outlet to explore feelings that could be hard to verbalize. Some find it easier to write about their addiction and their journey to healing than they do to actually talk about it.
It is also easier to not be self-conscious or embarrassed when you are not face-to-face with a bunch of strangers.
Online AA meetings can also give access to people who could not attend in-person meetings, because they are ill or too far away.
Yes, there are cons to online Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. For one, research shows there are inherent strengths and weaknesses associated with any form of online learning.
For some people, it's that contact with other people that is what they need to keep them going. It is far too easy to shut oneself off from human contact and do everything from behind a computer screen. This could lead to unhealthy emotional states in a recovering alcoholic that could end in depression or backsliding into drinking again.
Another major con that should at least be considered is the fact that Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are supposed to be completely anonymous – there is no record of members or attendees and you only have to give your first name.
While on the face of it, you may think it's just as anonymous on the web but that's simply not the case.
With most, if not all Alcoholic Anonymous online meetings, you will need to register with the site hosting the meetings. Most online AA meetings will only ask you for a first name but with all of them you must give an email and somewhere in the site's database is a record of your IP address. These two things can be used to find your identity within a matter of a few minutes.
Style of AA Online Meetings: Relaxed
Some of the AA meetings online are much more relaxed than the in-person meetings.
Style of AA Meetings Online: Formal
Other online AA meetings stick to the same and organization as their offline counterparts.
This is especially the case with the video and audio chats as it's easy to keep to meeting guidelines in this format and it would be chaos if everyone was on video and talking at the same time.
AA meetings online are a great way to get extra support at almost any time around the clock as well as to fit in extra meetings when you find you need them.
AA Meeting Online Etiquette
Similar to an in-person meeting, online meetings have a basic expectation for behavior.
Individuals are encouraged to avoid telling “war stories” because they can have a negative impact on the person sharing as well as the individuals listening.
As with in-person meetings, it is likely that there may be a member that you do not care for.
Lastly, online meetings are not appropriate for anyone in an emergency situation. An example of an emergency situation would be an individual experiencing withdrawal symptoms as well as anyone having self-harm or suicidal thoughts.
In those and similar situations, contacting 911 or your local emergency services would be the most appropriate course of action.
You could be forgiven for thinking that when you enter the world of online AA meetings and AA chat rooms, that those participating are speaking a different language.
And, to a certain extent, you would be right. Many individuals walk away from their first meeting with a similar thought.
And, to a certain extent, you would be right.
There are a large number of terms used in these online AA meetings that resemble the words we use every day but that seem meaningless in the context they are used online.
This is because they are, in fact, acronyms.
(You may also come across these acronyms during 'real world' Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.)
Listed below are the most common of acronyms in use in AA online meetings.
So if you are ever puzzled during an AA online meeting or in an AA chat room then come back here and refer to our list.
It is important to note that it is not necessary to memorize or even attempt to memorize all of the terms and acronyms below. Groups tend to use the same ones repeatedly so it is likely that you would catch on just by attending the meetings. If you hear something that doesn’t make sense, you can always ask another member for clarification.
If you know of any more acronyms used in offline or AA online meetings and chat rooms, then contact us, and we'll put them up on this page.
As stated above, try not to feel overwhelmed by this list. It can be daunting, and the last thing anyone would want is for the acronyms to turn you away from attending meetings. Asking questions is OKAY, everyone was a newcomer at one point in their journey.
Other Options for Online Meetings
Some individuals find that for one reason or another, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are not for them. If you find yourself relating to that statement, it is important to note that there are other options for online meetings besides AA.
In the rooms is website is a free online recovery community that can be found at intherooms.com. Their online meetings are offered daily and throughout the day. They do offer meetings from fellowships such as AA and NA. Other meetings available through their site include:
Smart Recovery is an additional recovery community that offers both in-person and online meetings. Their online meetings are offered daily and at varying times throughout the day. Smart Recovery online meetings are available with Zoom voice and video calls. A list of available meetings can be found at smartrecovery.org/community/calendar.php.
The 12 step website does not offer meetings through the website, rather it provides a list for different fellowships’ online meetings. This site will tell you if the meetings are with a voice, video, or messaging platform. It will also provide you with a link that you can use to view available meetings. Fellowships included are:
This list can be viewed at 12steps.org/social/online-meetings
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