Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meetings

Medically Reviewed By Kayla Loibl | Last Edited : December 08, 
2020 
| 4 Sources




Is the Virtual World an Effective Environment for Alcoholics Anonymous's 12 steps?
AA online meetings and chat rooms
Commonly Used Terms
Other Options



aa online meetings

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....

TRADITIONAL AA


    Since its advent in 1935, Alcoholic's Anonymous, or AA as it is more commonly known, has been holding meetings where those addicted to alcohol can find support and accountability by talking to fellow alcoholics.

    These meetings take place in private homes, churches and other meeting areas in just about any town across the country, as well as in most countries throughout the world.

And Today We Have....


ONLINE AA


    In the mid-1980s, as home computers become the latest thing, the electronic version of the early telephone therapy began to grow.

    In the beginning, Alcoholics Anonymous chat was cumbersome, limited to the crude BBS and email systems then available.

    As the technology advanced, so did that of Alcoholic Anonymous online meetings until today when you can access an online meeting any time of the day or night. There are a lot of options for transitioning to video or phone meetings.

    From instant live AA chat rooms to discussion forums dedicated to each of the Alcoholic's Anonymous 12 Steps, someone striving for sobriety can find others to reach out to.

It is important to keep in mind, that AA, whether it be online or offline, has ONLY a 5% success rate after 3 years. 

For alternatives to the AA/12 steps model, read AA alternatives.

Online Meetings: How Do They Work?

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:

    Lack of childcareNot having transportationMeeting times conflict with work or class scheduleThere is not a local meetingNatural disasters or other serious eventsFeeling unsafe or uncomfortable at local, in-person meetings

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.

Are there Downsides to Alcoholic Anonymous Online Meetings?

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.

    Rather than follow an organized format, the members can simply chat with each other and one thing leads to another.For some, this can be a positive format as it can be spontaneous. For those who enjoy the structure of a meeting or find it hard to follow more than on conversation at a time, this may not be the best fit for you. 

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.

    One principle is that all participants in the meeting have a desire to stop drinking. Anyone is welcome to share in any of the meetings, but participants are encouraged to be polite, kind, and understanding. Everyone has a unique history and addiction journey and will therefore have differences in their recovery. Being respectful of the varying stages of recovery is expected.Individuals are encouraged to be mindful of their use of humor and sarcasm. When you think about the chat format meetings, sarcasm and humor can easily be misunderstood and hurtful.

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.

    War stories often glorify drinking behaviors and neglect to adequately describe the consequences that arose from these drinking behaviors. An alternative mindset is to stay in the solution and focus more on what can be done in your recovery.

As with in-person meetings, it is likely that there may be a member that you do not care for.

    Remaining civil with disagreements can go a long way and prevent a meeting from taking an unproductive turn. If you feel as though someone is being inappropriate in the meeting, report it. You have enough on your plate as it is, so let the person who should respond to the situation do as they may. Not your monkey, not your circus.

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.

Commonly Used Terms In AA Online Meetings and AA Chat rooms

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. 

    AA = Absolute AbstinenceAA = Adventurers AnonymousAA = Altered AttitudesAA = Altruistic actionAA = Attitude AdjustmentABC = Acceptance, Belief, ChangeABC = Ashtrays, Broom, CoffeeABC = Ashtrays, Broom, ChairsACTION = Any Change Toward Improving One's NatureALCOHOLICS = A Life Centered On Helping Others Live In Complete SobrietyANONYMOUS = Actions Not Our Names Yield Maintenance Of Unity and ServiceASK = Ass-Saving KitBAR = Beware Alcohol, RunBAR = Beware Alcoholic RuinBIG BOOK = Believing In God Beats Our Old KnowledgeDEAD = Drinking Ends All DreamsDENIAL = Don't Even Notice I Am LyingDETACH = Don't Even Think About Changing Him/HerDUES = Desperately Using Everything but SobrietyEGO = Easing God OutEGO = Edging God OutFAILURE = Fearful, Arrogant, Insecure, Lonely, Uncertain, Resentful, EmptyFAITH = Fear Ain't In This HouseFEAR= Few Ever Arrive RejoicingFEAR = Failure Expected And ReceivedFEAR = False Evidence Appearing RealFEAR = False Expectations Appearing RealFEAR = Fear Expressed Allows ReliefFEAR = Feelings Every Alcoholic RejectsFEAR = Fighting Ego Against RealityFEAR = Forget Everything and Run (polite version)FEAR = Fuck Everything and Run!FEAR = Face Everything and Recover!FEAR = Forgetting Everything's All RightFEAR = Frantic Effort to Appear RealFEAR = Frantic Efforts to Appear RecoveredFINE = Faithful, Involved, knowledgeable and ExperiencedFINE = Feeling Insecure, Numb and EmptyFINE = Frantic, Insane, Nuts and EgotisticalFINE = Freaked out, Insecure, Neurotic and EmotionalFINE = Frustrated, Insecure, Neurotic and EmotionalFINE = F--cked, Insecure, Neurotic and EmotionalGAYS = Go Ask Your SponsorGIFT = God Is Forever ThereGOD = Good Orderly DirectionGOD = Group of DrunksGOYA = Get Off Your AssGUT = God's Undeniable TruthsHALT = Honestly, Actively, Lovingly TolerantHALT = Hope, Acceptance, Love and ToleranceHALT = Hungry, Angry, Lonely, TiredHALT = Horny, Arrogant, Lazy and TragicHALTS = Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired and StupidHALTS FEAR = Hope, Acceptance, Love and Tolerance Stops Forgetting that Everything's All RightHELP = His Ever Loving PresenceHELP = Her Ever Loving PresenceHELP = Hope, Encouragement, Love and PatienceHOPE = Happy Our Program ExistsHOPE = Hearing Other Peoples' ExperienceHOPE = Hang On! Peace Exists...HOW = Honesty, Open-mindedness, WillingnessHOW = Honest, Open-minded and WillingISM = I, Self, MeISM = Incredibly Short MemoryISM = Inside MeISM = I Sabotage MyselfKISS = Keep It Simple, StupidKISS = Keep It Simple, SugarKISS = Keep It Simple, SweetheartKISS = Keeping It Simple, SpirituallyMMM = Meetings, Meditation and MasturbationNUTS = Not Using The StepsOUR = Openly Using RecoveryPACE = Positive Attitudes Change EverythingPAID = Pitiful And Incomprehensible DemoralizationPMS = Poor Me SyndromePMS = Pour More ScotchPROGRAM = People Relying on God Relaying a MessageRELATIONSHIP = Real Exciting Love Affair Turns Into Outrageous Nightmare, Sobriety Hangs In PerilRID = Restless, Irritable and DiscontentedSLIP = Sobriety Loses Its PrioritySOB = Sober Old BagSOB = Sober Old BastardSOB = Sober Old BikerSOB = Sober Old BitchSOBER = Son Of A Bitch, Everything's RealSPONSOR = Sober Person Offering Newcomers Suggestions On RecoverySTEPS = Solutions To Every Problem in SobrietySTEPS = Solutions To Every Problem, SoberSTOP = Sicker Than Other PeopleTIME = Things I Must EarnWILLING = When I Live Life, I Need GodYET = You're Eligible Too

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:

    11th Step MeditationAdult Children of AlcoholicsAlanonCODA (Codependency)Dual DiagnosisGamblers AnonymousOvereaters AnonymousSex Addicts AnonymousWomen’s groupMen’s groupsYoga Recovery

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:

    Computer and Gaming Addicts AnonymousElectronic Alcoholics AnonymousMarijuana AnonymousMeetings OnlineMy Recovery OnlineNarcotics AnonymousRecovery RealmStep Chat

This list can be viewed at 12steps.org/social/online-meetings



If you found this page helpful, then the following may be of interest to you:


  • Alcoholics Anonymous Gifts
  • Alcoholics Anonymous Books
  • AA Chat Rooms
  • Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps
  • Alcoholic Anonymous Meetings
  • Alcoholics Anonymous Online Meetings
  • Alanon Meeting Online
  • The History of Alcoholics Anonymous


Lead Writer/Reviewer : Kayla Loibl

Licensed Medical Health Professional 


Hello!

I am a Mental Health Counselor who is licensed in both New York (LMHC) and North Carolina (LCMHC). I have been working in the Mental Health field since 2015. I have worked in a residential setting, an outpatient program and an inpatient addictions program. I began working in Long Island, NY and then in Guelph, Ontario after moving to Canada. Read More



Sources:  

Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs for alcohol use disorder provided by Cochrane Library: https://www.cochranelibrary.com/cdsr/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD012880.pub2/full?cookiesEnabled.

Alcoholics Anonymous most effective path to alcohol abstinence provided by Standford Medicine: https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2020/03/alcoholics-anonymous-most-effective-path-to-alcohol-abstinence.html

Strengths and Weaknesses of Online Learning provided by University of Illinois Springfield: https://www.uis.edu/ion/resources/tutorials/online-education-overview/strengths-and-weaknesses/.

Acronyms and Sobriety provided by Michigan State University: https://health4u.msu.edu/articles/2018-acronyms-and-sobriety. 


Return from AA Online Meetings Acronyms to Stop Drinking Alcohol with AA 

Return from AA Online Meetings Acronyms to Alcoholism Help Homepage


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