Heavy drinking is often associated with alcoholism. But they’re two different things. One study discovered that only 10 percent of heavy drinkers also meet the criteria for alcoholism.
For men, the heavy drinking threshold is 15 or more drinks per week. For women, the threshold is 8 or more drinks per week.
If you’re an alcoholic, your drinking affects things like your work life or family life. But you can still find an AA meeting even if you’re not sure what group you fall into.
AA stands for Alcoholics Anonymous. But if you’re new to the world of AA, you may not want to walk into the first meeting you see.
Here are five tips that can help you find an AA meeting that works for your life.
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Some AA meetings are generally open to anyone who wants to show up. But other AA meetings exist for specific groups of people.
For instance, let’s say you’re an LGBTQ person trying to get sober. You may want to seek out Log Cabin AA Meetings.
Getting sober requires vulnerability. Having specific meetings for certain groups of people allows you to feel as safe as possible while talking about your issues.
Stay for One Whole Meeting
You’ll feel awkward and restless the first time you walk into an AA meeting. That’s common. Progress doesn’t come with a little discomfort.
Make a pact with yourself to stay for an entire meeting. That will give you time to develop a feel for the group’s vibe.
If you feel uncomfortable at the end, you don’t have to come to another meeting. But introduce yourself and participate. Then you’ll know you at least gave it an honest shot.
Don’t Act Superior
Remember the part about being vulnerable? You can’t do that if you feel like you’re better than everyone else.
At your first meeting, you may think that everyone else has the problem, not you.
But you’re kidding yourself. You wouldn’t be at this meeting if some part of you didn’t recognize something has to change.
Hold onto that glimmer of recognition. You’ll need it.
Don’t Make Excuses
If you relapse on the weekend, there’s no point in attending a new meeting Monday, right? Wrong.
You need to attend that meeting now more than ever. AA meetings can anchor you and offer you support.
You’re far from the first person to slip up. Hearing other people share their stories can make you feel less alone.
You’ll miss alcohol. If you could quit alcohol without missing it at least a little, you probably wouldn’t have attended a single meeting in the first place.
It’s a cliche, but quitting for good doesn’t happen overnight. As you get farther away from your last binge, your body will change in positive ways.
Give your mind and body time to experience life without alcohol. The meetings may start to make more sense as your body changes.
How to Find an AA Meeting
There are AA meetings available in all 50 states. Sure, you’ll have more choices for NYC AA meetings, but you’ll still be able to find an AA meeting even if you’re in a small town.
What if you need more support? In that case, you may need to visit a treatment center. Check out our guide to recovery centers for more information.