Uploaded by Andres Arrazola

AA pape

Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Paper
Andres Arrazola
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
Mental Health Clinical
November 19, 2021
On Tuesday, November 16, 2021, I attended an online alcoholics anonymous meeting
Titled “AA grant us serenity.” It took place over zoom and there were about 160 participants.
Topics included Alcoholism, abuse, religion, and people’s stories. The participants in the
meeting, discussed their stories on how they became addicted, overcame and their current
struggles of alcohol addiction. The way the meeting worked was, there was a general leader of
the meeting. He opened reading the 12 rules of Alcoholics anonymous and a word from the bible
following with the serenity prayer. Following the opening message, the leader of the group lead
with a prayer, and then asked someone from the group if they could read a document titled “how
it works” which informed the group of the benefits and possibility of recovery and how the
program helps achieve this. Afterwards the leader asked someone to read the 12 traditions of
alcoholics anonymous and membership requirements and asked if there were any newcomers,
sober birthdays, and if anyone wanted to become a sponsor. The leader went around
congratulating all those who were new and those continuing the fight. informed everyone that
this process is completely anonymous, and that everything said there, stays there. Anyone would
like to share their current struggles and story. One by one, people raised their hand (virtually)
which would prompt the leader to ask that person to speak and tell their story. Most people had
been sober for only a couple of weeks, a lot of them were struggling with not only alcoholism,
but they had personal issues that they were also dealing with. These personal issues are what was
keeping people from staying sober. I observed people talk one by one, about their current
problems, issues, and ways they deal with these issues. As stated earlier, these issues cause
people to return to drinking, the daily struggle and stresses of life seem to “edge” them on. A lot
of stories dealt with abuse, marital issues, issues dealing with loneliness. Everyone opened with
the words “I am XX and I am an alcoholic”. They also would take moments of silence
occasionally, to give prayer to those who have passed or are dealing with alcoholism. After
opening the floor to people, the meeting ended with the leader reading the 9th step from the “big
book” which is the alcoholics anonymous book that these meetings are based off. Finally, the
meeting concluded with the reading of the responsibility AA statement: I am Responsible. When
anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A. always to be there. And for that:
I am responsible. The topic of discussion was mainly just listening to people when they had the
“floor” speak about there experiences, problems, and solutions that they themselves have
personally experiences while battling addiction. My feelings of these meetings is that they are
tremendously helpful for the people who decide to attend them. A lot of people spoke about how
these AA meeting were essential to the process of staying sober, especially when they had a
sponsor that they could rely on. Sponsors are people who volunteer themselves to be available
24/7 via text or phone for someone who is currently battling with alcoholism. Having a sponsor
allows the person seeking help to have someone to call or talk to when they are feeling the desire
to drink, or when they just need someone to vent to. I was impressed how open people were
about their problems and their addiction to alcohol. I Thought these people were brave for being
able to tell their stories to people they don’t even know. I found myself staying in several
meetings, because I was so intrigued with these meeting and hearing people’s stories. In
relationship to this course, I was able to view how the leader handled the group meeting and
handled people feelings and responses to their stories. I don’t believe the leader of the meeting is
a registered psychiatrist or psychologist, but they had very therapeutic responses to the people
who told their stories. Research on the effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous is controversial
and is subject to widely divergent interpretations. One example is the Cochran group which
published a review of the AA literature that considered outcomes studies of AA and of 12-step
claims there is a lack of experimental evidence on the effectiveness of such programs. On the
other hand, a study by Rudy Moos has recommended that referral agencies should consider
referring people to AA first rather than to treatment first. He claims that his observational studies
found that longer duration of AA attendance is associated with less drinking at 8 and 16 years
and those who attend AA before attending treatment tend to AA longer than those who attend
treatment first. The most recent meta-analysis concluded that attending AA led to worse
outcomes than no treatment at all (Kownacki 1999). I personally feel that AA would be very
helpful to someone dealing with Alcoholism. Depending on the person personality, if they are a
social drinker, then being in a social situation “online” with people who are also abstaining from
alcohol which allows them to communicate with each other and still have a social life. A lot of
the stories talked about how they felt lonely because they had lost theirs friends due to
alcoholism, or the fact that the alcoholics friends drink themselves. This causes the friends not to
want to invite the alcoholic to social situations, causing the alcoholic to become and feel isolated.
Social isolation may exacerbate mental health problems such as stress and anxiety, which, in
turn, may increase alcohol use as a coping mechanism. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, concerns
have been raised about the potential risk of increased alcohol consumption due to increased
stress and social distancing. Among a sample of around 4,000 university students in the US
surveyed at the end of March those with more symptoms of depression and anxiety reported a
greater increase in alcohol consumption compared to those with fewer symptoms. Not many
studies have examined whether stress and anxiety associated with perceived changes in alcohol
use over the short-term in response to the COVID-19 outbreak and its mitigation strategies in a
community-based sample of adult twins. Results from the current study suggest that individual’s
mental health may be associated with changes in alcohol use during this stressful time as people
navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. Such as, the total effects that the Covid-19 pandemic
has on mental health, and specifically its attribution to increased alcohol use and alcoholism has
yet to be determined. After reflecting on my experience during the meeting, I believe that I will
attend these meeting if I ever find myself dealing with alcohol use, because I found it interesting
and helpful, even though I am not personally dealing with these issues. Something I learned that
I had not known before attending these meetings is that they are based and sometimes centered
around religion and some teachings are based off the bible. I found this interesting because I feel
like this can turn people away from wanting to attend AA meetings if they feel like they are not
religious enough or believe in a high power.
Kownacki RJ, Shadish WR. Does Alcoholics Anonymous work? The results from a meta-analysis of
controlled experiments. Substance Use & Misuse. 1999;34(13):1897–1916