Alcoholics Anonymous Fellowship

Does a Rehab make you go to Alcoholics Anonymous ?

It is probably fair to say that the majority of rehabs that are residential base their approach to their addiction treatment programs with a view that they are better supported by the individual attending meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous and other 12 step organisations .

Indeed the majority of rehabs base their addiction treatment programs and their therapeutic treatment methods on the 12th model of Alcoholics Anonymous which they adapt to their own purposes.

A rehab that follows this viewpoint is likely to make it a condition of the residency that the individual attends a certain number of meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12 step organisations during their stay at rehab.

This is a condition of treatment that should be made clear at the outset and at admission, and if the individual has a real problem with it then it is something that needs to be factored into the decision-making process as to which rehab should be considered or not.

Some rehabs are stricter than others about applying this condition of residency. Some rehabs take a view that it is down to the individual to decide whether or not they want to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous whilst in rehab.

On this basis a number of clients in rehab will be attending meetings while a significant number will not be. This can often lead to conflicts within the rehab which add to a general pressure on the individuals concerned and can sometimes generate real problems.

Rehabs and Alcoholics Anonymous

Other rehabs will take a view that is in effect stricter and will make it a condition of entry and residency that people need to attend a minimum number of meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous whilst in rehab.

Whilst this avoids some of the problems mentioned above, it does mean that the individual does not come to the view that they need to attend AA meetings based on their own individual experience, rather they are forced into it by the rehab.

This can have complications further on, where the individual feels that there principles of choice about their recovery and rebuilding their lives has been taken away from, first by being forced into rehab against their will effectively, and secondly by being forced to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The counter argument to this normally runs that although the principle of choice may have been compromised, the reality of being forced into a rehab or of being forced to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous at some level breaks down the denial of the alcoholic and give them the opportunity to experience a real freedom and truth that they would otherwise not have.

It is important to add that there are rehabs that do not push meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous or other 12 step organisations and operate more on what is known as a life skills basis.


Alcoholics Anonymous in a Rehab

Alcoholics Anonymous was the first of the so-called 12-step programs to be developed, followed by Narcotics Anonymous, followed by literally hundreds if not thousands of other 12-step programs, most based on the AA principles, using a different addiction or weakness instead of alcohol.

Although Alcoholics Anonymous and all 12 step fellowships are completely independent of all rehabs and detox’s and hospitals, there is a significant overlap in terms of the therapeutic work that is done in a rehab, and the fact that many, if not most, rehabs will either have AA meetings on site.

Some will make it a condition of being in recovery in a rehab that clients attend a certain number of AA/NA meetings whilst in treatment.

In many ways rehabs grew out of a need for alcoholics to be detoxed and hospitalised prior to and being able to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous.

This was because most of the early members of AA were effectively end-stage alcoholics who needed some type of medical attention before any type of treatment could be given.

This has changed dramatically over the last 60 to 70 years, and many people attend AA/NA etc by approaching these fellowships directly, or by being introduced to them through being a client at a rehab.

In many ways the approach of Alcoholics Anonymous is significantly different to the approach of many rehabs. A rehab will often promote the fact that it’s therapeutic program is based on the steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

There is some truth in this but it needs to be understood more fully. A rehab will normally work through what it calls the first five steps, but its interpretation of what steps mean will normally be significantly different to that written in the book Alcoholics Anonymous.

To someone entering a rehab or their family, this can be something of an academic debate, as all they are really interested in doing is getting sober or clean in a rehab. It often becomes more of a question where the issue is once a person has left a rehab and is attending AA meetings and trying to get sober and clean or stay sober and clean.

Alcoholics Anonymous is best understood by understanding the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous.

The most prominent book is titled Alcoholics Anonymous and is the experience of how the first hundred members of AA got sober and stayed sober at a time when there was virtually nothing else around that worked.

The book Alcoholics Anonymous gave rise to the name of the same fellowship, and the subsequent growth in that fellowship and all other 12-step fellowships.

There is a vast amount of other AA literature available, including a substantial and significant number of history books. Some of these may be available in a rehab or not.

Understanding the history of how AA developed, its timeline and subsequent growth, is actually essential to really be able to use the freedom of AA/NA, as it was originally intended.

Understanding the literature of AA is important. AA is its literature.

The AA literature is the body of experience that constitutes Alcoholics Anonymous. What is said at meetings and by individual members of AA is their own opinion, experience, belief etc.

What is in the literature is the experience of AA globally, since it first started.

Understanding that the AA literature is what Alcoholics Anonymous is, and that it is a body of experience is key to giving people the freedom to interpret and use that literature in any way that they find helpful.

This is a point made over and over again in the book Alcoholics Anonymous, that people can effectively take what they like and leave the rest.

Unfortunately, often in a meetings and likely in a rehab, people will be far more rigid in terms of telling newcomers what they can and cannot do, what they can and cannot believe in, often under the pretext of being essential in terms of staying sober or clean.

A rehab has a special responsibility in many ways to make sure that its promotion of Alcoholics Anonymous, and its interpretation of the Alcoholics Anonymous programme is presented in its entirety, and in such a way that people realise the two tiers of recovery.

Firstly that there is a body of experience they can use however they wish to, secondly that their sobriety is their own responsibility, and how they choose to put that experience into their life will play a major role in whether they stay sober or not.


What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

The official wording of the introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous that is read out at AA meetings, which is known as the AA preamble, gives a clear if slightly awkward message, that Alcoholics Anonymous is a completely independent organisation, that has no affiliation with any outside body or enterprise, is completely free to all its membersand, raises money by donations at meetings to cover the cost of rent/tea and coffee etc.

As with many organisations, it is sometimes easier to describe what Alcoholics Anonymous is not rather than what it is. Both are important. To most people Alcoholics Anonymous is a place that people go when they have a pretty serious drink problem that they need to deal with in the hope that they will be able to stop drinking. Beyond that most people don’t necessarily know that much.

Essentially Alcoholics Anonymous is a body of experience of a number of individuals that reach into the many millions who have been able to overcome their problem with alcohol that otherwise they probably would not have been able to. This level of experience is recorded in the literature of Alcoholics Anonymous that is available for anyone to buy either through the organisation itself or online or at numerous bookstalls.

Individual members of Alcoholics Anonymous meet regularly at various venues that are normally held in church halls and community centres etc where people often share their own stories about their drinking, what happened to them and what they do in order to try and stay sober. The nature of the stories can vary widely, as do the individuals concerned.

Alcoholics Anonymous

As with many organisations there is a theory and a reality in one sense. Alcoholics Anonymous should be as described above in terms of a body of experience that people can tap into and use in their own lives as they feel appropriate. One of the aspects of Alcoholics Anonymous is that it’s body of experience and its 12th step program has been widely used in rehabs and treatment centres, often adapted very widely and with varying levels of appropriateness.

In addition, many rehabs will actively encourage clients to attend meetings of AA and other 12 step fellowships whilst in rehab, and once they have left as a way of maintaining their sobriety. This has given rise to much confusion as to whether AA and other 12 step fellowships are connected or have any type of financial association with a rehab treatment center.

They do not and most certainly should not. It is also the case that many people who either own or working a rehab or treatment center are recovering or recovered alcoholics and are members of Alcoholics Anonymous themselves. There is no other connection.


What is the relationship between a Rehab in Florida and AA?

Someone considering entering a rehab in Florida might well have heard of Alcoholics Anonymous, or might even have been to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in the past.

There is likely to be a degree of confusion as to the relationship between a rehab or treatment center and that of Alcoholics Anonymous.

This is partly inevitable, given that the nature of rehabs and treatment centres grew out of the early work and the recovery movement that Alcoholics Anonymous engineered.

Alcoholics Anonymous has been very clear and consistently warns that it is not affiliated to any outside organisation, such as a rehab or treatment center or hospital or any type of clinical facility. It is a completely independent, autonomous organisation.

A rehab in Florida is likely to have some type of relationship with groups or meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous. In addition it is quite likely that the rehab will base some of their treatment methods and programs on the first five steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

Whilst the work undertaken in a rehab is normally different to that undertaken in Alcoholics Anonymous itself, there will be a number of similarities.

A rehab in Florida is also likely to encourage clients to attend meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous, both whilst in rehab, and once they have left as part of their after-care or ongoing transitional living approach.

Such meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous will likely be in the local area or community where the rehab is based. It is also possible that meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous will take place in the actual rehab in Florida itself. If this is the case, then it needs to be understood that the meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous are not part of the rehab itself.

They are independent and will pay rent to the rehab for use of their premises.

Rehab in Florida – AA meetings

To some people this may seem a slightly irrelevant issue. In fact it is very important. The independence of Alcoholics Anonymous is a huge part of its viability and ongoing stability, and it’s very nature is rooted in it being an independent autonomous organisation.

Having said that, a significant number of rehabs in Florida have adapted the experience of Alcoholics Anonymous and use it as part of their own clinical program or treatment method in dealing with alcoholism and other types of addiction.

It is likely that a client entering a rehab in Florida will have little interest in such a subtle distinction. The important nature of the distinction is likely to become evident if the client gets sober, stays sober and uses Alcoholics Anonymous as part of their journey in recovery.

It will then become clearer why this is an important issue, and the necessity for maintaining the independence and integrity of Alcoholics Anonymous.