Whether you just started AA or are thinking about it, you might be concerned with the fact many members attend for years … many their entire life. You might think to yourself “do I really need to attend AA for the rest of my life?”
Here’s the deal with AA. You do NOT have to do anything except have a desire to stop drinking. When you go to AA you’ll have all kinds of suggestions directed to you and in meetings generally. The beauty with AA is you can use what you like and ignore the rest. I don’t really like the preachers … they often have lousy sobriety so I ignore them. I listen to the serene and gentle folks who don’t hold themselves out as AA police, but instead teach by example living a happy and serene life. Some of those serene and happy people go to a lot of AA meetings and some go occasionally.
BUT, going to AA meetings, even with several years of sobriety doesn’t hurt your sobriety. I’m nearly 10 years sober and I go weekly. Actually, I have great friends in AA so I enjoy going. I’m not a “meeting-a-day” kind of guy because ironically AA gave me a life (my own business, family, home …).
Do not avoid going to AA because you don’t want to be saddled with the thought you’ll have to go to AA meetings for the rest of your life. Just go for today. If you go tomorrow or next, good for you … just don’t place that pressure on yourself. There’s no need to live with self-imposed burdens. That makes for terrible sobriety.
There’s no perfect AA member
I remember my early days in AA thinking some people with long and happy sobriety were the perfect AA members. They weren’t and aren’t. Everyone practices their own program of recovery in their own way. Some attend meetings daily, some weekly, some monthly and some occasionally. There isn’t one way to get and stay sober.
The service requirement
I’m grateful many people with long term and terrific sobriety continue going to AA meetings because they serve as inspiration to new people trying to get sober. If meetings were only attended by white-knuckler newbies, their wouldn’t be mentors to help out newcomers.
Do I still attend AA?
Yes I do. I attend because it helps my sobriety, I have friends in AA and I like to think that I may inspire newcomers to stick with getting sober. I’m in my thirties with almost 10 years sobriety which may resonate with other people in their twenties trying to get sober.
Seriously, take it one day at a time
When you’re 5 years sober, you’ll laugh at what concerned you during your early days in recovery. Seriously, whether you continue attending AA or not, you’ll kick yourself for even spending 2 seconds worrying about whether you’ll need to attend AA for the rest of your life.
Whatever you do, whether you decide to try AA or another program, don’t let any potential “lifetime involvement” be an obstacle. The fact is you don’t have to do anything. Just do whatever brings you the highest quality sobriety possible.
If you want to take a drink, go to a meeting first of call someone
I know I don’t take the “AA police position”, but if you’re thinking of taking a drink, go to an AA meeting first. It just might save your life (I don’t say that lightly). Or call someone in AA. Seriously, you never know if you have another recovery in you. Many people go back out never to get sober again.
If you have no intention of attending AA for the rest of your life (learn more about how to quit drinking without AA at http://www.zensobriety.com), that’s fine. However, resolve that if you ever want to take a drink that you’ll hold off until you attend a meeting and talk to someone.