There are many advantages and drawbacks to Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. Let’s consider a few of the pluses and minuses here:
The meetings are essentially free. Even if you are completely broke for a year straight, you can still attend meetings for the entire year. Yes, most are expecting people to drop a dollar into the basket in order to keep the meetings alive. But no, you don’t have to. The meetings are free.
2) Widespread support
The meetings offer widespread support. This means 2 things really. On a macro level, there are meetings pretty much everywhere, in all cities and even around the world. They are widespread. Two, on a micro level, you can get instant support and recognition by simply walking into an AA meeting anywhere and taking your seat. The people there will do what they can to help you in most cases.
3) Effective for some
AA does not work for everyone. But it definitely works for some people, and works quite well. If you need a program of recovery, this is a good place to start.
4) Recovery maintenance
Regular meetings help some people to maintain their recovery. They claim that the meetings help them stay “plugged in” to their recovery program.
1) Meetings can lead to complacency
Some people who attend meetings every day basically take them on as their sole means of recovery. They are not working in the steps or getting active outside in the “real world” when it comes to their recovery. As such, they can get complacent just sitting in meetings each day, thinking that they are doing enough to stay sober. This can lead to relapse.
2) Meetings can be a big time investment with little return
If you are growing complacent in your recovery, but continue to go to meetings each and every day, consider how much time you are really wasting. Going to just one meeting per day uses up over a full month out of each year! Now this is fine and dandy if you are really benefiting from the meetings, but what if you are not? This is where you have to get really honest with yourself and see if there are not other things that could have a better return for your recovery. For example, helping other addicts and alcoholics directly or doing step work with them is probably better all around for most people in long term recovery. Meetings can be a liability if you are not careful.