One of the more popular solutions for overcoming drug addiction or alcoholism is to attend alcoholics anonymous meetings. This is a popular solution and for many people it is the only solution that they have ever heard of or known of. But very few people would actually argue that meeting attendance is a solution for recovery all by itself, and perhaps the most adamant about this would be the hard core AA die hards who believe heavily in the program of AA.
AA meetings have evolved into something that is less than what it used to be. There are a number of different reasons and factors involved with this, and one of these is arguably the effect that the treatment center industry has had on AA. People who are educated about addiction and recovery are being released from rehabs and being encouraged to go to AA meetings. This creates conflict and a bit of a mixed message in the meetings, because you have newly recovering addicts and alcoholics who think they know everything spouting off in daily 12 step meetings.
Another reason that the meetings have become a bit more watered down is due to the influx of court ordered people who are attending meetings. This is probably more of an excuse than anything, however, and these people can also contribute to AA in a meaningful way, just as much as anyone else can. It is probably wrong to blame anything on them, especially when AA welcomed the court ordered attendees into their meetings to begin with. Some would argue that AA never welcomed them in, and of course this becomes a bit of a gray area. The fact is that court ordered people are at AA meetings and they are certainly being tolerated at present.
There are people who have recovered and are recovering from alcoholism who are not attending AA meetings. And, some of them are working a 12 step program in their lives on a regular basis. Meetings are not the secret to recovery. The problem is that if you keep going to AA meetings, that is what you will hear and that is what you will start to believe. It is a bit like a cult. “Meeting makers make it.” Actually, they relapse all the time. And some of them stay sober. Big deal. Meetings are not the sacred key to sobriety, though they can be useful if you approach them in the right way. Just don’t become dependent on them as your social solution to sobriety.