Are alcoholics meetings the key to recovery from alcoholism? Most of the recovery industry would say that they are, in fact, a central key to recovery. But many other people actually argue that they not the most important part of recovery any more, and this would include 2 groups that may surprise you. The 2 groups are:
1) Alternative recovery supporters, such as holistic treatment advocates. (no surprise there).
2) Die hard AA traditionalists. (surprise!)
So why are the die hard AA members not endorsing “meetings, meetings, meetings” as the ultimate recovery solution? Because they don’t work. If you take a look at modern day AA, and really look around the rooms of AA and see what is working and what is not, it quickly becomes clear that meeting attendance does not equal recovery. There are a ton of people in AA who have been told to do “90 meetings in 90 days,” and they stick to this plan while they continue to relapse. Many people who make it meetings on a regular basis are actually chronic relapse cases.
In the old days of AA, they did not have tons and tons of meetings available at every hour of every day. They were few and far between, and in most places there was only one or two meetings each week. And yet success rates today are arguably a lot worse then they were back then. So what is the difference?
The traditionalist AA of today would say that the emphasis needs to shift away from daily meeting attendance and back to actually working through the 12 steps as a course of real action. They would argue that the private alcohol rehab industry has latched on to the idea of “meetings, meetings, meetings” as a solution for people, and that this is not the big secret of recovery. The real secret is in the steps, they argue, and most meeting makers are simply using group therapy as a means of staying sober, rather than to pursue the spiritual transformation of the 12 steps as a means of recovery. Big difference.
Meetings don’t keep anyone sober. They might help, but they are not the mechanism of sobriety, and they might even be counterproductive in some cases. People who think that daily meetings are the solution for them are not pushing themselves to work the steps and to grow in recovery. Dependency on meetings means that you have not pursued the spiritual transformation needed to enjoy lasting recovery.