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Aa Meeting: a Reflection Paper

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Words: 1501 |

Pages: 3|

8 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

Words: 1501|Pages: 3|8 min read

Published: Dec 16, 2021

On Sunday February 17th, I attended my first AA meeting at the “Grupo Fe y Amor” location in Los Angeles. I attended the meeting in spanish with my mom who had never been to a meeting before. As we walked into the meeting there were two older Latino men, Alberto and Ricky who were very welcoming. I explained to them that this was my first meeting and that I was interested in learning more about AA. I then handed them my flashcard with my name and they placed into a basket. I found it interesting how there was no one else attending the meeting besides my mom and I, usually when I walk through the AA meeting I always see a couple people.

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The meeting began with Alberto the chairperson reading the AA preamble and then he lead us into the Serenity Prayer in spanish. After he explained what the AA meeting was all about. He described AA as group of people who are working together to help its members stay sober and help those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction to achieve sobriety. Alberto then read the 12 steps of AA that were framed and hanged to the wall and also gave a brief description about each step. I found the first step to be very powerful because it states that the individual must admit that they were powerless over alcohol and that there lives had become hard to manage. I can not imagine how hard it must be for someone to have to admit that there addiction has taken the best out of them and their lives. Another step that made me think about my own life was step 4 which states that the individual must make a list of all the people who they have hurt and is willing to be the bigger person and make amends to them all. This made me reflect on the person I am today and realize how there have been times when my actions have harmed others.

After going through the 12 steps and other important information, Alberto gave his testimony. He is a Mexican born who has struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction. His story was relatable in several aspects because I have family members who have been dealing with the same struggles for many years. Alberto expressed how he started off hanging out with the wrong crowd and how his drug of choice was crystal meth. He said that before his addiction he had a great life and was able to maintain a stable life in America. However, everything changed once he began to crave drugs more and more. He explains how he would go to work Monday-Friday and on the weekend he would drink and get high. Later on, he began to not only drink and get high on the weekend but he began to do so during the week after work and even sometimes during work. His addictions were slowly becoming part of his everyday life and were not only harming him but his family, relationships, and his ability to maintain a job. Eventually he got kicked out of his house because he could no longer be the responsible father and husband he once was. He recalls selling his cars and all his personal belongings in order to get more drugs. His need for drugs got so bad that he began to steal and borrow money from his family members. Alberto eventually hit rock bottom, he became homeless and lost his family and job. His family kept insisting him that he look for help in these meetings but he did not take their advice into consideration. It was not until Alberto admitted that he was powerless to his addiction that he was able to take the first steps into starting his recovering journey. During his testimony he emphasised that drugs and alcohol are real life mental issues that need to be taken seriously. His testimony was very powerful because AA has helped him get a hold of himself and his life. Alberto has been sober for over four years and everyday works hard to continue this journey.

Ricky, the other man in charge of the AA meeting also spoke about his experiences and how he has had to work hard to become the man that he is today. Ricky was born in Columbia and was first introduced to AA meetings when he was just a teenager. He discuss going to classes with his mother because his mother was worried about his alcohol consumption. He grew up with an alcohol dad and had always been exposed to the drinking life. Eventually the meetings helped him with his drinking problems. However after he enrolled into the army he began to experiment with drugs and that’s when his life gave a 360 turn. He started off with marijuana and slowly moved on to more hardcore drugs. After moving to the United States, his addiction continued and he eventually lost his way through life. At one point he was living in the famous Skid Row located in Downtown Los Angeles. Skid Row is known for its large population of homeless people. Ricky states that he decided to change his life around when he realized that if he continued living this his life could end anytime soon. After attending AA again, Ricky was able to change his life and is now living in his own apartment and is living his best life.

Some of the principals that were being applied in the meeting included honesty, willingness, courage, faith, discipline, self-worth, and integrity. The principal of honesty was being applied when Alberto and Ricky were able to own up to their mistakes. This demonstrates them building a positive character. No person likes to admit that they have a serious problem with drugs or alcohol, however by taking the step for accepting help shows that they are honestly wanting to overcome their challenges. Willingness is seen every time these men attend a meeting, they are willing to move past there mistakes and seek for true potential. The principal of discipline is seen when these men and women get up everyday to attend these types of meetings and continue their journey to sobriety. It takes a lot of self-discipline and determination to stay on the right track.

I think that there is no right way to prepare a client for their first AA meeting. I would encourage them to attend the meeting when they feel ready. I would provide the client with the basic background on AA and refer them to various locations. I think that the worst candidate for this intervention is someone who is not ready to admit that they have a mental illness. In order for AA to benefit someone, that person must admit to themselves that they no longer are able to maintain a stable life and that their addiction has overpowered them. In my opinion, AA meetings are beneficial because they are safe spaces were individuals with similar experiences and challenges can gather around and talk about their situation. Some pros of attending AA is that it is a structured environment, individuals gain so much from listening to each others experiences, people gain motivation to avoid relapsing, AA is free, and it is a worldwide phenomenon. Some cons of attending AA is that it can lead to abuse from other members, some people attend the meetings due to court orders, AA can be time consuming, and AA has religious affiliation which can make it hard for some to adapt.

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As I reflect on my first time meeting, I learned how addictions are extremely hard to overcome and it takes a lot of strength to ask for help. The testimonies of Alberto and Ricky gave me a new perspective on additions. Many people tend to see people who use drugs and alcohol as junkees who willingly got themselves into this situation, however there are many factors that lead them to their addiction. Several addicts tend to use drugs and alcohol as a way to escape from their reality because they do not have a healthy way to cope with their feelings and struggles. Before walking into the meeting I was not sure what to expect. Growing up I had heard negative things about AA meetings such as the people who attend it are harmful people who I should not talk to because I did not want to end up with them. After the meeting I realized how the people attending these meetings are regular people who use AA meetings as a way to fight their mental illness. Alberto and Ricky’s experiences were relatable in the sense that I have an aunt who is currently dealing with a drug addiction. Now that I have attended the AA meeting I feel like I have found a way to help my aunt. I can help her by informing her about this AA location and encouraging her to attend a meeting.                      

Works Cited

  1. Alcoholics Anonymous. (2022). Frequently asked questions about AA.
  2. Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. (2014). Living sober.
  3. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. (2005). Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64223/
  4. Humphreys, K. (2004). Circles of recovery: Self-help organizations for addictions. Cambridge University Press.
  5. Kelly, J. F., & White, W. L. (2012). Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in 2012: What we know, what we don’t know, and what we believe. Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, 43(1), 1–2.
  6. Moos, R. H., & Moos, B. S. (2004). Long-term influence of duration and intensity of treatment on previously untreated individuals with alcohol use disorders. Addiction, 99(7), 859–869.
  7. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2014). Alcoholics Anonymous and other 12-step programs. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcoholics-anonymous
  8. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). TIP 55: Behavioral health services for American Indians and Alaska Natives. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://store.samhsa.gov/product/TIP-55-Behavioral-Health-Services-for-American-Indians-and-Alaska-Natives/SMA15-4849
  9. Weiss, R. D., Jaffee, W. B., de Menil, V. P., & Cogley, C. B. (2004). Group therapy for substance use disorders: What do we know? Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 12(6), 339–350.
  10. Witbrodt, J., & Kaskutas, L. A. (2005). Does diagnosis matter? Differential effects of 12-step participation and social networks on abstinence. American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 31(4), 685–707.
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Aa Meeting: A Reflection Paper. (2021, December 16). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 22, 2024, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/aa-meeting-a-reflection-paper/
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Aa Meeting: A Reflection Paper. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/aa-meeting-a-reflection-paper/> [Accessed 22 Jun. 2024].
Aa Meeting: A Reflection Paper [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2021 Dec 16 [cited 2024 Jun 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/aa-meeting-a-reflection-paper/
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