Alcoholics Anonymous is a program that is used worldwide that helps individuals recover from an alcohol addiction. Anyone is welcome to attend the meetings and there is never a fee or charge. There are two types of meetings an open and closed. An open meeting means that anyone can show up to the meeting with the alcoholic such as family members, students, or anyone interested in the topic. A closed meeting is just for the individuals with the addiction. Everyone that participates in the meetings has suffered or is currently suffering an alcohol addiction.
It is an informal meeting and there are no doctors or psychologist that attend. It is the responsibility of the individuals (alcoholics) to hold the meeting. The purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is to provide a supportive environment to achieve sobriety. The origin of Alcoholics Anonymous dates back to the mid-1930’s. The organization was founded by Bill Wilson in Akron, Ohio, who also suffered from alcoholism. Bill Wilson struggled with alcoholism for a very long time during his life and made contact with Dr. Bob Smith, who was also suffering from alcoholism.
They would meet with each other and talk about their problems and cravings. This worked well for both of them and they ended up achieving sobriety and since then, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings have been growing worldwide. The philosophy of Alcoholics Anonymous is that alcoholism is a mental and psychological problem for everyone. The philosophy is embodied in the 12-step program that helps individuals recover from addiction. Many of the steps have a reference to a higher power.
The first step in the 12-step program is admitting that you have a problem. CRC Health, 2015) The physical effects of alcohol addiction are as follows: it can make it harder to think clearly and move with coordination, it can cause heart damage leading to hypertension and stroke, it can cause liver damage such as alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis, it can lead to inflammation of the pancreas a conditioned known as pancreatitis, increased risk of cancers such as mouth, liver, and throat, a weakened immune system, and malnourishment. Most people that are alcoholics also suffer from some form of depression.
They also tend to have anxiety, anger, or even suicidal thoughts. Alcoholics tend to withdraw from their family and friends. Many alcoholics will develop friendships with people that suffer from the same addiction but they will not be meaningful relationship. Alcohol addiction puts a lot of tension on marriages, having sufficient funds to pay for bills, and properly caring for children. (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2015) When I first walked in for the meeting I was greeted by many of the individuals attending the meeting.
They were very welcoming and friendly. When the meeting started a man starting talking about his addiction, how it was ruining his life, and everything he went through to work towards sobriety. He told the group that his last drink was 9 years ago. He was very inspirational and told everyone in the meeting that we are all equals, we do not judge anyone, and to not be ashamed of who you are. I felt like he made everyone that was listening become very comfortable. He told everyone that we are all going through the same thing and we are here to support each other.
He was also referring to that we have to believe in a higher power to end this addiction and focused it around the 12-steps. He spoke for about 20 minutes, then we came together as a group. In the group, every person went around and introduced themselves if they were comfortable with doing so. They would talk about their addiction, problems, cravings they have, etc. It was very interactive, everyone would participate and give feedback and input to each other. My reaction to the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting was thought it had lots of positivity. Everyone at the meeting was very supportive and never judged each other.
No one ever called anyone an alcohol only by their first name. I thought it was great how informal it was and you get to hear everyone’s story. I am not an alcoholic but it was very inspiring knowing that all these individuals have the support of each other. I think it was a positive to know that all these other people at the meeting have very similar stories so everyone can relate and it helps with beating addiction. It was great knowing that they are not alone by any means while achieving sobriety because everyone is going through the same things.
I can use my experience at the Alcoholics Anonymous meeting to integrate it into my nursing practice. First, I will be more empathetic towards an alcoholic because this experience really opened my mind to how hard it is to stop an addiction. Second, if I deal with a patient that is an alcoholic and wants help, I can explain to the patient how the Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are. This can be very useful especially if a patient is very timid or nervous about going. I could explain to the patient the set-up of the meeting, how they do not judge anyone and are very comforting, and help with finding a meeting near them.