For me, the most important aspect of attending AA meetings is to hear from other real people in real time how they apply the program of Alcoholics Anonymous to their lives. Over the years and by attending meetings I get a deeper and better understanding of how to do this for myself. The more I learn AA and the better I apply it to my actual life, the better is my quality of life. It is that selfish.
The second, unselfish part is that by attending I do a small part to make sure AA is there for the people who haven’t found it yet and for the people who don’t need it yet. Had everyone quit before I had joined, I don’t know where I’d be today. I probably wouldn’t be today. As part of that, my presence as an oldtimer can show that it does work over the long haul.
Third, socially, the society of AA folks is something I treasure. I’ve never been without it as an adult, even when I had just moved to a new place and knew no one, my past AA friends kept in touch, and upon meeting new people in AA I had an instant tribe.
Fourth, I fear I would drink if I stopped. As the book says (one of them), for me, to drink is to die. I believe it. I don’t think I would ever drink again, no matter what, but I’m not willing to take that chance. I derive all those other benefits from going to meetings, a lack of fear wouldn’t keep me away. But I do have that fear.
I guess AA has been a huge part, if not quite the originator, of the “self-help” movement. I can see why alcoholics who need to stop drinking accept the word of another alcoholic before someone who has just studied alcoholism. Also, AA meetings are free, and, if we are lucky, plentiful. Alternative therapies might be awesome but they are seldom free or readily available.
I love it that by telling my story, and listening to others do the same, we can stay sober.
There are many irritations and things I find fault with at meetings, but on the bottom line it is one alcoholic working with another to stay sober one day at a time. When a few of us gather for the purpose of sobriety, we can call ourselves an AA meeting if we wish to, and we are truly powerful.