If you have gone to Alcoholics Anonymous then you have probably heard that you should go to 90 meetings in 90 days.
Going to 90 meetings in 90 days has saved many people. But we think it’s important to share some common misunderstandings that can happen to a newcomer who thinks that is all he or she should do.
Many times when a newcomer gets to the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous, they know very little about the program and it seems more like a mystery.
The most concrete thing they often hear is to go to 90 meetings in 90 days.
90 Meeting in 90 Days Are Good
Whether you are just getting out of a 30 to 90-day rehab or you are new to being sober, 90 meetings in 90 days can help you.
If you are getting out of rehab, 90 meetings can help you because it will help you build a community of people. If you go back into the environment you were in with the same people, you will likely relapse.
If you are trying to get sober by yourself, 90 meetings can help you deal with Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, or PAWS.
PAWS happens when someone is heavily saturated with alcohol or drugs. Even though their body is not seeking drugs or alcohol, they may not come out of a mental fog of irritability until 60 or 90 days later.
Going to meetings every day for 90 days can help manage this fog.
But 90 meetings in 90 days is not all you should do.
Just One More Day
If you are going to a meeting to hear one more thing to keep you sober for one more day, then you might be missing the point of the program.
The point of the program is to be free from the obsession to drink by having a psychic change.
There is a big difference between hearing something inspirational to make you feel better vs. staying sober by learning how to and by doing the action required from the 12 steps.
Once you learn the steps and begin doing them, your experience immediately begins to help others in the community. Soon, going to a meeting is more about what can you contribute instead of what can you get.
Don’t get us wrong, we all get to places in our recovery where we need the comfort of a meeting. The point here is that it cannot be the only thing you do in your treatment program if you want to stay sober.
Meetings Do Not Change You, Working The Steps Does
The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous does not have anywhere in the basic text that you should go to a meeting. But it discusses working with other alcoholics at length.
The text states that transformation is needed, a drastic emotional rearrangement, or a spiritual awakening by doing the 12 suggestions that are in the book.
The 12 steps outlined in the first 164 pages of the Big Book are what give members of AA the spiritual awakening. Granted, if you have gone to a steps-oriented meeting within the first 90 days, you will most likely get a sponsor well versed in the steps and the Big Book.
With the steps, you are attempting to change how your mind operates and responds to life by connecting to a higher power. The book states that the main problem centers in your mind, not your body, and that we have a mental obsession when it comes to alcohol.
For example, when you are 21-days sober, alcohol has been completely removed from your body.
Yes, some people think they still “crave” alcohol. But in truth, their mind is telling them that they can just have one drink. Despite the consequences — unemployment, jail, relationship problems, or health problems — the mind will tell an alcoholic that he or she can control and enjoy his drinking.
Attending 90 meetings in 90 days usually won’t give you the shift in your thinking to prevent you from drinking or using drugs again, unless you are vigorously doing the action outlined in the book.
Finding Long Term Help to Stay Clean and Sober
If you or a loved one cannot stay sober for 90 days, it might be best to go to treatment. If you need help finding the best treatment for your situation, give our admissions a call.