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Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps, Hotline Number, and AA Alternatives

According to the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), approximately 14.1 million adults had a past-year alcohol use disorder (AUD).1 If you are struggling with alcohol, know that you are not alone. In addition to addiction rehab, there are several support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).

AA is a fellowship of men and women in recovery who aim to help individuals struggling with alcohol use.2 Using the 12 Steps of AA, the support groups offer in-person and virtual meetings nationwide to provide accountability, guidance, and support for those struggling with addiction. AA is spiritual in nature, which may not work for everyone. However, there are several alternatives to AA that may offer support on your recovery journey.

What is Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)?

AUD (sometimes referred to as alcoholism, alcohol addiction, alcohol dependence, or alcohol misuse) is a chronic disease that is characterized by an impaired ability to control or stop alcohol use despite adverse health, occupational, or social consequences.3 AUD is diagnosed based on an individual meeting any two of the below criteria outlined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) within a 12-month period:4

  • Using alcohol in larger amounts for a longer time than intended.
  • Inability to lessen alcohol use despite a desire to do so.
  • Spending a significant amount of time obtaining, using, and recovering from alcohol.
  • Craving alcohol or having urges to drink.
  • Inability to fulfill obligations such as home, school, or work responsibilities due to alcohol use.
  • Continuing to use alcohol despite negative effects.
  • Forgoing occupational, recreational, or social activities due to alcohol use.
  • Developing a tolerance or needing a larger amount of alcohol to feel the effects.
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms after discontinuing use.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

AA and similar groups, such as Cocaine Anonymous (CA) and Heroin Anonymous (HA), are self-help groups formed by individuals in recovery to help others on their recovery journey. AA is apolitical, multiracial, and easy to access as there are an estimated 129,790 AA groups worldwide.2, 5

AA is spiritual in nature and uses the 12-Step approach, which may support addiction treatment as an aftercare resource.6 One study found that individuals who attended a 12-Step group were about twice as likely to remain abstinent following treatment.7

12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

AA draws grounding and strength through a spiritual belief in God. Members are encouraged to commit to the program only when they feel like they can fully accept and understand the 12 Steps of AA, which are:8

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

How to Find AA Meetings Near Me

The increasing popularity of AA means that meetings are available nationwide and even in countries outside of the U.S. Meetings are held daily, and there are often several meetings to choose from depending on your location. In the U.S., you can search for local chapters by state or find a list of meetings near you on the Alcoholics Anonymous website.

Are There Online or Virtual AA Meetings?

To make support group meetings more accessible, AA and many other similar groups offer virtual meetings as well. The Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous is a directory that features a variety of virtual AA meetings worldwide and in several formats including chat, conferences, email, telephone, and video. The option to attend virtual AA meetings may be more comfortable or convenient for individuals looking for support.

How to Find Alternative Programs to AA Near Me

AA may help provide support for those struggling with AUD, however, AA may not be ideal for everyone. Some individuals may prefer a support group that is more specific to their needs (such as CA or HA), which you can find online. There are several alternatives to AA, including the support groups LifeRing, Moderation Management, SMART Recovery, SOS, and Women for Sobriety. You may also want to consider a more structured program in an inpatient rehab or outpatient rehab setting.

Keep in mind that no single treatment is right for everyone. Ultimately, successful treatment involves several steps, including detox, behavioral counseling, medication, dual diagnosis treatment for any co-occurring mental health issues, and aftercare for relapse prevention. 9 This is why it is important for treatment interventions, settings, and services to be tailored to an individual’s unique needs.9

If you are looking to learn more about treatment options, you can call American Addiction Centers (AAC) at 24/7 to talk to an admissions navigator.

AA Hotline and Alcohol Addiction Helpline Numbers

If you are looking for additional resources for AUD, you can reach out to the following helplines directly to receive addiction support:

Does My Insurance Cover Alcohol Addiction Rehab?

Most insurance companies cover at least some, if not all, of the cost of rehab, including treatment for AUD. If you are looking for rehabs near me, it can feel overwhelming—but you have plenty of options.

As you consider your options, knowing what your insurance will and will not cover can provide you peace of mind. You can find out if your insurance covers alcohol addiction rehab by calling your provider, calling AAC, or checking your insurance by filling out the form below.

Guides for Support Groups and Anonymous Meetings

More resources about Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Steps, Hotline Number, and AA Alternatives: