Skip to main content

AA Online vs. In-Person

Going to meetings is one of the most important ways you can invest in your recovery from addiction. Especially in light of the COVID-19 Pandemic, online support groups have become a vital part of telehealth and addiction treatment. For those in recovery, online support groups may be one of the few ways to maintain connection and self love during the pandemic.

12 steps aa better than online versus vs women sitting on chairs in circle and talking to psychologist coach and audience discuss together

12 steps aa better than online versus vs women sitting on chairs in circle and talking to psychologist coach and audience discuss together

AA Online is a nonprofit organization and a community of AA members.

It is regulated by an organization called the Online Intergroup of Alcoholics Anonymous or OIAA. The OIAA is run by AA members and its primary goal is to connect people to online AA meetings by supervising and regulating all online gatherings.

AA online meetings can be just as effective and helpful as in-person meetings if you attend with the intention of listening and growing.

Some people view online meetings as supplementary and generally, newcomers are encouraged to attend in-person AA meetings first. Be that as it may, going to an online meeting is positively better compared to not going by any means!

back view of man talking to his alcoholics anonymous friends online vs in person video conference

back view of man talking to his alcoholics anonymous friends online vs in person video conference

The benefits of attending online AA meetings are:

  • Convenience: If you are traveling, sick, have physical disabilities, are concerned about health risks, work a demanding off-hours schedule, or cannot find any meetings near you, online meetings are an excellent alternative.
  • Privacy: If you’re concerned about anonymity, an online meeting may be a more comfortable option to start.
  • Comfort: If you struggle with severe social anxiety, attending online meetings first may be a good way to become more comfortable with AA. You don’t even have to turn on your camera if you don’t want to.
  • Flexibility: There are many different online AA meetings to attend at any given time and they are all in different languages and time zones across the world.

The size of an online AA meeting will vary but can be anywhere from just three or four people to hundreds. The discussion topic of an online meeting will also depend on the meeting itself and can range from Big Book discussions and meditations to information about addiction or just general recovery information.

As an AA member, you can also choose to attend a few different types of online meetings: open meetings, closed meetings, or a mixture of the two.

  • Open AA meetings are open to others outside of AA, such as people who aren’t alcoholics or addicts, people who just want to observe, people who are considering joining AA but haven’t yet, or family members and friends of AA members.
  • Closed AA meetings are for AA members only.
people having a aa meeting better than online

people having a aa meeting better than online

The variety of AA online meetings is astounding so if you want to connect with an online group, you have plenty of options. Those who want to can even create a new AA meeting online.

Despite the greater health risks currently at play, the OIAA and Alcoholics Anonymous say that in-person meetings are immensely  important, and both groups recommend , especially for newcomers, to attend in-person meetings if and keeping AA online as a supplemental resource.  But like anything, the experience is what you make of it. Online AA meetings have the potential to be just as helpful as the face-to-face version, if you attend with an open heart, an open mind, and the best of intentions.

by Alexis B.

Leave a Reply