Should I Still Send My Child to AA After Treatment?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a free organization that offers a simple program for spiritual living. The “12 steps” are famous throughout the world for being a program of recovery found to be efficient in helping millions of recovering addicts and alcoholics stay clean and sober. Other programs have utilized the 12 steps to help with their problems, from overeating to gambling. Most treatment centers today incorporate philosophies of the 12 steps and encourage clients, patients and/or residents to work the steps during their time in treatment. Going to 12 step meetings, hosting 12 step meetings on site, studying “The Big Book” and learning more about the program are normal activities to experience during treatment.
For adolescents and teens, there is often a question about continuing time in AA or 12 step programs after treatment. Relapse prevention planning often includes making time for AA meetings and 12 step work, like meeting with or calling a sponsor, for example. Teens will find solidarity in “Young People’s AA”, also called YPAA. YPAA is a national organization that holds young-people specific meetings for teenagers and those in their twenties who are living in recovery from addiction. While they have specific meetings just for young people, they also hold YPAA events like sports tournaments, camping trips, conventions, conferences and sober dance parties. Adolescents who are younger than teens might struggle to feel comfortable in YPAA or regular AA. There are groups which might be local and target adolescent ages for 12 step participation. Everyone who experiences addiction or alcoholism, however, earns their seat in any meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, a sister program. Regularly attending meetings is an important part of recovery so your child can continue hearing messages of recovery, struggle and resilience.
In the beginning, you might volunteer to sit with your adolescent in adult meetings so they can attend and not feel uncomfortable. They will likely feel more comfortable at young people’s and beginner’s meetings where they can be around others closer to their age. For these meetings, you might even get the old “Drop me off here…”
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