A note on “Women and AA.”
Updated: Jan 14
There is ample research available online for the probing, which supports the fact that women struggle with alcohol use to nearly the same degree men struggle. Annual and monthly intake measurements assess almost equally, and even binge drinking data indicate similarities between men and women. (There exist only a few percentage points of separation)
According to recovery.org “Women make up approximately 38 percent of the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) population”. Our experience, having attended thousands of AA meetings, calculates a much smaller number (we would put the number personally witnessed at approximately 10 to 15 percent)
Glenn, Mike, and friend Megan shared a conversation about women in AA on a recent podcast that can be heard here and agreed that the greatest similarity is found in a shared desire to stop drinking and help the next alcoholic to achieve sobriety. We conclude that differences can be found in any group and are paid little attention, quickly discounted in exchange for our defined purposes.
The beauty of AA is that there are over 123,000 meetings (according to aa.org) to choose from, so finding the gathering that serves personal preferences: men-only meetings, women-only meetings, and Co-Ed meetings) are available if one is open and willing to keep searching.
In a world that believes that men are from Mars and women are from Venus (apologies for the dated reference), it is quickly discovered that gender, outside profession, social and economic classification, religious background, and race hold little-to-no relevance in the rooms where real recovery happens. Learning happens when we listen to the experience, strength, and hope of another alcoholic. The magic is found in the fact that we have all (men and women) suffered and have been filled with shame and remorse. Our past regrets almost always motivate us to take suggestions from people who have been “there” and have done “sobriety.”
Neither gender has a monopoly on pain and anguish or caring and compassion.
All that being said, stepping into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous can be intimidating regardless of where ones last step is. To start, gender-specific settings might be the best. Megan shared that she found women's meetings intimate and connected her to amazing models of hope through success stories. Once rooted, she shared that her brothers in the fellowship offered her love and support in the most appropriate way and saw men in a way she didn’t know existed. Men became instrumental on her road to recovery; similarly, Glenn and Mike have been surrounded by women who have become highly instrumental in their journey.
It just boils down to carrying the message to ANYBODY struggling with addiction.
The fact is that the program teaches us that we never have to be alone again. And whether we surround ourselves with like gender, opposite gender, or cross-gender, we should be the hurt healing the hopeless.
If you find yourself not knowing what to do, we suggest that you follow the statistics and go into the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous – a restorative order for all men, women, and children.
Thoughts and ideas for this blog post were taken and built upon from sober.coffee podcast #89 Titled: “Megan Focuses on "Women in Recovery" - Explores Unique Issues” The podcast dropped on 12/7/2022 click here to hear the podcast
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics World Service. Inc. References to AA, the 12 steps, and 12 traditions does not mean that AA has reviewed or approved the contents of this publication, nor that AA agrees with the views expressed herein. This publication is intended to support personal growth and should not be thought of as a substitute for advice of healthcare professionals. The authors advice and viewpoints are their own.