How Long Does It Take To Detox From Alcohol?

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), “hangover symptoms peak when the blood alcohol concentration in the body returns to about zero.” So if you think that you will feel fresh and normal once the alcohol has left your system, you are sadly mistaken. Keep in mind, this statistic does not factor in instances of alcohol dependence. Someone who is dependant on alcohol will not only experience the symptoms of a standard hangover, but they are also likely to develop alcohol withdrawal symptoms as their body detoxes. The length of time that it takes to detox from alcohol can vary significantly depending on a number of factors. 

Alcohol Detox Timeline Overview

The detox timeline for alcohol does vary but always follows a general pattern. The timeline is measured based on when the last drink was consumed. Here is what to expect based on approximately how long it has been since an individual has consumed their last alcoholic beverage.

  • 6 to 12 hours: Mild withdrawal symptoms begin to appear
  • 12 to 24 hours: Moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms begin to appear
  • 72 hours: Delerium Tremons symptoms appear
  • 5+ days: Symptoms taper off

Factors Affecting Alcohol Detox Timelines

Not everyone experiences moderate to severe withdrawal symptoms. The severity and length of time these symptoms present for depends on:

  • Length of use: The longer someone has been heavily drinking alcohol, the more severe their symptoms will be, and the longer they may last.
  • Amount used: Similar to the length of use, someone who drinks heavier will experience more severe symptoms.
  • Cross drug use: When other drugs are taken in conjunction with alcohol it can significantly exacerbate the intensity and length of withdrawal.
  • Nutrition & Hydration: A nutritious diet, proper hydration, and vitamin and mineral supplements can help the body process alcohol for quicker healing. This can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and speed up how long it would take to detox from alcohol.
  • Biology: Various biological factors including genetics, gender, etc., can also cause alcohol detox to be longer and more severe or shorter and less severe.

How Long Does Alcohol Stay In Your System?

As mentioned earlier, symptoms of a hangover (as well as detox) typically peak when an individual’s BAC hits 0. This means that if we know when there is no longer any alcohol in one’s system, then theoretically we will know when the symptoms are as bad as they are going to get. The factors listed above that affect alcohol detox timelines can also affect how long alcohol stays in your system. As a general reference, someone who is not dependent on alcohol can refer to a BAC table to determine how much alcohol is still in their system. However, most of these tables only go up to a certain amount of drinks. Someone who drank to an extreme excess or who has developed a severe alcohol dependence may not reach a BAC of 0 for 72 hours. 

Alcohol Testing

As mentioned, BAC charts are a good way for the average person to get an idea of how much alcohol may be in their system, but they do have their limitations. There are a number of ways to test an individual’s BAC but not all of them can detect alcohol for the same amount of time.

  • Breathalyzer: up to 24 hours
  • Blood test: 12 to 72 hours
  • Urine test: 12 to 48 hours
  • Hair test: several months

Are you or a loved one ready to detox from alcohol? If you are worried about how long it will take or how severe the symptom may be, an alcohol detox program can help. Find a treatment center near you.

What Is Binge Drinking?

Have you ever gone to a party with friends and started off with a few mixed drinks, then taken a couple of shots of tequila in between drinks, then shotgunned a beer, and had a couple more mixed drinks? Well, that is certainly a case of binge drinking, but not all cases are this severe and some are more severe. So what exactly is binge drinking?

According to Merriam Webster, the definition of the noun binge is an unrestrained and often excessive indulgence or an act of excessive or compulsive consumption (as of food). Binge drinking is when you drink excessively, but “excessive” can be subjective? In order to talk scientifically about binge drinking, we need to define where the line is. 

Different organizations define binge drinking differently based on a few different factors. These factors could be the number of drinks consumed, blood alcohol content, gender, and length of use. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Addiction (NIAAA) and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are 2 of the more reputable organizations that provide definitions of binge drinking.

NIAAA – “a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher. For a typical adult, this pattern corresponds to consuming 5 or more drinks (male), or 4 or more drinks (female), in about 2 hours.” 

SAMSHA – “5 or more alcoholic drinks for males or 4 or more alcoholic drinks for females on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past month.”

Binge Drinking vs. Heavy Alcohol Use

We now understand that binge drinking is drinking alcohol to excess, but then what is heavy alcohol use? Aren’t they the same thing? Actually, they are not. 

The NIAAA’s definition for binge drinking isn’t that far off from their definition of heavy alcohol use, “more than 4 drinks on any day for men or more than 3 drinks for women.” However, the way SAMHSA differs the 2 is that binge drinking is drinking heavily within a short period of time whereas heavy alcohol use is binge drinking over a period of time: “binge drinking on 5 or more days in the past month.”

Who Binge Drinks?

According to the CDC (who uses the NIAAA definitions for binge drinking and heavy alcohol use0, about 1 in 6 adults binge drink 4 or more times per month. Additionally, men and people between ages 18 and 34 are the populations most likely to binge drink. Lastly, of the people under age 21 who report drinking any alcohol, the majority participate in binge drinking.

Risks of Binge Drinking

The risks associated with binge drinking are many and are extremely severe. These include:

  • Alcohol use disorders/alcohol addiction
  • Heart disease
  • Accidental injuries (car crashes, falls, and burns)
  • Violence towards others and self
  • Poor pregnancy outcomes
  • Cancer (mouth, throat, esophagus, breast, liver, colon)
  • Memory loss
  • Learning impairments
  • Death

Preventing Binge Drinking

It can be easy to say “don’t drink excessively”, but it is not as easily done. For one, many people don’t know what constitutes binge drinking or how dangerous it can be. Additionally, alcoholism is a powerful mental illness that is not always overcome easily. However, just because preventing binge drinking is difficult, doesn’t mean it is impossible. If you could save yourself or your loved one from the risks listed above, wouldn’t you? Here are 3 things you can do to prevent binge drinking:

  • Educate your children, friends, and/or family members on what binge drinking is and it’s risks.
  • Set an example and limit your drinks. Say no to the round of shots. Just by you saying no, others who aren’t interested will feel more comfortable also saying no.
  • Provide delicious alternatives to alcoholic drinks. Think mocktails. Believe it or not, those fruity mixed drinks still taste amazing without alcohol.

How Do I Know If I’m An Alcoholic?

The DSM-V, the diagnostic manual used by mental health professionals in America, refers to alcohol addiction as an alcohol use disorder. However, Alcoholics Anonymous leaves it up to the individual to identify themselves as an alcoholic or not. Additionally, an “acceptable” amount of alcohol consumption seems to differ by country, religion, family, age, and one’s overall social environment. Consider an Islamic family that drinks zero alcohol versus an American college student who regularly goes out to bars. If someone in a devout Islamic family drinks any alcohol at all, it is unacceptable. However, an American college student can drink heavily several times per week without anyone batting an eye. With so many different standards and criteria for what is acceptable, it leaves many people wondering “How do I know if I’m an alcoholic?”

Let’s take a deeper look at some of the criteria that a couple of organizations have outlined:

Alcohol Addiction According to the DSM-V

The current version of the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders lists 12 criteria used to diagnose an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Only 2 of these criteria need to be met in order to be diagnosed with a mild AUD, 4-5 for a mild AUD, and 6 or more for a severe AUD. These criteria include:

  1. Had times when you ended up drinking more, or longer, than you intended?
  2. More than once wanted to cut down or stop drinking, or tried to, but couldn’t?
  3. Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over other aftereffects?
  4. Wanted a drink so badly you couldn’t think of anything else?
  5. Found that drinking—or being sick from drinking—often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  6. Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  7. Given up or cut back on activities that were important or interesting to you, or gave you pleasure, in order to drink?
  8. More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  9. Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  10. Had to drink much more than you once did to get the effect you want? Or found that your usual number of drinks had much less effect than before?
  11. Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, restlessness, nausea, sweating, a racing heart, or a seizure? Or sensed things that were not there?

However, just a few years ago, the medical community used significantly different criteria to diagnose alcohol addiction. In the DSM-IV, alcohol-related mental health disorders were broken down into 2 categories: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. There were 4 criteria for alcohol abuse but only one had to be met to be diagnosed with alcohol abuse. Three out of seven different criteria listed in the DSM-IV needed to be met to diagnose alcohol dependence. 

An Alcoholic According to AA

Alcoholics Anonymous does not serve as a medical organization, but a support system for individuals that struggle with alcohol addiction. Thus, it does not set out to diagnose the condition. However, the one requirement to join AA is a desire to stop drinking. Some might be confused because AA is known for the phrase “My name is [insert name] and I am an alcoholic.” In reality, it is not required for members to identify as an alcoholic. Still, one could infer that an individual who seeks help with their desire to stop drinking may have been struggling to do so on their own. This does align with the 2nd criteria listed in the DMS-V for an AUD.

Additionally, the first step of AA states “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” Most would argue that someone who often drinks more than they intend or has tried to stop drinking, but didn’t, is powerless over alcohol. Also, most would agree that someone’s life is unmanageable if they are frequently hungover, experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking or experiencing relationship and work issues due to their alcohol consumption.

Are you an Alcoholic?

Although over time and across different sources it has not always been clear how to know if someone is an alcoholic, there does also seem to be many consistencies. In the end, if you feel like you or a family member is struggling with alcohol, there is never shame in getting help. 

Get Help Now

At Find Recovery, we help connect individuals and families in need with resources such as AA meetings and treatment centers nearby. Find Recovery today when you call our hotline!

What Does Unmanageability Mean In AA?

So you’ve decided to get sober, begin your journey to recovery, and follow a 12 step program. That’s awesome! Only, here you are looking at step 1 of Alcoholics Anonymous:

“We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol––that our lives had become unmanageable.”

When reading this sentence, you may think to yourself, what does “unmanageable” mean? The Big Book examines powerlessness very deeply but doesn’t go as in-depth about unmanageability. Let’s take a look at how alcohol can lead to an “unmanageable” life, what unmanageability is in AA, and how it is correlated with addiction or alcohol abuse.

Manageability: The Line Between Alcohol Use & Addiction

Alcohol use is extremely common in societies across the globe, and not everyone who drinks alcohol develops an alcohol addiction. Many people who drink on an even somewhat regular basis may at some point ask themselves, “Am I am alcoholic?”. How can you tell the difference between simple alcohol use and addiction? Well, understanding manageability is a factor that can be used to determine if someone has crossed that line.

When someone who is not struggling with addiction begins to experience the consequences of their drinking, they simply stop drinking. However, if someone is drinking, experiencing consequence after consequence and does not or cannot stop, then this is an unmanageable life. Everyone makes mistakes, but they usually learn from them and make better choices moving forward. Someone who seeks help for addiction is either someone who is court-ordered to, or someone who is not able to manage their drinking, and ultimately their life.

The DSM-V and Alcohol Addiction

The Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders, or DMS, lists Alcohol Use Disorders in the manual and includes 11 criteria. Only 2 of the 11 criteria have to be met to be diagnosed with the disorder. Of these 11 symptoms, 4 of them are social symptoms that align with an unmanageable life. 

Signs Your Life Is Unmanageable

  • Frequently running late for events or meetings
  • Using the “I’m too busy” excuse often
  • Uncontrollable, angry outbursts without any regret or remorse
  • Getting fired because of inappropriate behaviors
  • Maintaining emotional distance from loved ones due to a focus on substance use
  • A lack of romance or intimacy caused by intrusive thoughts of substance use
  • Consistent alcohol use despite a fear of being called out
  • Cravings prevent responsibilities from being tended to
  • Hospitalization or self-harm
  • Uncontrollable depression, anxiety, or loneliness

Internal Vs. External Unmanageability

Signs of an unmanageable life can be broken down into 2 different categories, internal and external factors. Internal factors include being unable to manage emotions, feelings, and thought. Internal factors often contribute to external factors such as relying on excuses, exhibiting inappropriate behaviors, and projecting emotions onto others. 


If you or your loved one’s life has become unmanageable, get help from a local AA meeting or treatment center today.

A Complete Guide to the AA Big Book

If you have ever looked into or attended an AA meeting, you may have heard of The Big Book. The Big Book of AA is a text used in Alcoholics Anonymous to spread the word of how to recover from alcoholism and share the AA recovery stories of others. The book is over 400 pages and can be broken down into 2 overarching parts. The first is dedicated to explaining how the program works and using anecdotes for an explanation. Included are chapters targetted towards certain groups of people, as well as how the 12 steps, 12 traditional, and 9 promises tie in. The other part of the book is dedicated to recovery stories. This 2nd part has changed from one edition to the other to include more recent stories that are more relatable to members in recovery today.

It was actually written by the first 100 members of AA. However, a man named William G. Wilson, aka Bill W., took on the bulk of the project and is credited as the author. He began wroke on the text in 1938 and the first edition was published on April 10, 1939. Over the years the book has been republished with new stories of recovery, without changes to the sections discussing the recovery program itself. There are 4 editions of the AA Big Book, with the most recent edition having been published just in 2001. 

The Big Book Across the Globe

Alcoholics Anonymous began in New York and didn’t really take off to become the widely trusted program we know today. However, this 12 step recovery program did eventually spread across the world. Today, the big book is one of the most all-time sold books with over 30million copies sold. In fact, The AA Big Book has been translated into 67 different languages and used by members in over 170 countries.

Big Book AA Acronyms

There are countless acronyms used in the AA community. A few of these are specifically related to The Big Book. In fact, if you see “BB”, this is the direct acronym for “Big Book”. It may be used to reference the text or to indicate that a particular AA meeting will be focused on the Big Book text. 

What happens at a Big Book Meeting?

Although all AA meetings generally start and end the same, the bulk of the meeting may vary. During a Big Book meeting, the leader will likely read a passage of The Big Book to the group and discuss the reading, what it means to them, and how it relates to recovery. During some meetings, they may open the discussion to other members present.

Search our AA meeting directory to find an AA Big Book meeting near you.

What is Big Book Study AA? 

Depending on the context, if you see “Big Book Study AA” it may be an AA meeting or a reference to a Big Book Study Guide for Alcoholics Anonymous. There are multiple groups that have published study guides designed to help members understand the contents of the Big Book. However, these are not published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services. 

How Much is an AA Big Book?

If you are in the market for an AA Big Book, you have a few options. Of course, you can purchase a book off of Amazon, but this may not be the best option for you. There are ways to get the text for free as well as digital options. Consider all of your options before making a purchase, especially if money is tight.

A Hand-Me-Down Book

Step 12 of AA states “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.” As a part of this step, AA members are encouraged to pass on their books and other materials to other members who may need it more. This is one way in which they carry the message of the program to alcoholics. If you do not have the means to purchase a Big Book, you can likely get one with the help of a local chapter. 

Purchase a Book

The Big Book can also be purchased new or used. Depending on where you purchase your book, the price can vary. They can be purchase from the following locations:

Does AA work for everyone?

Asking “does AA work for everyone?” is like asking if everyone has the same fingerprint. Of course not! Every human is unique in their biology, how they were raised, and how they react to medications, therapies, and certain situations. Similarly to how you can never know for sure if someone will struggle with addiction until they do, you will never know if AA will work for someone until they try it. 

The Success of Alcoholics Anonymous

How many people does AA work for? Although we know AA will not be the answer for every single individual who struggles with alcoholism, we do know that it helps some people. Additionally, measuring success is not black and white. Is success 1 year sober, 5 years sober, or a lifetime of sobriety? Moreover, can we say the program is successful if someone attends meetings for the first year or so of their sobriety and then stops attending meetings but still maintains their sobriety?

Self-reported Statistics on AA

In 2014, Alcoholics Anonymous conducted a survey of its members. Members were not required to participate, and the survey ended up with approximately 6,000 participants. One question on the survey asked how long the member had been sober1. The results were as follows:

  • 27% – Less Than 1 Year
  • 42% – Between 1 and 5 Years
  • 13% – Between 5 and 10 Years
  • 14% – Between 10 and 20 Years
  • 22% – Over 20 years

In the Big Book, the program also claims a 50% success rate and that 25% remain sober after some relapses.

Outside Studies on Alcoholics Anonymous

In addition to the surveys and statistics provided by AA, outside groups have preformed studies to try and provide an unbiased understanding of the program’s success. One study was published under the Alcohol Research Current Reviews (ARCR). This was a long-term study that looked at individuals who received formal treatment, informal treatment (AA), and no treatment at all. The study followed up with these individuals after 1 year, 3 years, and 8 years following their initial sobriety. The results were as follows:

  • Of the participants who entered AA on their own, half were still sober after 1 year and 3 years, but a fourth of the participants had maintained their sobriety as of the 8-year follow up.
  • 46% of individuals who had formal treatment and 49% who attended AA meetings were sober at the 8-year follow-up.
  • For some, attending AA meetings was associated with long-term sobriety, but not for all.

Although these were limited studies, they do show that some success is seen with 12 Step programs, but it is not a perfect solution for all. Also, studies have shown that formal treatment and AA meetings together provide better success than one of these programs on their own.

Limitations of 12 Step Programs

Why does AA not work for everyone? Admittedly, there are some limitations to AA meetings and the 12 Step program. These limitations often receive criticism, but studies more often show that AA helps. With that, take these limitations with a grain of salt. 

Loosely Structured Addiction Support

Although 12 step programming does follow a structure, this structure is not strictly enforced. Individuals groups may adjust the way they operate depending on the individual group’s needs. Although many see this as a benefit, it can also be viewed as a limitation. It leaves lots of room for practices that are not proven or evidence-based. These programs are not usually run by trained professionals and they may say or do something a professional may advise against. This brings me to the 2nd major limitation…

Not Formal or Professional Treatment

From the group leaders to the sponsors, AA meetings are not usually made up of people who have any professional experience or training in addiction treatment. The members and leaders work off of their own personal experiences with addiction. As everyone is different and has their own unique experiences with addiction, one cannot necessarily apply their experience and what worked for them to others. Some argue that the lack of formal training could be detrimental, or even dangerous.

Alternatives to AA

There are alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous for those who do not feel that the program is for them. In addition to traditional 12 Step programs, there are alternatives for people who are not religious. 

  • AA Agnostics is a group for people who may be spiritual but do not believe in God in for traditional fashion.
  • Formal Addiction Treatment Programs provide a variety of treatment programs from residential treatment to outpatient treatment. Although some do incorporate the 12 steps as a part of their treatment programming, not all do. Others have non-12 step programming and group meetings.
  • SMART Recovery is another alternative approach to addiction treatment which many turn to when 12 step programs do not work for them.

At Find Recovery, we know that the answer to “Does AA work for everyone?” is “No”. We also know that AA does work for many. This is a part of why we hope to provide struggling addicts with as many resources as possible. Our goal is to, you guessed it: help you Find Recovery. Check out our directory of Treatment Centers and AA meetings near you to find the recovery path right for you!

What do they say at the beginning and end of AA meetings?

An overview of a typical AA meeting structure.

Businessmen do research on their prospects before sitting down to pitch them. Parents research neighborhood crime rates and school ratings before moving into a new home. Some people simply like to be prepared, and there is nothing wrong with that. Even those who struggle with addiction make like to know what they are getting into when attending an AA meeting. The following breakdown of an AA meeting’s structure will help provide insight to those who are new to Alcoholics Anonymous.

AA Meeting Structure

When it comes to the beginning and ending, most AA meetings follow the same general structure. However, each meeting is individually run and may differ some based on the group’s specific needs and interests. For instance, an AA Agnostics group may not say all of the prayers that are usually recited. As a reference point, the following elements make up a typical AA meeting:

  1. AA Preamble
  2. Moment of Silence
  3. Serenity Prayer
  4. Newcomers Intro
  5. “How It Works” readings
  6. Meeting Sharing & Discussion
  7. 7th Tradition Contribution
  8. Closing Prayer

What do they say at the beginning of AA meetings?

The very first thing that is recited at a typical Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is the AA Preamble. The Preamble is a short reading that states what AA is, what the purpose, is, and what the requirements are.

AA Preamble:

ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Although the AA Preamble is the first thing they say at the beginning of AA Meetings, there are a few other things said before they get to the topic of the meeting. After a moment of silence, the Serenity Prayer is recited, typically as a group:

Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference. 

Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next.

Amen.

Next, the leader will ask if there are any newcomers. The newcomers are given an opportunity to introduce themselves, and in some cases, all members partake in introductions. This is not a time to share a long story, but to tell the group your name. It is not required, but the individuals may identify themselves as an addict if they so choose. In some instances, the members also share their sobriety date.

As the last element before beginning the meeting topic, a “How It Works” reading may be recited.

What do they say at the end of an AA Meeting?

After the sharing and discussion part of an AA meeting is completed, there are just things done to close out the meeting. The first is the 7th Tradition collection and the last is a closing prayer. 

The 7th tradition states “Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.” This means that it is the member’s own contributions that fund the meetings. This includes purchasing any chips, materials, and refreshments provided during the meetings. No one is required to contribute. In fact, many groups suggest that first-timer refrain from contributing. 

The closing prayer is typically the “Our Father Prayer”:

Our Father, Who Art in Heaven,
Hallowed be Thy Name.
Thy Kingdom come, Thy Will be done
On earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
And forgive us our trespasses,
As we forgive those who trespass
against us.
Lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from evil,
For Thine is the Kingdom, and the Power,
and the Glory Forever and ever.

Amen.

Once this prayer is completed, the meeting is concluded and the members disperse. They may grab a snack to go, stay and talk with other members for a little, go leave and go about their business.

How Do I Get an AA Chip?

Members who join Alcoholics Anonymous are working every day to maintain their sobriety and to live a better life. It is a day by day process and it is not easy. Those who maintain sobriety should be proud of their accomplishment. However, many need a reminder of what they are doing and how far they have come. For many, an AA chip fills this role. However, newcomers might beg the question “How do I get an AA chip?” From the milestones to the actual process of receiving the chip, there is more to know then you may think.

AA Chips are earned by members of alcoholics anonymous who achieve certain time periods of sobriety. These are recognized by members as a reminder of their personal length of sobriety or of the achievement they have made. These chips start with a newcomer picking up a chip for 24 hours of sobriety all the way to veteran memberships that have been sober for decades through the program of alcoholics anonymous. The following is a specific timeline that is used to distribute these chips and to mark each milestone.

  • 1 Day
  • 30 Days
  • 60 Days
  • 90 Days
  • 6 months
  • 9 months
  • 1st year

After 1 year sober, chips are given out yearly. This means members get a chip at 1 year sober, 2 years sober, 3 years sober, and so on. These milestones are generally the ones recognized in all AA groups, but some groups provide chips for additional milestones. They may be every month for the first year, or even longer. 8-month and 18-month chips are not unheard of. It is really up to the individual chapter to provide these chips at the milestones they choose.

Receiving my AA Chip

In order to receive an AA chip, you must attend AA meetings. At these meetings, members are encouraged to share that they have reached a milestone, and the group leader will present them with the appropriate chip.

Unless you are on parole, there is no one following you and making sure that you aren’t drinking or drugging. It is up to the individual to be honest about their substance use. If you relapse, you are asked to turn in your chips and to start back at day 1. If you lie about this, you are only hurting yourself. The group cannot provide proper support if you aren’t’ honest, and the chips mean nothing if they are representing real milestones achieved.

What Women Should Know About Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a program that is designed to be applicable to people of all ages, gender, race, nationality, religion, etc. However, there can sometimes be a tremendous benefit to meetings that are focused on one particular group of people. This is especially true for gender. Generally speaking, women face different challenges in life and with addiction than men do. This is what you should know if you are a woman who is recovering from alcohol addiction and looking to Alcoholics Anonymous.

Benefits of A Women’s AA Meeting

Generally speaking, women face a whole set of societal pressures and expectations that men may not also experience. Women are also more likely to struggle with alcohol due to a relationship with a man and they are more likely to avoid treatment due to judgment or fear that they may face losing their children.

Women’s AA meetings…

  • allow more time to be dedicated to talking about issues most common among women who are alcoholics.
  • create a unique opportunity for women to tell stories that their fellow women are more likely to be able to relate to.
  • foster a space where women can talk about issues and stories that they may not be comfortable sharing among men.

What does “AA Woman” mean?

When looking for an aa meeting near you, there are a number of different acronyms used to identify what type of meeting it is and who is invited to attend. If you are looking for a women-only AA meeting, look at the tags to identify if it is a women’s meeting. The potential tags to identify these meetings are “Women” or “W”. 

Are Trans Women Welcome to Women’s AA Meetings?

Many LGBTQ+ alcoholics feel quite comfortable in any A.A. group. However, there are many unique issues that those who identify as a part of the LGBTQ+ community face. To provide a safe space for these individuals, there are also meetings that are organized specifically for the LBGTQ+ community. 

When looking for a meeting, some of the tags you may find to help you identify these meetings include: 

  • Gay, 
  • LGBTQ, 
  • Lesbian.

Find a Woman’s AA Meeting

10 Sober Activities to Keep You Busy & Sober Throughout The Coronavirus

For individuals in recovery, a routine is important. The recommendations to stay home, practice social distancing, and basically avoid other people where possible can be frustrating and lonely. Social isolation means avoiding group support meetings in addition to other potential changes in one’s day-to-day life. Maybe you are not able to go to work, school, or family gatherings. Although it could be tempting to drink or use drugs while you sit at home, look at this newly found free time in a new light. How many times have you thought “if there were only a little more time in the day?” Any extra time you have is time that you can spend doing all the things that for years you wished you had time to do. 

In case you can’t think of all of the things that you have wanted to do over the years, here are 10 activities that you can do, not only while you are sober, but to help keep you sober. And, no, none of them include Netflix.

1. Read A Book

Is there a book that you have been meaning to read? Now is the perfect time to pick it up. Maybe you were reading a few pages at a time, but now you might actually be able to finish it!

2. Learn A New Skill

Who doesn’t want a new skill? This could be any new skill. Maybe you have been wanting to learn how to knit a sweater, or maybe the skill is to learn how to code. The possibilities are endless! Maybe find an online class, read some articles, or watch a Youtube tutorial to help you along the way.

3. Work on a Business Idea

Many people have an idea for an invention or a business, but simply don’t have the time to create a proper business plan and put it into action. What better time is there than now? This could be the start of a whole new adventure for you, in the best way possible!

4. Clean Your House

Let’s be honest here, at least half of the people who will read this article probably have many chores around the house that need to be done. Fold that laundry! Wash the dishes! Vacuum and mop the floors! You will be surprised how amazing it feels to have a wonderfully clean home. There are no excuses left, the time to clean is now!

5. Perfect a New Recipe

Nutrition plays a huge role in recovery, so why not try and perfect a new recipe. Heck, maybe work through an entire cookbook worth of recipes. This could even be your new skill.

6. Workout

A gym is not necessary to work out. Download some Jillian Michael and get yourself moving! If you have some dumbbells and a yoga matt, then now is the time to take them out. However, all you really need is your own body. Move over the coffee table and stretch in the living room or consider going for a run.

7. Paint a Picture

It doesn’t have to be good, but it could be. Painting is very therapeutic and entertaining. You just might end up with a fun new piece of art to hang on your wall.

8. Start a Blog or Vlog

Individuals in recovery have a lot to offer to those who do not think they are capable of overcoming their addiction. Take your extra time to start a blog or vlog and tell your story. Share what you can and spread words of support and success. 

9. Spend Time Getting To Know Your Roommate or Loved One

If you live with a roommate, family member, or romantic partner, your time and distance from others give you a special opportunity to bond with each other. Talk. Ask questions. Learn something new about one another that you may not have known before. Learn to appreciate each other in a new way. For goodness sake, this is the person you may look back at in 10, 20, 50 years from now as the person you hunkered down with during the Coronavirus outbreak.

10. Work on Your Recovery

Regardless of whether you are in a 12 step program, another recovery program, or not following a specific program at all, this is time that you can spend working on your recovery. Reflect on what you have done and how you are moving forward. Work through your steps. Think about how you will work on rebuilding relationships that may be strained. There is always work to do.


If you are worried about getting supplies for anything listed here, remember that delivery is an option. Just be sure to disinfect anything before you bring it into your home. Maybe you only do one of these activities, maybe you do them all! Just keep your sobriety in focus and keep in contact with your support system. Stay sober and stay safe!