Can you be forced to attend AA?

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Alcoholics Anonymous also referred to as AA, is an international fellowship of men and women who self-identify as having a drinking problem. According to Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. it is “nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.” Bill W. and Dr. Bob founded AA in 1935 in Akron, Ohio. The Alcoholics Anonymous program is divided into twelve steps. Each of the twelve steps builds upon each other and is individually and as a whole, intended to help people foster and cultivate the ability to lead a satisfying life without alcohol. The AA program is carried out through support group meetings (AA meetings) and individual peer-mentorship (sponsors). Approximately seventy-five percent of treatment centers in the United States are twelve-step based.

Court-Mandated AA

Yes, there are certain situations where an individual could be court-ordered to attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. A court-mandated to attend AA meetings may be due to a drunk-driving conviction, or as is explained by Verywell Mind “for other alcohol-related convictions, as well as certain domestic violence situations.” When an individual is legally accused of committing a crime, he or she must go to court to determine innocence or guilt. During the court process, a variety of punishments may be considered, including diversion programs (alternatives to incarceration). Common examples of diversion programs an individual may receive include:

  • Attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings
  • Entering a drug and/ or alcohol rehabilitation facility
  • Participating in an alternative support group program that is like AA

In situations where the individual is found guilty, court-ordered diversion programs could be mandated when the judge deems the individual as a good candidate for this type of sentencing. Alternatively, the individual’s attorney could negotiate an agreement with the prosecutor that includes a court-ordered diversion program. Contributing factors such as the jurisdiction, the circumstances surrounding the crime, the severity of one’s addiction, any prior legal complications, as well as the judge’s discretion will all inform the specifics of the court-mandated diversion program. 

For Information and Support 

If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding substance abuse and/ or addiction, we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. If left untreated, substance abuse can result in long-lasting and potentially life-threatening consequences. Keep in mind: you are not alone! There is an entire network of professionals that are available to help and support you and your loved one throughout the recovery process. The earlier you seek support, the sooner your loved one can return to a happy, healthy, and fulfilling life.

Please do not hesitate to reach out with any questions regarding our specific program at Haven House Addiction Treatment and/ or general substance abuse and/ or addiction treatment-related information. Our highly trained staff is readily available to discuss how we might best be able to help you and your loved one. We can be reached by phone at 424-318-3777. You are also welcome to contact anytime us via email at 

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