Welcome to the forums!
As for the question at hand, I can only share my own experience. I don't know "how it works" for other people.
For me, I wasn't given months to work the steps. I have been given the reprieve of continually practicing them, though. And as the book says....that should continue for a lifetime.
You hear a lot of people say that they knew they weren't alcoholic when they came to AA. You hear a lot of people say that they didn't know if they were alcoholic when they came to AA.
I wasn't in either of those groups.
I knew I was alcoholic. I also knew that there wasn't a damn thing that could be done to help someone like me. I had tried it all. I was hopeless. And I also knew that everybody was lying to me. Heck, nobody stays sober for 25 minutes, let alone 25 years!!! (Notice how many times I used the word "I"??)
I ended up in detox at the local ICU. My husband, an EMT, refused to visit me. My children, who wanted to visit me were unable to as a result. They were told that I was a liar. That delusion was smashed when the bill came, though!!!
A few people visited, though. Those visits came from people I didn't even know. Some crazy AA people that had met me only once or twice at the most. It's impossible to convey to you how much those visits meant. (Even though part of my cynical mind wondered "Don't you people have a life???")
Other than those visits, about the only thing I had with me was my Big Book. The only reason I even bought that Big Book was because some un-informed oldtimer was silly enough to suggest that a working person like myself might need to make payment arrangements for six dollars and fifty cents!!
Anyhoo, since that darned "heart-rate swat team" wouldn't let me get out of bed, I became the over-achiever that Cricket mentions. I took my first Fourth Step in a hospital bed hooked up to heart monitors and IV's. And I did that all by my big self!
I still have it and I gotta say that I didn't do a bad job under the circumstances!!!
I was drunk off my butt three days later. Then I made it nine days. Then I made it six.....and so on.
A lot of people stuck by my side, even though I didn't realize it at the time. And finally one of those people said to me something to effect of .....It's great that you are reading....keep reading. And it's great that you are coming to meetings.....keep coming back. And it's great that you did step four....that shows that you want it.
Step four isn't going to work until you've done steps one through three. And then..... they had the audacity to ask if I was aware that there were eight other steps to take! You ready yet? Okay, then let's get down to business.....now.
And I don't know about all of you, but I found Step five to be much harder than Step four. Writing it down and admitting something to myself that I already knew and admitting to God something that He already knew ......yeah, that was hard. But not near as hard as being honest with another human being!!!! And that is probably the only time I've gotten to bring up "issues".
If I were to try bringing up "issues" at a meeting.....I'd be told to save some money and buy the subscription! That or "Buy some new shoes!"
Thanks for letting me share. I'll try to be a little less winded next time.
Take Care All,