All About Alcoholics Anonymous
In 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded by recovering alcoholics, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. It was formed to create a community-based organization to encourage sobriety and support other recovering alcoholics.
The Format of AA Meetings
Some members may choose to sponsor a new attendee. A sponsor is a recovering alcoholic and member of AA who has made good progress in their recovery program. They will then share their experience on a private, continuous basis with another alcoholic who is trying to maintain sobriety through AA attendance.
Closed vs. Open AA Meetings
The 12 Steps
The 12 Steps, as defined by Alcoholics Anonymous, are:
- We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
- Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
- Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
- Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character
- Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Made a list of persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
- Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
- Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
- Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- 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.
The 12 Traditions
The 12 Traditions, as defined by the AA, are:
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
- For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority, a loving God, as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
- Each group has but one primary purpose–to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
- An AA group ought never to endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities
How Effective is AA
AA offers support, accountability, encouragement, and a sense of community for people who want to overcome their alcohol addiction. The sponsorship model and the regular meeting times have helped innumerable people stay clean.