What is Alcoholics Anonymous? Definition, Meetings & Steps

As time goes on, most people find great healing and therapy through the open and honest discussions these meetings provide. Founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous began as a community-based fellowship to encourage sobriety for other recovering alcoholics. The pair developed the 12 steps to govern AA meetings, and later introduced the 12 traditions to help further define the group’s purpose. Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of people who help each other to stay sober.

what is aa

For a while, Dr. Smith and Wilson worked under the umbrella of the Oxford Group. However, they were often criticized for their practices. By 1937, they broke away from the Oxford Group and started AA. Although Dr. Smith and Wilson kept several elements of the Oxford group, such as holding informal gatherings, going through steps and working for no income, they made many changes. The addition of AA steps, meetings and sponsors has helped the organization become recognizable as an effective support group to millions of people worldwide. Clearly, faith-based programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous are not for everyone. Although millions of people claim to have found lasting recovery in AA, the spiritual aspect of the program can be a stumbling block for some who wish to stop drinking.


Some AA members gain a sense of purpose by showing up to meetings early and making coffee for everyone. Other members do service by sponsoring newcomers, sharing their story, or delving deeper into the spiritual aspects of the program. Fun and friendship are a huge part of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA meetings are a great place to meet and socialize with others who are on the same journey.

what is aa

Despite four decades of AA research, no clear picture has emerged as to which patient characteristics can predict a positive outcome with AA and, therefore, can be used as criteria for matching patients to AA. This is due in part to the limitations and variability of methodological approaches used in the studies. Most investigators recruit their samples from patients in inpatient or outpatient treatment settings. Some studies retrospectively analyze patients with previous AA experience to identify personal characteristics that predicted AA involvement. In other studies, patients are monitored after professional treatment to determine which characteristics may motivate them to join AA and how AA affiliation influences outcome.

Phrases Containing aa

Experience to answer 34 questions likely to be asked by persons seeking sponsors, persons wanting to be sponsors, and groups planning sponsorship activity. A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in nature, which, if practiced https://ecosoberhouse.com/ as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole. A treatment facility paid to have their center promoted here. Learn more about how to be featured in a paid listing.

what is aa

A child of an alcoholic parent will not automatically develop alcoholism. A person with no family history of alcoholism can become alcohol dependent. One “yes” answer suggests a possible alcohol problem. More than one “yes” answer means it is highly likely that a problem exists. If you think that you or someone you know might have an alcohol problem, it is important to see a doctor or other health provider right away. He or she can determine whether a drinking problem exists and, if so, suggest the best course of action.

What AA Does

Open Discussion – Group members select a topic and share their recovery experience relating to that topic. Topics include the first step, gratitude in recovery or helping others. The 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are designed to challenge the out-of-control thoughts and behaviors that drive addiction.

Finding a purpose outside of yourself to believe in takes you out of the cycle of meaninglessness. AA doesn’t require any specific religious beliefs or even a belief in God. People from all religions and beliefs get sober in AA, and there are plenty of non-religious AA members. Regardless of the format, feel free to just sit and listen. Someone may invite you to share, but you won’t ever be forced to participate or say anything. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

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  • Program, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
  • Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of people who help each other to stay sober.
  • She learns that AA was first started in 1935 with the primary goal to help alcoholics achieve sobriety, the act of abstaining from alcohol.

Others stay and clean up and still more talk about how to stay sober and live meaningful lives. Carol’s past experience in the medical field has led to a deep knowledge of the struggles those with a substance use disorder face. She is passionate about helping people who are struggling with alcohol abuse and addiction and hopes her writing for Alcohol Rehab Guide can help. A typical AA meeting is a topic discussion meeting.

Translations of AA

This organizational structure has been tremendously successful for AA and its more than two million members. Annually, AA continues to increase its number of chapters around the world and currently has more than 100,000 groups. Alcoholics Anonymous is the largest and oldest alcohol support group in the world. The organization is dedicated helping members overcome alcoholism. Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. According to AA traditions, the only qualification for membership is a desire to stop drinking.

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