Inside Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide, non-profit organization. It is a support group for people with alcoholism. Members are asked to donate to help with expenses but are optional. It has kept it out of controversy because it does not have any opinions on outside issues.
It is a fellowship of men and women supporting each other in their quest for maintaining sobriety. The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for being a member. It does not have any opinions on outside issues. Their primary purpose is for members to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
- Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith founded it on June 10, 1935.
It was the outcome of a meeting between the two founders, Bill W. and Dr. Bob Smith. Bill had attained sobriety and maintained it by helping other alcoholics while Dr. Bob had not found sobriety yet. When the two met, Bill affected Dr. Bob. He emphasized that alcoholism was a malady on one’s body, emotions, and mind. With Bill’s clear ideas, Dr. Bob got sober and never drunk again. The two started working with other alcoholics, and Alcoholics Anonymous was born.
- The first name was The Way Out.
- It’s grown in size and popularity from 100 members in 1939 to over 2 million members worldwide.
- It has been instrumental in helping millions of alcoholics find long-term sobriety.
- No other program or treatment has ever had as much success with overcoming alcoholism.
- It is a fellowship of both women and men who share their experience, hope, and strength with one another.
The fellowship’s goal is to solve a common alcohol problem by help each other recover. Its sole concern is personal recovery. Members must preserve anonymity.
Identities are kept confidential.
- It involves a 12 step process of character and spiritual development.
The 12 Steps are the core of recovery. The steps help members learn how to live a clean and sober lifestyle. They ask a member to grow spiritually gradually. The 12 Steps come from the original Oxford Group, the predecessor organization.
These Steps are a spiritual development process, starting with admitting powerlessness over alcohol and that the alcoholic’s life had become unmanageable.
- The Big Book is the primary textbook of AA.
It includes stories of how many women and men have recovered from alcoholism. Bill Wilson and other members of the early fellowship wrote the Big Book. It is referred to as the big book because of its thickness in 1939. The goal of the book is to help the reader understand the disease of alcoholism.
AA meetings are informal and try to help newcomers feel welcome. No appointment, fee, or sign-in is required. There are no obligations from members or intrusive questions. The meeting consists of various members telling their stories, but they can decline if one is not comfortable talking.
There are speaker meetings where members tell their stories. Also, there are step meetings where they discuss the 12 Step program in detail.
Members respect each other’s privacy and anonymity. There is no demand that you come back for the meetings, and you can go to as many meetings and as often as you wish.
Lately, more and more people are using the zoom online meeting platform.
Online meetings come in a variety of formats like the traditional in face meetings. Many of them have regular schedules, but others post whenever they have a burning desire to share. Online sessions are supplements for face-to-face meetings.
Membership in the US
Number of Groups: 59,565
Estimated Membership: 1,296,037
Number of Groups: 5,129
Estimated Membership: 712,949
Number of Groups: 115,358
Estimated Membership: 2,138,421