Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
 

AA is an informal society of more than 2 million recovering alcoholics throughout the world.  Meetings range in size from a handful in some localities to a hundred or more in larger communities.

AA is nonprofessional – it doesn't have clinics, doctors, counselors or psychologists. All members are themselves recovering from alcoholism. There is no central authority controlling how AA groups operate. It is up to the members of each group to decide what they do. However, the AA program of recovery has proved to be so successful that almost every group follows it in very similar ways.

AA is not a religious organization nor is it affiliated with any religious body. It welcomes members of all religions, agnostics and atheists alike. You don't have to sign up or achieve anything to be a member. You're a member of a group if you choose to be. You can come and go as you please. No one is "in charge" of a group. We work through the offer of help and suggestion only. No one can tell you what you should or shouldn't do.

AA works through members telling their stories of what we used to be like, what happened and what we are like now. The AA program, known as The Twelve Steps, provides a framework for self-examination and a road to recovery, free of alcohol.

 

What AA does not do

Singleness of purpose and problems other than alcohol

AA does not:

  1. Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover
  2. Solicit members
  3. Engage in or sponsor research
  4. Keep attendance records or case histories
  5. Join "councils" of social agencies
  6. Follow up or try to control its members
  7. Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses
  8. Provide drying-out or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment
  9. Offer religious services
  10. Engage in education about alcohol
  11. Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money or any other welfare or social services
  12. Provide domestic or vocational counselling
  13. Accept any money for its services, or any contributions from non-AA sources
  14. Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.

Alcoholism and drug addiction are often referred to as "substance abuse" or "chemical dependency." Alcoholics and non-alcoholics are, therefore, sometimes introduced to AA and encouraged to attend AA meetings. Anyone may attend open AA meetings. But only those with a drinking problem may attend closed meetings or become AA members. People with problems other than alcoholism are eligible for AA membership only if they have a drinking problem.

Dr. Vincent Dole, a pioneer in methadone treatment in the US for heroin addicts and for several years a trustee on the US General Service Board of AA, made the following statement: "The source of strength in AA is its single-mindedness. The mission of AA is to help alcoholics. AA limits what it is demanding of itself and its associates, and its success lies in its limited target. To believe that the process that is successful in one line guarantees success for another would be a very serious mistake." Consequently, we welcome the opportunity to share AA experience with those who would like to develop Twelve Step/Twelve Tradition programs for the nonalcoholic addict by using AA methods.

 

Going to an AA meeting is simple. You find out where and when there is a meeting convenient for you and you just turn up. That's it. There's no signing in, no money to pay, no appointment to make. There are no intrusive questions, no obligations. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected. You’ll never be met with a demand to come back to any meeting or indeed to AA. You can go to different meetings as often or as little as you wish.

Many of us had no idea what to expect of our first meeting. For some of us the idea was quite scary, so we were greatly relieved to find that our fears were groundless. AA meetings are relaxed, friendly and open.

Here are some issues a lot of us worried about before coming to our first AA meeting:

12 Step

Will I be asked a lot of questions?

No, it's not like going to a doctor or a health clinic. AA meetings are very informal. Just take a seat and listen to the stories members will tell about their drinking and their recovery. You can talk to people if you want to or just keep to yourself until you feel more comfortable.

Do I have to "sign up"?

No. There's nothing to sign. If, at some stage you want to join a particular group you just say so. If you don't want to join any group, that's okay too. No one should tell you what to do about your drinking. If you want to keep drinking that's your business. We just suggest that, if you want to stop drinking, you try doing what we did.

How much will it cost?

There is no charge for attending an AA meeting. Usually a collection is taken at the end of each meeting to cover the costs of renting the hall and providing refreshments. Only AA members can contribute. There's no obligation but most people put in a dollar or two.

Do I have to get up and speak in front of people?

The meeting will consist of members telling their stories but if anyone isn't in the mood to talk, it's fine to decline. You may be invited to speak but it's quite okay if you don't want to.

Is AA a religious organization?

No. Quite a few AA meetings are held in church halls but that's only because they're convenient and affordable venues. AA groups are in no way affiliated with the churches or other organizations whose meeting rooms we rent. The AA program is certainly a spiritual one, but what that means is left up to the individual to decide.

What type of meetings are there?

By far the most common type of AA meeting is called an ID meeting. Members just tell their stories of what they were like, what happened and what life is like for them now. There are also Steps meetings where AA's 12-Step program of recovery is discussed in detail. There are also various other types of discussion meetings.

What are closed or open meetings?

Most AA meetings are "open". That is, anyone is welcome to attend. "Closed" meetings are for AA members or people who are new to AA who want to stop drinking. How many people are at a meeting? This varies greatly. In cities, a typical meeting might have ten to twenty members. Some big meetings might have 50 or more. Some have only a handful. In remote areas some meetings might have only two or three members.

Who goes to AA meetings?

You'll find all sorts of people at AA meetings. Men, women, young, old, well off and not well off.

The heart of the suggested program of personal recovery is contained in Twelve Steps describing the experience of the earliest members of the Society:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.

People who are new to AA are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so.

They will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving sobriety, and to read AA literature describing and interpreting the AA program.

AA members will usually emphasize to people who are new to AA that only problem drinkers themselves, individually, can determine whether or not they are in fact alcoholics.

At the same time, it will be pointed out that all available medical testimony indicates that alcoholism is a progressive illness, that it cannot be cured in the ordinary sense of the term, but that it can be arrested through total abstinence from alcohol in any form.

Call your parish office for more information or visit Alcoholics Anonymous website http://www.aa.org/
Powered byEMF Form Builder