Alcoholics Anonymous is a program that helps people overcome alcoholism through admitting their faults, correcting their mistakes, and empowering themselves spiritually. AA members go through a sequence of 12 steps to recover from alcoholism. These steps are as follows:
- Admitting that alcohol has power over you and has made your life unmanageable
- Believing that a higher power can restore your health and sanity
- Deciding to turn your life and decisions over to God, or whatever higher power you believe in
- Taking moral inventory by recognizing your flaws and how they have affected you and those around you
- Admitting your wrongs to God, yourself and another person
- Readying yourself to allow God to remove your character defects
- Humbly asking God to remove your shortcomings
- Making a list of everyone you have harmed and being willing to make things right with them all
- Wherever possible, making amends with those people you have harmed
- Continuing to take moral inventory of yourself and admitting when you are wrong
- Praying and meditating to know the will of God for you and asking for the power to carry out that will
- Carrying this recovery message to other alcoholics and continuing to practice these principles
Alcoholics Anonymous members do not go through this 12-step program alone. They meet regularly with other members to discuss their progress and encourage each other. If you or someone you know could benefit from this program, call 1-888-287-0471 to find meetings in your area.
Did You Know?New members of Alcoholics Anonymous are encouraged to attend 90 meetings in the first 90 days of their membership. While this may seem like overkill, it actually helps new members become totally immersed in this new way of life.
Types of AA Meetings
There are different kinds of AA meeting groups you can attend, including open, closed, all male, all female, small and large. Open meeting groups welcome family and friends of alcoholics, so choose an open group if you want someone there for moral support. Closed groups do not allow anybody who does not consider himself or herself an alcoholic, so choose a closed group if you want more privacy. There are even different meetings for different age groups. Because of this, you can be sure to find a group with which you will feel comfortable.
“There are discussion meetings, big book study meetings, step study meetings, and speaker meetings.”Alcoholics Anonymous groups also offer different types of meetings within the group you choose. There are discussion meetings, big book study meetings, step study meetings, and speaker meetings. In discussion meetings, the leader introduces a topic and the members discuss it. Members are asked to keep their comments under three minutes and be respectful to others who are commenting.
Big book meetings and step study meetings occur when the members read and study from the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous and the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions book, respectively. Each of these books was written by one of the cofounders of AA. The members may take turns reading excerpts from the books and discussing the concepts between them.
In speaker meetings, a speaker is asked in advance to prepare something. These speakers tell the group about their struggles with alcoholism and how they have learned to cope with it. Sometimes, speaker meetings are combined with discussion meetings so the group can discuss the themes the speaker brought up after he or she is finished talking.
Did You Know?Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held at local churches or at AA club houses. Club houses have meetings throughout the day so anybody who needs to can conveniently attend.
The Danger of Alcoholism
Alcoholism is the third greatest cause of death in the United States, after cancer and heart disease. Alcoholics don’t just harm themselves either. The effects of alcoholism spread to the family and friends of alcoholics. Because of this, it is important to get treatment if you suffer from alcoholism. There are no specific requirements to become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. While it may seem like a Christian organization, AA does not require a specific belief system for membership. Anybody of any belief system may join to improve his or her mental and physical health.