Some Alcoholics Anonymous groups use plastic poker chips instead of metallic coins. The color codes are different, but the chip system works in the same way. AA members earn chips corresponding with sober time until one year of sobriety. The book and the program quickly spread across the United States and internationally. Recent estimates suggest that there are over 2 million Alcoholics Anonymous members worldwide.

The only way to find out is to give it a try and see for yourself if you think the help and support from others struggling with the same problem will help you stay sober. AA has no dues or fees, so it won’t cost you anything to visit a meeting. The effect of AA can be best seen when a correct “dose” is given, typically 90 meetings in 90 days. A new study published in the Cochrane Library found that AA and 12-step groups can lead to higher rates of continuous abstinence over months and years, when compared to treatment approaches like cognitive behavioral therapy.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it. For more information on how to access safe and effective treatment options. Though the fellowship has been around for more than eight decades, researchers have only recently developed good methods to measure its effectiveness, Humphreys said.

  • It is likely the key ingredient in 12-step groups is the peer support, rather than the 12 steps themselves.
  • Some clients may be more attracted and responsive to specific group characteristics than others.
  • Many of the results are published by the “fellowship”, as the 12-step movement refers to itself.
  • People are genuinely happy to be there because they enjoy it, and it helps them stay sober.
  • The 12-step movement took a step beyond the moral view and introduced the idea alcohol and other drug problems were a health issue by framing the problem as a disease.
  • Although general conventions meet periodically and Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., is headquartered in New York City, all AA groups are essentially local and autonomous.

The research also found that AA was effective at helping agnostics and atheists become sober. The authors concluded that though spirituality was an important mechanism of behavioral change for some alcoholics, it was not the only effective mechanism. There are online resources listing AA meetings for atheists and agnostics. Open meetings, like the one Jane is currently attending, are held for anyone who struggles with alcohol addiction or is close to someone with alcohol addiction. During these meetings participants are encouraged to share their experiences related to alcoholism and talk about how the program has changed their lives.


Permission to reprint the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions does not mean that Alcoholics Anonymous World Service has reviewed What is Alcoholics Anonymous or approved the contents of this publication. Alcoholics Anonymous is a program of recovery from alcoholism only.

To counteract self-indulgence and promote the group’s welfare, members identify themselves only by first name and surname initial. Much of the program has a social and spiritual, but nonsectarian, basis. At the end of the open meeting, Jane is approached by a senior member who invites her to a closed meeting. Closed meetings have the same objective as open meetings, however, only people who struggle with alcohol themselves may attend and participate. Family members, friends, and significant others who do not have issues with sobriety are not allowed to participate.

Membership retention

Primary care physicians should be aware of the AA groups in their geographic area and also should know their patients’ sobriety anniversaries in order to be supportive and to acknowledge their accomplishments in the recovery process. Several concepts used in AA add to the success of the program, including sponsorship, anniversaries, and social support. A new member of AA is mentored by another member, a sponsor, who is usually of the same gender and has been active in AA for a minimum of 1 year. New members are encouraged to contact their sponsors when they are considering drinking or are having difficulties with sobriety. This system of social support and mentoring has been shown to be beneficial both to the new member and to the sponsor.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities. 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. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity. 10 Ways To Help An Alcoholic Family MemberEven though things may seem helpless, they aren’t. There are many ways that you can help an alcoholic family member.

Alcoholics Anonymous: Still Sober After 75 Years

Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide organization designed to help former alcoholics support one another throughout their recovery journey while maintaining their sobriety. The organization was founded in 1935 by Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson in Akron, Ohio. Today, AA groups can be found in cities across the United States and around the world. Meetings are open to people of all races, ages, and genders, including the family members of recovering alcoholics. David embarked on his journey into sobriety in June of 2005, which led him to his current career path as a Certified Professional Addiction Recovery Coach in private practice in Greater Nashville. David is cohost of the weekly Positive Sobriety Podcast, as well as being a frequent contributor to various articles and recovery based materials. In 1939, High Watch Recovery Center in Kent, Connecticut, was founded by Bill Wilson and Marty Mann.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous

She establishes a sponsor, or a mentor, to help keep her accountable to her new commitment. She frequently reads the Twelve Step book and begins the difficult journey of conquering each step, despite the emotional challenges she may face in doing so. This is when her colleagues tell Jane about the Alcoholics Anonymous program. They explain that Alcoholics Anonymous , is a confidential group that exists to provide support to people trying to overcome their battle with alcohol addiction.

AA receives proceeds from books and literature that constitute more than 50% of the income for its General Service Office. In keeping with AA’s Seventh Tradition, the Central Office is fully self-supporting through the sale of literature and related products, and the voluntary donations of AA members and groups. It does not accept donations from people or organizations outside of AA. Ever since he got convicted of drunk driving he’s beein going to Alcoholics Anonymous meetings twice a day, and become insufferable. Contributions to the Central Florida Intergroup support services to our members and groups throughout Central Florida and help ensure that the A.A. In keeping with our Seventh Tradition, we ask that you only contribute if you are a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. One of the other criticisms of 12-step groups is that the drop out is quite high – estimated at around 40% in the first year.

  • An alcoholism support and recovery organization for members whose purpose is to stay sober and help others recover from alcohol use disorder.
  • To determine which drinkers were most likely to join AA, Emrick and colleagues reviewed 33 studies1 that addressed this question, analyzing 31 demographic and drinking-related client characteristics.
  • Subsequent fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous have adopted and adapted the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to their respective primary purposes.
  • Call your local number for information on meetings in your area.
  • “Yes, I belong to Alcoholics Anonymous. No one at the bar I frequent knows who anyone else is.” We don’t talk while we drink, and therefore remain anonymous.

In 2014, Vaillant published a paper making the case that Alcoholics Anonymous is not a cult. “Thirteenth-stepping” is a pejorative term for AA members approaching new members for dates. A study in the Journal of Addiction Nursing sampled 55 women in AA and found that 35% of these women had experienced a “pass” and 29% had felt seduced at least once in AA settings. This has also happened with new male members who received guidance from older female AA members pursuing sexual company. The authors suggest that both men and women must be prepared for this behavior or find male or female-only groups. Women-only meetings are a very prevalent part of AA culture, and AA has become more welcoming for women.

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