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. The person leading the meeting chooses a topic and members to take turns sharing their experience on the topic. Some AA meetings are designated for a specific purpose, such as 12-step study groups or beginners’ meetings designed to teach newcomers about the basics of the program. If you or a loved one is ready to overcome an alcohol addiction, reach out today.

what is alcoholics anonymous

AA groups serve specific populations, such as racial or ethnic groups, gays, and lesbians, as well as specific professions, such as doctors, nurses, and other health care providers. Approximately https://ecosoberhouse.com/article/what-is-alcoholics-anonymous/ 100,000 AA groups in nearly 150 countries now serve millions of members. Meetings generally begin with reading of the AA preamble and end with reading of the serenity prayer.

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We may receive advertising fees if you follow links to promoted online therapy websites. When matching clients to AA, differences between individual AA groups also may need to be considered. A study by Montgomery and colleagues (1993) found that AA groups vary in their social structure and their characteristics, such as perceived cohesiveness, aggressiveness, and expressiveness. Some clients may be more attracted and responsive to specific group characteristics than others. Consequently, it may not be realistic to expect to find general predictors of affiliation and outcome with AA. If you repeatedly drink more than you intend or want to, you may be an alcoholic.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous and how does it work?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of men and women who gather at informal meetings and follow certain principles that are designed to help people live sober without the need to use alcohol or drugs.

The American approach to treatment for drinking problems has roots in the country’s long-standing love-hate relationship with booze. The first settlers arrived with a great thirst for whiskey and hard cider, and in the early days of the republic, alcohol was one of the few beverages that was reliably safe from contamination. (It was also cheaper than coffee or tea.) The historian W. J. Rorabaugh has estimated that between the 1770s and 1830s, the average American over age 15 consumed at least five gallons of pure alcohol a year—the rough equivalent of three shots of hard liquor a day.

Your General Service Office (G.S.O.), the Grapevine and the General Service Structure

Bob,” and other early AA founders formulated the Twelve Steps of AA (Alcoholics Anonymous, 1984). These steps, along with the AA “Big Book,” constitute the content and philosophy out of which AA predicates its program of recovery. Several other 12-step programs use models similar to that of AA, including Narcotics Anonymous (NA), Cocaine Anonymous, and Al-Anon. Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) has helped millions of people in their approach to recovery from alcoholism worldwide since it began in 1935. The AA program of recovery is spiritually based, with frequent meetings, mentoring, and social support.

  • The 12 traditions of AA were intended to stabilize the program and keep it freed from outside influences.
  • 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.
  • For nearly 80 years, the community of Alcoholics Anonymous has provided much-needed support and healing for recovering alcoholics.
  • Therefore, the women would not have to rely on AA to serve as their sole source of treatment for both alcohol-related and psychiatric problems.

Those most likely to affiliate with AA have more severe alcohol problems, more concern about their drinking, and a history of using external supports to cope with problems. Research has documented a significant correlation between AA attendance and successful outcomes. Those more involved with the AA program tend to do best. Research has not demonstrated that AA is more effective than other approaches to recovery from drinking problems. Techniques of Alcoholics Anonymous have been scientifically studied in research funded by the National Institutes Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse.

Clinics & Services

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. 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. As well as AA, there are also alternative interventions based on 12-step type programmes, some self-help and some professionally-led. AA and other 12-step approaches are typically based on the assumption that substance dependence is a spiritual and a medical disease.

  • The group is non-political, multiracial, self-supporting, non-professional and is available almost anywhere.
  • The fellowship itself has been, until recently, cautious about allowing interviews or data to be collected by researchers.
  • Therapeutic processing of early self-help group experience is extremely valuable.
  • Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of people who have had a drinking problem.
  • Started drinking at 15, when he and a friend experimented in his parents’ liquor cabinet.

It’s called 12-step facilitation therapy and is delivered by trained treatment professionals. It shouldn’t be confused with AA, which is a self-help program, rather than being therapist-led. A new type of therapy, with the goal of getting people engaged in 12 step programs and reduce drop out, was developed in the 1990s as part of a large research project. From what we do know, success at maintaining abstinence is fairly low, even according to the fellowship’s own data. One AA study found only 27% of participants were alcohol-free for up to a year (73% relapse rate) and only 13% maintained abstinence for more than five years.

There may be others who interject and support or share their story, or provide advice for others’ knowledge. AA understands some people may not feel comfortable sharing intimate details during their first visit. As time goes on, most people find great healing and therapy through the open and honest discussions these meetings provide.

  • We are people who have discovered and admitted that we cannot control alcohol.
  • According to a 2014 AA membership survey, 27% of members have been sober less than a year.
  • It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere.

How they’ll make those decisions is a matter of ongoing discussion. The Sobells returned to the United States in the mid-1990s to teach and conduct research at Nova Southeastern University, in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Like Willenbring in Minnesota, they are among a small number of researchers and clinicians, mostly in large cities, who help some patients learn to drink in moderation. Another self-help group, Narcotics Anony-mous, is composed of individuals who are recovering from dependency on drugs. Most of the studies that measured abstinence found AA was significantly better than other interventions or no intervention. Alcoholics Anonymous, the worldwide fellowship of sobriety seekers, is the most effective path to abstinence, according to a comprehensive analysis conducted by a Stanford School of Medicine researcher and his collaborators.

And although people who have alcohol or other drug problems do sometimes have significant cognitive deficits they generally occur after alcohol and other drug use begins, and they are usually temporary. The first step requires admitting you have a problem and need help overcoming it. Because of the popularity of the 12 Steps, other groups began to surface–Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and several other variations, each representing 12 Steps or a different version of it. Additionally, 12 Step programs allow for self reflection and growth in order to change for the better. Join the thousands of people that have called a treatment provider for rehab information. Alcoholics Anonymous or known as “AA” is a community of men and women who have a drinking problem and has been around for over 80 years to act as a support system.

what is alcoholics anonymous

Therapeutic processing of early self-help group experience is extremely valuable. Hospitals, outpatient clinics, and rehab centers use the 12 steps as the basis for treatment. But although few people seem to realize it, there are alternatives, including prescription drugs and therapies that aim to help patients learn to drink in moderation.