All About Alcoholics Annonymous
Alcoholics Annonymous is a well-known, informal organization that helps alcoholics quit drinking and stay sober. Meetings are held all over the world and vary in the number of individuals who attend. Membership in the group is loosely defined and no membership fees or dues are required.
AA states that its purpose is to help alcoholics get and stay sober. They argue that alcoholics must abstain from alcohol in order to recover from the disease. Members offer each other support during meetings and in other situations by telling their own stories of alcohol use, what helped them quit, and what they have done since then to maintain their sobriety.
Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, both alcoholics themselves, founded the organization in the early twentieth century. Both had sought treatment for their alcoholism and found that sharing their stories with others help both them and the people they told. The organization considers June 10, 1935 the founding date.
In 1939, Alcoholics Annonymous was published, containing the famous 12 steps. The book has been published several times since then. Much of the original book has been maintained, although some of the included stories from alcoholics have been updated.
Members of AA are encouraged to stop drinking, work through the 12 steps, and attend meetings regularly. 90 meetings in 90 days are often encouraged for newcomers so that they can break the habit of alcohol in their lives. Many members also have a sponsor in the program that they can talk to who will offer support and advice to them.
AA is an informal organization with no hierarchical leadership. Members may commit to service within the group for a period of time. Groups are self supporting at the local level and collections are often taken at meetings to help defray costs. Members cannot contribute more than 2,000 dollars to the organization for any given year, but the groups do receive a portion of the proceeds from the sale of AA books and other materials.
Currently, the organization estimates that there are more than 100,000 groups worldwide with over 2,000,000 members. Although AA is not affiliated with any other organizations, they do cooperate with other groups when appropriate.
Alcoholics Annonymous has been helpful for many alcoholics. Although the structure may not work for everyone, groups can offer support for individuals wanting to stop drinking.