Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of individuals who share their experiences, strength, and hope with each other to overcome alcoholism and achieve and maintain sobriety.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings provide a haven for people who have felt the impact of alcohol addiction to share their experiences and sobriety journey with others. The members build each other up and form a support system to help achieve and maintain long-term sobriety while teaching the importance of self-care and providing support when needed. The 12-step meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous are designed to provide ongoing support to change the destructive and compulsive behaviors that fuel the addict’s addiction. Alcoholics Anonymous was established to help people learn coping skills to maintain sobriety and continue recovery; there are AA meetings every day of the week in some geographical locations.

The Purpose of the 12 Steps

The goal of the 12 steps is to help bring attention to alcohol abuse and guide the person with an addiction to full recovery “one day at a time.” The purpose of 12 steps plays a significant role in determining recovery and:

  • Learn skills and knowledge from others

  • Develop supportive community

  • To overcome denial

  • Understand root causes

  • Recognize harmful impacts

  • Develop faith and hope

  • Develop the confidence to recover

  • Help others through mentoring and support.

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Each of the 12 steps is a meditation where recovering from addiction becomes a way of life. Different types of meetings exist to provide access to a supportive community. Each member may be at a different stage of recovery as they work the 12 steps. There is even a commemoration of “time sober,” as celebrated by the awarding of chips. These chips represent different lengths of time and provide tangible recognition of the challenges they overcame.

The 12 Steps

As found on the Alcoholics Anonymous official website, the 12 steps are:

  • We were acknowledging our powerlessness over alcohol and recognizing that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • It is believing in a higher power’s ability to restore us to sanity.
  • We were choosing to entrust our will and lives to the care of a God as we understood Him.
  • We are conducting a thorough and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Admitting to God, ourselves, and another person the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • He is fully prepared to let God eliminate our character defects.
  • I humbly request Him to remove our shortcomings.
  • Compiling a list of individuals we had harmed and being willing to make amends to them all.
  • Making direct amends to those we harmed, except when doing so might cause further harm.
  • We should continue to self-reflect and promptly admit when we are wrong.
  • We are utilizing prayer and meditation to enhance our connection with our higher power, praying for guidance and the strength to follow it.
  • We’re undergoing a spiritual awakening, embracing newfound insights, and sharing them with those battling alcoholism. We’re committed to practicing these principles in all aspects of our lives.

AA and Spirituality

A spiritual transformation occurs as one walks the 12 steps; people develop a stronger sense of hope and possibility by sharing personal stories and influencing the supportive community. By attending meetings, even online meetings, members can appreciate a supportive philosophy through the fellowship of its members.

Based on spiritual principles that help foster the person’s strength, AA seeks to manage the members’ emotional health and ability to stay in recovery.

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Signs of Addiction

Because we mainly consider alcoholism and other addictions a diagnosable medical condition, there are written telltale signs that someone is experiencing an addiction, including:

  • Using drugs or alcohol alone

  • Physical changes

  • Justification of the substance use

  • Refusal to admit a problem

  • Mood swings

  • Aggression

  • Secretive behavior

  • Reckless decision making

  • Desperation to use

  • Strained relationships

  • Changes in routine

  • Blackouts or overdoses

Types of Meetings

As Alcoholics Anonymous has radiated its effect into the communities, numerous versions of daily or weekly meetings serve the variety of its members. Even online AA meetings are effective and safe during these times when addiction can be at its worst; basic meetings include: 

“Closed” For members in a specific group of recovering addicts.

“Open” Anyone can attend, share with others, study, and observe.

“Step meetings” Celebrate recovery steps by commemorating progress through “chips” that mark the length of time sober.

“Discussion meetings” are Either speaker-based, where 1 or 2 members share at length to the group or as a group to share personal stories as much as comfortable. There are readings from the Big Book, the official text of the Twelve Steps and Traditions. Emotional health support is given to one another by not commenting but rather disclosing.

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