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What Is AA?

Definition of AA

Alcoholism, or alcohol addiction, is defined as a compulsive need for alcoholic beverages such as beer, liquor or wine. Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is a worldwide organization, from all walks of life, who meet regularly in order to attain and then maintain sobriety from an alcohol addiction. AA says that its primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety. This is a voluntary organization with no fees or other membership dues. The only requirement to be a member in AA is to stop drinking. The AA program is credited with helping thousands of alcoholics achieve sobriety and maintain it over the long term.

History of AA

AA was founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith. These recovering alcoholics wanted to develop a simple program to help even the worst alcoholics, from all walks of life. Their idea was to empathize with alcoholics and convince them that they could not overcome their addiction simply by themselves. Wilson and Smith believed that alcoholics must surrender their lives to a higher power and work together with another alcoholic to achieve recovery and lasting sobriety.

Several years later, the pair wrote a book called “Alcoholics Anonymous” which outlined the basic structure and steps of their plan. This book became the central text for the AA program and became the guide on how to get sober over the long term. The title of this book is where the name of the group originated.

Process Used by AA

Recovered Alcoholics in AA urge new members to stay away from alcohol one day at a time. This line of thinking is much less overwhelming than thinking about swearing off drinking forever or worrying about tomorrow or the next week. Alcoholics are encouraged to just try to remain sober for one today at a time, starting with today. AA’s entire treatment philosophy is based around a 12 step program they titles the 12 Step Program to Recovery. These Steps to Recovery help guide alcoholics through each stage of the recovery process with actions that can help them achieve and maintain long lasting sobriety..

Finding an Alcoholics Anonymous Group

If you or someone you know is an alcoholic, help is available. AA currently has more than 2 million members with groups in almost every area of the world. To find an AA group near you, you can visit for a list of meeting resources sorted by state.

Additionally, many local AA groups have their own websites. If you do an internet search for Alcoholics Anonymous along with the city you are in, you will most likely be able to find a meeting nearby. Many groups also have on-line meetings and forums and will even contact you confidentially through email. If you are currently suffering from a drinking problem, do not hesitate to contact someone at AA right away. Admitting that there is a problem is the first step toward recovery and a return to a full, productive life.

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