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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is the originator of the 12-step program. It is a therapeutic treatment option for those with alcohol substance use disorder.
Alcoholics Anonymous is based on twelve traditions focused on spiritual progress.
A.A. World Services, Inc was founded in 1935 by Dr. Bob Smith and Bill Wilson. Sister Mary Ignatia joined later on.
Together, they worked to create a simple program that encourages:
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) was founded in 1955. It helps people suffering from all addictions and substance abuse disorders, including drug abuse and gambling. They use the same twelve steps for their program.
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AA meetings follow the same overall format but there are minor differences between AA groups.
The overall format is:
The Introduction: The speaker will introduce themselves and declare themselves an alcoholic.
The Serenity Prayer: The speaker will lead the group in reciting the serenity prayer.
The Mission Statement: The speaker goes over the rules and viewpoints of AA. Namely, that the only requirement for AA membership is a desire to quit drinking. AA is also entirely neutral and as such neither opposes or endorses any political or cultural viewpoint. The singular focus of AA groups is to help alcoholics stop drinking.
The Big Book: A member of the group will be chosen to read chapter 5 from The Big Book; a manual written by founder Bill W. Chapter 5 is titled "How it Works" and deals with the spiritual goal of AA.
Chapter 5 also covers the 12 steps of AA:
Introduction and acknowledgment: In this section, an AA group encourages new members and visitors to introduce themselves. It also allows time for acknowledgment of sobriety anniversaries.
Organizational activities: AA groups go over events that concern either the group or AA as a whole.
The 12 Promises: A speaker will read the 12 promises of AA, which are as follows:
The Closing: The members of the AA group will then open the floor for anyone with a “burning desire to speak.” If no member has such a desire they will then repeat the serenity prayer and end the meeting.
The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to quit drinking.
However, completing AA requires rigorous honesty and a release of old ideas. According to AA, they’ve seen only the occasional person fail.
AA groups don’t expect perfect adherence to the principles of the program, nor do they claim to have it themselves. AA is a program of recovery that focuses on support and understanding from the very start.
Alcoholics Anonymous world services are available in 180 countries. This means there are likely local AA groups in your region that are open for membership.
There are two primary methods to sign up:
Online: Online meetings are available for those that chose not to or cannot meet in person. Online sign-ups allow continued AA activity during sickness or potential sickness.
In-person: Signing up in person can be as simple as attending an in-person meeting. Meeting in person can foster a stronger connection and commitment to the principles of AA.
No, AA is a non-profit organization.
They are sustained by internal donations. These donations are limited to $3,000 per year per member. Anyone who wants to quit drinking can attend an AA meeting.
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