What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who have struggled with alcohol addiction and have found a way to stay sober through mutual support and a program of spiritual and moral principles. A.A. provides a supportive community of peers who understand what it’s like to struggle with alcohol addiction and can provide guidance, advice, and encouragement to those seeking to stay sober.
A.A. is organized around the Twelve Steps, a spiritual and moral program intended to help members overcome their addiction and find a new way of living without alcohol.
The Twelve Steps of AA
The twelve steps of A.A. are as follows:
- We admit we are powerless over alcohol – that our lives have become unmanageable. We believe that a Power greater than ourselves can restore us to sanity.
- Decide to turn our will and lives to God’s care as we understand Him.
- Make a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
- Admit to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
- We are ready to have God remove all these character defects.
- Humbly ask Him to remove our shortcomings.
- Make a list of all persons we have harmed and become willing to make amends to them all.
- Make direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.
- Continue to take personal inventory and, when we are wrong, promptly admit it.
- Seek through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Understand Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
- Having had a spiritual awakening due to these Steps, we try to carry this message to alcoholics and practice these principles in all our affairs.
The Twelve Traditions of A.A. Are:
In addition to the twelve steps of A.A., there are twelve traditions.
- Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
- There is but one ultimate authority for our group purpose—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
- The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
- Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A.
- Each group’s primary purpose is to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
- An A.A. group ought to refrain from endorsing, financing, or lending the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige problems divert us from our primary purpose.
- Every AA group should be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
- Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
- A.A., as such, ought never to be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
- Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name should never be drawn into public controversy.
- Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we must maintain personal anonymity at the press, radio, and film levels.
- Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, reminding us to place principles before personalities.
Together, the Steps and Traditions provide a roadmap for recovery and a framework for the organization of A.A.
Joining Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.)
If you’re interested in joining Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), the process is straightforward. A.A. membership is open to anyone who has a desire to stop drinking. Here are the steps to join A.A.:
- Recognize your desire to stop drinking: The first requirement for A.A. membership has a genuine desire to quit drinking. Acknowledge your struggle with alcohol addiction and your willingness to seek help.
- Find a local A.A. meeting: A.A. meetings are held in various locations, including community centers, churches, and other public spaces. You can find information about local meetings through the A.A. website, local directories, or by contacting the A.A. helpline.
- Attend an A.A. meeting: Attend a meeting that suits your schedule and location. A.A. meetings are typically open to anyone, including those who still need to be members. You can listen to personal stories, share your experiences if you’re comfortable, and learn more about the program.
- Connect with fellow members: A.A. emphasizes the importance of peer support. Approach other members before or after meetings to introduce yourself, ask questions, and seek guidance. Many A.A. groups assign sponsors to newcomers, providing one-on-one support and mentorship throughout recovery.
- Embrace the Twelve Steps and Traditions: The Twelve Steps of A.A. provide a framework for personal growth and recovery, while the Twelve Traditions guide how A.A. operates as an organization. Familiarize yourself with these principles and begin incorporating them into your life.
Is AA Membership Really Free?
While A.A. membership is free, some costs may be associated with attending meetings and participating in the program. For example, some A.A. groups may pass a collection basket during sessions to cover the costs of rent, coffee, and other expenses. These donations are voluntary, and members can give as much or as little as they choose. However, it’s important to note that no one is ever turned away from an A.A. meeting for lack of funds, and there is no expectation that members will contribute financially.
In addition to donations, other costs may be associated with attending A.A. meetings. For example, some meetings may require participants to purchase a book or other literature used in the program. These costs are typically minimal and are intended to cover the cost of printing and distribution. Again, no one is ever turned away from a meeting for lack of funds, and financial assistance is available to those who need it.
What Are Some Other Costs Associated With Alcohol Addiction Treatment?
Other costs may be associated with alcohol addiction treatment. Many people enter professional treatment programs to help them overcome their addiction. These programs can be expensive, and the cost will vary depending on the type of program, the location, and other factors.
Some Common Types of Alcohol Addiction Treatment Programs Include:
- Inpatient treatment: Inpatient treatment programs require clients to live at a treatment facility for some time, typically 30-90 days. These programs provide intensive therapy, medication management, and other services to help clients overcome their addictions.
- Outpatient treatment: Outpatient treatment programs allow clients to live at home while attending regular therapy sessions and other services. These programs are typically less expensive than inpatient treatment but may be less effective for those with severe addiction.
- Medication-assisted treatment (MAT): MAT programs use medication, such as Disulfiram or Naltrexone, to help clients manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. These programs may be combined with therapy and other services to provide a comprehensive treatment approach.
The cost of these programs can vary widely depending on the location, the length of stay, the level of care, and the type of program. MAT programs may also be expensive, with the cost of medication and therapy adding up over time.
How Can Alcoholics Anonymous Help Those Struggling with Alcohol Addiction?
A.A. can be a valuable resource for those struggling with alcohol addiction, regardless of whether they are in a professional treatment program. Some of the ways that A.A. can help include:
- Providing a supportive community of peers who understand what it’s like to struggle with addiction
- Offering a safe and confidential space to share experiences, strength, and hope with others
- Helping members develop a program of spiritual and moral principles that can help them stay sober
- Encouraging members to take responsibility for their actions and make amends for past mistakes
- Offering guidance and advice on how to navigate difficult situations and maintain sobriety in the face of temptation and triggers
The Role of Sponsorship in Alcoholics Anonymous
A sponsor is a member of A.A. who has been sober for a more extended period and serves as a mentor and guide for someone new to the program.
Sponsors are often people who have been through the program themselves and understand the struggles and challenges of addiction. They can give a listening ear, offer guidance and advice, and share their own experiences of recovery.
Sponsors often ask their sponsees to check in with them regularly, attend meetings, and work through the Twelve Steps together. This can help to keep the sponsee accountable in their recovery journey and provide motivation and encouragement.
Role models demonstrate what it looks like to live a sober life and work through the Steps of the program. Sponsors may also share their experiences of overcoming challenges and staying sober, which can provide hope and inspiration for those new to the program.
Passing on the Message
One of the core principles of Alcoholics Anonymous is the idea of “passing on the message.” Sponsors play an essential role in this process by helping their sponsees to work through the Steps, develop a spiritual program, and learn how to live a sober life.
The Importance of Aftercare in Addiction Recovery
Completing a formal addiction treatment program is a significant milestone in the recovery journey. However, the journey to lasting sobriety continues. Aftercare supports individuals transitioning back to their everyday lives and maintaining sobriety. Here are some critical aspects of aftercare that contribute to successful addiction recovery:
Ongoing Support and Accountability
Aftercare programs provide ongoing support and accountability for individuals in recovery. This support can come in various forms, such as continued therapy sessions, support groups, or regular check-ins with a counselor or sponsor. By having someone to turn to during challenging times and to celebrate successes, individuals in recovery can stay motivated and maintain their commitment to sobriety.
Relapse Prevention Strategies
Relapse is a common concern in alcohol addiction recovery. Aftercare programs provide individuals with relapse prevention strategies and coping mechanisms to navigate triggers, cravings, and high-risk situations. These programs provide the tools and skills necessary to recognize potential pitfalls and develop effective strategies to prevent relapse.
Continued Therapy and Counseling
Therapy and counseling are vital components of aftercare. Continued therapy sessions help individuals address underlying emotional issues, trauma, or co-occurring mental health disorders that may have contributed to their addiction. Individuals can strengthen their recovery and develop healthier coping mechanisms by working through these challenges with a therapist.
Supportive Sober Living Environments
Sober living environments, such as halfway houses or transitional housing, offer a supportive and drug-free environment for individuals in early recovery. These environments provide structure, accountability, and a sense of community, creating a safe space for individuals to rebuild their lives while surrounded by peers who understand their journey.
Education and Skill-Building
Aftercare programs often provide educational resources and skill-building opportunities to help individuals develop healthier and more fulfilling lifestyles. These programs may offer workshops on stress management, healthy relationships, vocational skills, or financial management. By acquiring new skills and knowledge, individuals can enhance their overall well-being and reduce the risk of relapse.
A Good Choice for Treatment
Defining Wellness Centers is an addiction treatment facility that provides comprehensive care to individuals struggling with addiction. We use evidence-based therapies, such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and Dialectical Behavior Therapy, to address the root causes of addiction and promote long-term recovery.
Defining Wellness Centers also offers a range of aftercare and support services, including alum programs and sober living options, to help clients maintain their sobriety after leaving the program. Our commitment to providing quality care and support makes us an excellent choice for those seeking help for addiction.