What Does A.A. Do?
- A.A. members share their experience with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem; they give person-to-person service or "sponsorship" to the alcoholic coming to A.A. from any source.
- The A.A. programme, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
- This programme is discussed at A.A. group meetings.
- Open speaker meetings-open to alcoholics and non alcoholics.
(Attendance at an open A.A. meeting is the best way to learn what A.A. is, what it does, and what it does not.)
At speaker meetings, A.A. members "tell their stories." They describe their experiences with alcohol, how they came to A.A., and how their lives have changed as a result of A.A.
- Open discussion meetings-one member speaks briefly about his or her drinking experience, and then leads a discussion on A.A. recovery or any drinking-related problem anyone brings up.
(Closed meetings are for A.A.s or anyone who may have a drinking problem.)
- Closed discussion meetings-conducted just as open discussions are, but for alcoholics or prospective A.A.s only.
- Step meetings (usually closed)-discussion of one of the Twelve Steps.
- A.A. members also take meetings into correctional and treatment facilities.
- A.A. members may be asked to conduct the informational meetings about A.A. as a part of A.S.A.P.
(Alcohol Safety Action Project) and D.W.I. (Driving While Intoxicated) programme.
These meetings about A.A. are not regular A.A. group meetings.
What A.A. Does Not Do?
- Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover.
- Solicit members.
- Engage in or sponsor research.
- Keep attendance records or case histories.
- Join "councils" of social agencies.
- Follow up or try to control its members.
- Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses.
- Provide drying-out or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment.
- Offer religious services.
- Engage in education about alcohol.
- Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money, or any other welfare or social services.
- Provide domestic or vocational counseling.
- Accept any money for its services, or any contributions from non-A.A. sources.
- Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.
Is A.A. for Me? 12 Questions only you can answer
Only you can decide whether you want to give A.A. a try-whether you think it can help you. We who are in A.A. came because we finally gave up trying to control our drinking. We still hated to admit that we could never drink safely.
Then we heard from other A.A. members that we were sick. (We thought so for years!) We found out that many people suffered from the same feelings of guilt and loneliness and hopelessness that we did.
We found out that we had these feelings because we had the disease of alcoholism. We decided to try and face up to what alcohol had done to us. Here are some of the questions we tried to answer honestly. If we answered YES to four or more questions, we were in deep trouble with our drinking.
See how you do. Remember, there is no disgrace in facing up to the fact that you have a problem.
Answer YES or NO to the following questions.
|Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?||Yes / No|
|Most of us in A.A. made all kinds of promises to ourselves and to our families. We could not keep them. Then we came to A.A. A.A. said: "Just try not to drink today." (If you do not drink today, you cannot get drunk today.)|
|Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking-- stop telling you what to do?||Yes / No|
|In A.A. we do not tell anyone to do anything. We just talk about our own drinking, the trouble we got into, and how we stopped. We will be glad to help you, if you want us to.|
|Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk?||Yes / No|
|We tried all kinds of ways. We made our drinks weak. Or just drank beer. Or we did not drink cocktails. Or only drank on weekends. You name it, we tried it. But if we drank anything with alcohol in it, we usually got drunk eventually.|
|Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year?||Yes / No|
|Do you need a drink to get started, or to stop shaking? This is a pretty sure sign that you are not drinking "socially."|
|Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble?||Yes / No|
|At one time or another, most of us have wondered why we were not like most people, who really can take it or leave it.|
|Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year?||Yes / No|
|Be honest! Doctors say that if you have a problem with alcohol and keep on drinking, it will get worse - never better. Eventually, you will die, or end up in an institution for the rest of your life. The only hope is to stop drinking.|
|Has your drinking caused trouble at home?||Yes / No|
|Before we came into A.A., most of us said that it was the people or problems at home that made us drink. We could not see that our drinking just made everything worse. It never solved problems anywhere or anytime.|
|Do you ever try to get "extra" drinks at a party because you do not get enough?||Yes / No|
|Most of us used to have a "few" before we started out if we thought it was going to be that kind of party. And if drinks were not served fast enough, we would go someplace else to get more.|
|Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk when you don't mean to?||Yes / No|
|Many of us kidded ourselves into thinking that we drank because we wanted to. After we came into A.A., we found out that once we started to drink, we couldn't stop.|
|Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking?||Yes / No|
|Many of us admit now that we "called in sick" lots of times when the truth was that we were hung-over or on a drunk.|
|Do you have "blackouts"?||Yes / No|
|A "blackout" is when we have been drinking hours or days which we cannot remember. When we came to A.A., we found out that this is a pretty sure sign of alcoholic drinking.|
|Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink?||Yes / No|
|Many of us started to drink because drinking made life seem better, at least for a while. By the time we got into A.A., we felt trapped. We were drinking to live and living to drink. We were sick and tired of being sick and tired.|
What's Your Score?
Did you answer YES four or more times? If so, you are probably in trouble with alcohol. Why do we say this? Because thousands of people in A.A. have said so for many years. They found out the truth about themselves - the hard way.
But again, only you can decide whether you think A.A. is for you. Try to keep an open mind on the subject. If the answer is YES, we will be glad to show you how we stopped drinking ourselves.
A.A. does not promise to solve your life's problems. But we can show you how we are learning to live without drinking "one day at a time." We stay away from that "first drink." If there is no first one, there cannot be a tenth one. And when we got rid of alcohol, we found that life became much more manageable.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who once had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, nondenominational, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or educational requirements.
Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
The primary purpose of A.A. is to carry our message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking help. Almost every alcoholism treatment tries to help the alcoholic maintain sobriety. Regardless of the road we follow, we all head for the same destination, recovery of the alcoholic person.
Together, we can do what none of us could accomplish alone. We can serve as a source of personal experience and be an ongoing support system for recovering alcoholics.The relative success of the A.A. programme seems to be due to the fact that an alcoholic who no longer drinks has an exceptional faculty for "reaching" and helping an uncontrolled drinker.
In simplest form, the A.A. programme operates when a recovered alcoholic passes along the story of his or her own problem drinking, describes the sobriety he or she has found in A.A., and invites the newcomer to join the informal Fellowship.The heart of the suggested programme of personal recovery is contained in Twelve Steps describing the experience of the earliest members of the Society:
The Twelve Steps of A.A.
|1||We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.|
|2||Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.|
|3||Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.|
|4||Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.|
|5||Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.|
|6||Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.|
|7||Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.|
|8||Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.|
|9||Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.|
|10||Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.|
|11||Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.|
|12||Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.|
Newcomers are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so.
They will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving sobriety, and to read A.A. literature describing and interpreting the A.A. programme.