Great questions.

If your drinking has taken way too much control of your life, become a problem that you’re looking to solve or have even been confronted directly by friends and family that it’s an issue, you’ve likely come across Alcoholics Anonymous already.

Drinking is absolutely something that’s addictive and prolonged use leads to a dependency that can be hard to shake on your own. If you’ve been contemplating quitting but just don’t know where to start, AA is an excellent place to start.

Alcoholics Anonymous is where the concept of the 12-step program started back in 1935 and it’s been a stunningly effective resource for those who struggle to quit and stay off the drink. In addition to the steps, it’s a program based on discussion-based meetings and the group/peer support that comes with them. Importantly, those get-togethers are free to attend with the only ask being a donation, if possible, to cover expenses for the meeting, things like refreshments, room rental, etc.

Fast forward to today and you can find AA meetings in almost every country (even on cruise ships). Here at home, consider that 14.4 adults have an alcohol use disorder of which not even 8% receive treatment, having access to free resources like AA is, therefore, a lifesaver for some.

Whether the program is for you is, naturally, up to you but they do have a handy 12 question survey that can point you in the right direction.

Defining Alcoholics Anonymous

In case the above wasn’t clear, here’s how AA describe AA:

 “Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.”

It’s broad, available to all and decentralized by design.

You might be wondering what the steps are, well, wonder no more:

  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.

You might be wondering after reading the steps if you need to be religious for AA? Nope, while it does have religious connotations, a 1990 study notes that “to superficially dismiss AA as a potentially effective addiction recovery support option on the grounds that it is “religious” and therefore unscientific, is inconsistent with the body of rigorous research accumulated during the past 25 years”.

For their part, Alcoholics Anonymous calls their steps “spiritual in nature”. Ultimately, if it’s a potential issue for you, consider swapping in the words “Higher Power” for “God” and defining that how you’d like.

Who Needs to Go to AA?

Getting involved with Alcoholics Anonymous can be just the thing to not only get out sober but keep you sober however the choice is in your hands. If drinking has been a problem that you haven’t managed to get under control on your own, a low pressure, community-based program like AA can work wonders for you. Give us a call at Lake Arrowhead Recovery Network and we can walk you through the ins and outs more thoroughly and help find you a meeting in your area.

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