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Alcoholics Anonymous: The Basics of Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous: The Basics of Alcoholics Anonymous

If you or a loved one are struggling with alcohol addiction, an Alcoholics Anonymous support group could be valuable. 

Let’s go over the basics. Keep reading to find out what AA is, how it started, and how it may be able to benefit you. 

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

According to the AA website, AA “is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem.” The purpose is to help individuals to get sober, maintain that sobriety, and provide support for other alcoholics in their recovery. AA has spread globally from the United States, and as of 2016 over 2 million people worldwide were involved in an AA program. 

Who Can Join AA?

There are no age requirements to join AA, and it is described as non-political, non-denominational, self-supporting, and non-professional. The only requirement to join an AA group is the desire to stop drinking. 

The Origins of AA

AA first began in 1935 in Akron, Ohio when two alcoholics, Bill Wilson and Bob Smith began discussing possible solutions to their alcoholism. Along with other founding members, they created the book Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism, commonly referred to as “The Big Book,” in 1939 and their organization took on the book’s title as a name. AA’s iconic Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946, further establishing the AA we still know today. 

The Twelves

Modern-day AA groups utilize various groupings of 12. There are the 12 Steps, the 12 Principles, the 12 Promises, the 12 Concepts, and the 12 Traditions. Each of The Twelves encompasses some of the organizations’ key principles for achieving sobriety and wellbeing. 

The 12 Steps

The 12 steps are the recommended process that everyone in Alcoholics Anonymous attempts to follow. It is believed that once all 12 steps are completed, the alcoholic is ready to move out of active recovery and into a more mentor-like role toward newer alcoholics in the program. The 12 steps, according to the AA Houston, Texas website are as follows: 

  • We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  • Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  • Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  • Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  • Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  • We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  • Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  • Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  • Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  • Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  • 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.
  • 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.

The 12 Principles

The 12 principles, also known as the 12 virtues, are the specific principles associated with each of the 12 steps. These principles include honesty, hope, faith, courage, integrity, willingness, humility, love, discipline, perseverance, spirituality, and service. 

The 12 Promises

The 12 promises are reported results from those who have completed the 12 steps at least through step 9. They include finding peace and happiness, a new attitude and outlook on life, and newfound intuition. 

The 12 Traditions

The 12 traditions discuss the operation of AA groups themselves, and go over how they should be run. Some key principles listed in this section include:

  • No organization or leadership, the only authority in AA is considered to be God himself. The only organized positions in any AA group are strictly service positions. 
  • The importance of personal anonymity, especially in the media.
  • Every AA group should be fully self-supporting, and should not be dependent on any outside contributions. 

The 12 Concepts 

This is an interpretation of AA’s world service structure that was created by Bill Wilson. These 12 Concepts further solidify the way that the AA organization should function as a whole. 

Benefits of AA

One of the biggest benefits AA has to offer to recovering alcoholics is a support group of people who have been through similar experiences. Unlike friends and family members who have never experienced addiction, your fellow AA members can relate to the highs and lows of trying to overcome addiction, and they know just how to support you when you’re facing challenges. Additionally, everyone in AA shares the same goal of achieving sobriety. Spending time with other active addicts can be difficult, but when you are all working together toward the mutual goal of life without addiction you’re less likely to enable one another.

The Twelves alongside the Big Book provide a guide for alcoholics seeking recovery, which can be invaluable because sobriety can be hard to achieve on your own. By following AA’s principles you can have a set of steps to follow, and a support group to help you navigate those steps. 

Let Ardu Recovery Center Help

As we’ve discussed, having a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous can be highly beneficial in aiding your recovery. However, AA is certainly no replacement for an in-patient rehabilitation facility. At Ardu Recovery Center you’ll find more than just a support group, you’ll have round-the-clock supervision and medical care to keep up with whatever you may need while you’re going through detox and making your way toward sobriety. We tailor our program to fit your specific needs, so you’ll have a greater chance at achieving long-term success. Contact us today to receive more information on the life-changing work we do, and see if Ardu could be the right fit for you. We serve the beautiful Utah County area in Utah.

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