The Concept Behind Alcoholics Anonymous Support Group
AA is a self-supporting, nonprofessional, non-profit organization that was founded in 1935 by two alcoholics, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The primary purpose of the first AA group was to help alcoholics stay sober and to help others join them on their journey to sobriety. Today, many would call Alcoholics Anonymous is a sanctuary. Millions of alcohol abusers have relied on AA to help treat their dependency on alcohol, and the number of satisfied members continues to grow to this day.
What’s an AA sponsor?
An AA sponsor is an experienced AA member that a new member selects to be their guide through their journey to sobriety. A sponsor is a person that the sponsee can rely on for sympathy and encouragement, especially when the alcoholic is facing imminent relapse.
The 12-Step Program
The main doctrine of Alcoholics Anonymous is that anyone can reach sobriety by following the 12-Step Program. New members aren’t pressured to follow these 12 steps, but they are highly encouraged to stay open-minded. Furthermore, new members have to come to realize that they have a drinking problem on their own.
In a nutshell, the 12-Step Program suggests the following:
- You have to admit that you are powerless over alcohol.
- The only thing that can help you reach sobriety is the power greater than yourself.
- You have to turn yourself to that power (God).
- Think about your moral strengths and weaknesses.
- Admit to God, yourself, and other people that you did something wrong.
- Prepare yourself so that God can remove all your flaws.
- Ask Him to eliminate all your flaws.
- Make the list of everyone that you have wronged.
- Make amends with those people.
- If you’re wrong, admit it.
- Pray and meditate.
- Carry this message to other alcoholics.
What are AA meetings like?
AA meetings are ritualized, therapeutic sessions, run by an AA member. Meetings take place in the form of informal discussions, during which members can share their experience about drinking and sobriety. No one is required to speak unless they are comfortable enough and willingly want to do so.
These sessions can be closed or open—anyone can attend open meetings, but only members can attend closed meetings. AA meetings are not gender- or age-exclusive; there is no discrimination on any basis. Some cities and groups may hold specialized meetings focused on women, youth, gay people, etc.
When it comes to the effectiveness of AA meetings, different studies have shown different results. According to some researchers, only 5-8% of the alcoholics who go through the 12-Step Program reach sobriety for longer than one year. Despite these low numbers, the group support system can be essential when it comes to maintaining sobriety.
- The Alcoholics Anonymous program has one basic principle—“one size fits all.” In other words, AA generalizes all types of drinking problems, despite the fact that recent studies have shown that alcoholism is a spectrum, varying from light to heavy drinkers. According to AA, however, a person with a mild or a severe drinking problem is considered an alcoholic.
- On a spiritual note, AA has a completely faith-based approach. Furthermore, members are encouraged to realize the fact they are completely powerless over their disease.
- Keeping in mind that mental health problems are very common amongst people who abuse alcohol, AA doesn’t offer solutions for this issue.
The Alcoholics Anonymous support group is a conventional treatment method for alcohol abusers. Meetings are based on informal discussions amongst AA members, where they can share their success and sobriety-related struggles.