Alcoholics Anonymous Defined

Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as AA, is the original 12 Step group. It consists of men and women who come together voluntarily to achieve and maintain sobriety. The goal is total abstinence from alcohol, one day at a time. The method consists of meetings and working the 12 Steps. The 12 Steps are found in the book, Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as the Big Book.

Meetings or groups are found in almost every country of the world. They range in size from a few people, to as many as 100 or more. Most groups meet once a week. Meeting styles include: speaker meetings where one or two members share the story of their alcoholism and recovery from a podium; discussion meetings where members share their experience with a particular topic, and step studies where members discuss their experience working with the 12 Steps. There are also Big Book studies and meetings for special interest groups like women only, men only, gay and lesbian only, etc. All meetings are based, one-way or another, on the sharing of members experience, strength and hope.

Membership in AA is informal. A person becomes a member when they decide they want to stop drinking and begin attending meetings. There is no registration; no attendance is taken, although the group's secretary may note the number of people in the room. The commitment to anonymity is taken seriously and people can attend AA meetings with little fear that others, outside the meetings, will find out they have joined.

AA meetings can be found in various ways. There are meeting lists on the web. In the United States, Alcoholics Anonymous can be found in the white pages of most telephone books; a call to information will also usually result in a phone number where meetings can be located. Meetings in most western countries, and some non-western countries can be found in similar ways.