What is A.A.?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.  There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes.

Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Reprinted with permission of The AA Grapevine, Inc.

Some literature that might be helpful:

What A.A. does 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. program, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
  • This program is discussed at A.A. group meetings.
    • Open speaker meetings — open to alcoholics and nonalcoholics. (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 do.) 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 Alcoholics Anonymous.
    • 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) programs. 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 (although A.A. members, groups and service offices frequently cooperate with them).
  • Follow up or try to control its members.
  • Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses.
  • Provide detox or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment.
  • Offer religious services or host/sponsor retreats.
  • 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.

Reprinted from F-2 Information on Alcoholics Anonymous, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.

What is the Big Book?

The Big Book is the basic text for Alcoholics Anonymous. Entitled “Alcoholics Anonymous,” it first appeared in 1939. Since then, it has helped millions of men and women recover from alcoholism. Now available in its fourth edition, the Big Book explains the program of recovery, and contains the stories of A.A.’s co-founders as well as many members of diverse backgrounds who have found recovery in the worldwide fellowship.

More information about A.A.

Check out other articles for newcomers: