About Alcoholics Anonymous


About Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) 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.

If you want more information about what A.A. is and what it does, visit A.A. online. Below are a few answers to some of the questions most frequently asked by people who are new to Alcoholics Anonymous — the questions in our minds when we first approached the fellowship.

Or feel free to attend one of our meetings. There is absolutely no cost or obligation for attending an A.A. meeting. When you go, please feel free to ask an A.A. member any questions you have about A.A.

You can also call us at 302-856-6452. It’s confidential and it’s free.

Below are answers to a few frequently asked questions that may be helpful.

Alcoholics Anonymous

We have tried to answer the questions most frequently in the minds of people who are new to Alcoholics Anonymous - the questions in our minds when we first approached the fellowship.

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

A.A. 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. — Reprinted from What is A.A., with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.

How can I tell whether I am an alcoholic?

If you repeatedly drink more than you intend or want to, or if you get into trouble when you drink you may be an alcoholic. But only you can decide. No one in A.A. will tell you whether you are or not.

Who runs A.A.?

A.A. has no real government. Each group or meeting is free to work out its own customs and ways of holding meetings, as long as it does not hurt other groups or A.A. as a whole. An A.A. group or meeting may have officers but these officers do not give orders to anybody. Their job is to see that the A.A. group runs smoothly.

But the individual group is not cut off from the rest of A.A. Just as A.A. members help each other, so do A.A. groups. Three of the means they use to exchange help are the following:

  1. Groups in the same area may set up a central office or “intergroup” office.
  2. Groups everywhere share their experiences by writing to the A.A. General Service Office, in New York City.
  3. Groups in the U.S. and Canada choose representatives to go to the A.A. General Service Conference, held once a year. All these A.A. offices and the representatives at the Conference make suggestions, based on the experiences of many different A.A. groups. But they do not make rules or issue commands to any groups or members.

Reprinted from: A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.

Interested in learning more about the A.A. Service Structure? See our FAQ.

How do I join A.A.?

You are an A.A. member if and when you say so. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking, and many of us were not very wholehearted about that when we first approached A.A.

Is A.A. religious or require adherence to any beliefs?

No. We are not religious and want to avoid any conflict on this topic. We consider ourselves a spiritual and moral program, and our steps are broad and open to anyone who is not steadfastly closed to spiritual principles.

Is A.A. treatment or rehab?

No. We offer a 12-step approach to living without alcohol which can be heard about at our meetings. We do not offer a residential program or medical attention.

What does it cost?

A.A. has no dues or fees. We do not accept outside contributions and are supported exclusively by the donations members place in the “hat” during meetings.

Why is Alcoholics Anonymous “anonymous”?

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of A.A. It disciplines the Fellowship to govern itself by principles rather than personalities. We are a society of peers. We strive to make known our program of recovery, not individuals who participate in the program. Anonymity in the public media is assurance to all A.A.s, especially to newcomers, that their A.A. membership will not be disclosed.

What are the Twelve Steps?

The Twelve Steps are the core of the A.A. program of recovery. They are suggestions of actions and shifts in attitude found in our primary text, Alcoholics Anonymous (also called “the Big Book”), that many have found necessary to maintain their sobriety.

Where can I get more information?

Please call us anytime — 302-856-6542 or find us at an A.A. Meeting. It’s confidential and free. You may also find the following pamphlets from A.A. World Services useful.