About Alcoholics Anonymous

About Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of people who come together to solve their 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.

what is aaIf you want more information about what A.A. is and what it does, visit the Alcoholics Anonymous website. 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 email us at support@sussexaa.org or call 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?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who come together to solve their drinking problem. It doesn’t cost anything to attend A.A. meetings. There are no age or education requirements to participate. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem. A.A.’s primary purpose is to help alcoholics to achieve sobriety. — 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. Consider taking a quick self-assessment quiz and see how you do. If you answer yes to four or more questions, you are probably in trouble with alcohol. But there is no disgrace in facing up to the fact that you have a problem. And help is available. For confidential support:

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.

Do I have to give my name?

When you go to an A.A. meet­ing you don’t have to give your name. Some groups will in­vite new­com­ers to in­tro­duce them­selves by their first name only so that we can wel­come and help them find their way around A.A. All par­tic­i­pa­tion in A.A. meet­ings is vol­un­tary and it is not nec­es­sary to in­tro­duce your­self.

Will I have to talk?

It’s not nec­es­sary to ex­plain why you’re there. If you’re called on and pre­fer to re­main silent, just say, “I’ll pass.” Any­one is free to sim­ply sit and lis­ten at meet­ings.

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.

But there’s a lot of talk about God, isn’t there?

The majority of A.A. members believe that we have found the solution to our drinking problem not through individual willpower, but through a power greater than ourselves. However, everyone defines this power as he or she wishes. Many people call it God, others think it is the A.A. group, still others don’t believe in it at all. There is room in A.A. for people of all shades of belief and non-belief.

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. For more reading see A.A. and Anonymity.

What is a Spon­sor?

A sponsor is essentially an alcoholic who has made some progress in the A.A. recovery program and shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through A.A. We urge you to not delay in asking someone to be your sponsor. Alcoholics recovered in A.A. want to share what they have learned with other alcoholics. We know from experience that our own sobriety is greatly strengthened when we share the solution.

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 find more information about A.A. meetings?

You can take a look at our Meeting FAQ page.

Help! I’m stuck. Where can I get more information about A.A.?