What is Alcoholics Anonymous?
What is A.A.?
Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is an international fellowship of people who come together to solve their drinking problem. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem. We are available almost everywhere in the U.S. and world-wide, as well as,
- Anonymous — no personal information, no last names
- Nonprofessional — no paid counselors
- Self-supporting — no cost except what we choose to put in the basket
- Inclusive — everyone is welcome
- Apolitical — we don’t take sides
- Non-sectarian — no religion is promoted
A.A. has been helping alcoholics recover for more than 80 years with a program of recovery built on the simple foundation of one alcoholic sharing with another. A.A.’s primary purpose is to help alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
Is A.A. For Me?
All of us in A.A. have asked this question. If you can’t stop drinking, or you repeatedly drink more than you intend or want to, or you get into trouble, or you have memory lapses when you drink, A.A. might be a good fit.
No one will judge you or tell you whether you are an alcoholic — only you can make that call. There is no contract or other formal commitment; membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem.
Only you can decide whether you want to give A.A. a try — whether you think it can help you. Answer each question yes or no. Yes answers will tell you if A.A. is for you. Remember, there is no disgrace in facing up to the fact that you have a problem.
Admitting you might need help, or admitting that you’re an alcoholic, takes courage. There are a lot of resources that may help you decide whether A.A. could be right for you. We want to help.
Contact us anytime, or learn more by exploring the information below, and then get in touch with us or check out a meeting. You don’t have to do this alone! For confidential support:
FAQs about Alcoholics Anonymous
Below are answers to a few frequently asked questions that may be helpful.
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.
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.
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:
- Groups in the same area may set up a central office or “intergroup” office.
- Groups everywhere share their experiences by writing to the A.A. General Service Office, in New York City.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
You can take a look at our Meeting FAQ page.
Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call 302-856-6542, or find us at an A.A. Meeting. It’s confidential and free.
If you are looking for a way to access A.A. information on your phone — check out this digital source for A.A. materials that includes links to literature and meeting information. Simply click or press the link sdiaa.glideapp.io and your browser will prompt you to add the app to your home screen. Alternatively, you can scan the QR code image with the camera on your phone to preview it. Your app will automatically update when new features or information is added. On iOS, make sure to open the link in Safari.
You may also find the following pamphlets from A.A. World Services useful.