14 November 2011
What Can AA Do for Problem Drinkers?
Does Alcoholics Anonymous work? Many people have family members and/or loved ones that have a drinking problem. So what should they do to get help? There are many different abstinence programs; Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as AA, is one of the programs. An analysis of the AA program reveals that the program can be very effective, but only if the alcoholic wants help and gets the help they need.
AA celebrated their 76th anniversary this year. They counted two million members participating in 115,000 groups worldwide, half of them in the U.S. AA started its first meeting in Akron, Ohio, in 1935. Bill Wilson, a businessman, and Bob Smith, a physician, started the association. They were both alcoholics. Bill Wilson achieved sobriety mainly through his association with a Christian movement. Smith was inspired by Wilson, and also stopped drinking (Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work 1).
They were determined to help other alcoholics, so the men published "The Big Book". "The Big Book" explained their philosophy, methods, and principles. One method that became very famous, and still is famous, is the 12-step method. The 12 steps are what a recovering person must go through initially and repeat in order for the process to work. For newcomers, the steps are often grouped into three major categories: trust God, clean house, and help others (Does Alcoholics Anonymous Work 1). The 12-steps is about one getting honest with oneself, accepting responsibilities, understanding character defects, making amends and restitution for harms done, and continuing to practice those principles on a daily basis (Matthew Porter).
Anyone with a desire to stop their addiction can get started in the AA program. Typically, someone decides to go to AA when they have personally hit a bottom; life is bad enough that a solution seems to just present itself. In AA, members meet in groups to help each other achieve and maintain sobriety. Meetings usually consist of reading the 12-steps, celebrating members' sobriety anniversaries, then someone gives a lead or tells a story, and everyone around the room contributes to a discussion. The meeting is then closed with the Lord's Prayer (Porter).