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Recognizing Alcoholics Anonymous’ Founder’s Day

1935 Alcoholics Anonymous Founded

In Akron, Ohio, Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith, two recovering alcoholics, found Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as "A.A.," a 12-step rehabilitation program that eventually helps countless people cope with alcoholism.

Based on psychological techniques that have long been used in suppressing certain personality traits, members of the strictly anonymous organization control their disease through guided group discussion and confession. The organization functions through local groups that have no formal rules besides anonymity, no officers and no dues. Anyone who wishes to stop drinking qualifies for membership. Today, there are more than 60,000 local groups in the United States, with an estimated membership of almost two million people. Other addiction support groups patterned on A.A. include Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous.

AA Facts

  •  The alcoholics anonymous (AA) 12-step recovery program is a free treatment program for people suffering from alcohol abuse and addiction.

  •  AA welcomes people of all faiths, even atheists and agnostics, even though the program takes a spiritual approach to treatment. It is not affiliated with any religious or political group.

  • AA program participants follow a set of recovery steps to achieve and maintain abstinence from alcohol.

  •  Meetings are often held in public spaces such as churches or schools. Some meetings are open to anyone who wants to attend, while others are only for alcoholics or prospective AA members.

  • The only requirement to join AA is a desire to stop drinking.

What are the 12 steps? 

The 12 steps are as follows:

  • We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.

  • We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

  • We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

  • We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

  • We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

  • We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

  • We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

  • We made a list of all the persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

  • We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.

  • We continued to take personal inventory and, when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

  • Through prayer and meditation, we sought to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

  • Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

A.A. has been pivotal in many individuals’ achieving sobriety. As mentioned at the beginning, if you or someone you know needs assistance, consider finding a meeting in your community. 

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