How Can Alcoholics Anonymous Help?

At Rehab 4 Alcoholism, our founders have maintained their support for Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) for well over two decades. We feel AA provides a global lifesaving service that should never be overlooked by somebody affected by alcoholism in any way. It’s also worth mentioning that AA is completely free of charge.

The ethos of AA is that of one addict helping another. Former alcoholics offer support to each other in meeting commonly held recovery goals. Maintaining sobriety is not easy, and AA offers a unique role in helping ease this process both today and in the future.

AA was founded back in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The former suffered from alcoholism and was told he would die if he did not stop drinking alcohol. Today, AA holds many thousands of daily meetings across the globe.

To attend AA meetings, you must commit to the act of stopping drinking. You must also embrace sobriety. AA is thus about maintaining your recovery. If you are still drinking, then your needs will be better met by an alcohol rehab clinic.

AA is founded on the 12-step programme. This programme offers recipe-style instructions for sustaining sobriety. The 12-steps are supplemented by the 12-traditions. These traditions were designed to help prevent outside influences from distracting AA from its core mission.

Each person attending an AA meeting is a former alcoholic. For this reason, AA is classed as a mutual-aid fellowship.

The humble beginnings of AA

AA’s founders modelled the principles set out by the Oxford Group. The Oxford Group was a Christian self-help group with many similarities to modern AA meeting. Wilson quit drinking alcohol in 1934 after an intense spiritual event in his life. Wilson then joined the Oxford Group in order to help others affected by alcoholism. However, Wilson’s mission in the early to mid-1930s was largely a failure and he only succeeding in maintaining his own sobriety.

Wilson himself came close to relapse during the 1930s. He came to the realisation that helping others was the only way for him to maintain his sobriety. Wilson also attributed his sobriety to his spiritual awakening back in 1934. Eventually, Wilson compiled a list of suggested activities to encourage spiritual growth in his 1938 book titled ‘Alcoholics Anonymous’. These activities are known as the ‘Twelve Steps’.

Today, there are 100,000 AA members. AA lacks a formal leadership circle. Instead, meetings are organised by ex-alcoholics who wish to assist others who are either fighting alcoholism or wishing to maintain their recovery.

What are the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions?

Both the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions are outlined in the Big Book. The Big Book is often described as AA’s bible. As well as outlining both the 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, the big book also includes spiritual and inspirational stories relating to recovery. AA updates the Big Book every few years to add new inspirational stories.

The 12 Steps

Below, we list each of the 12 Steps as laid out in the Big Book. The 12 Steps aim to assist you in recovering from alcoholism. The 12 Steps also aim to assist you in avoiding a relapse.

The 12 Steps of AA include:

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation 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.
  12. 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.

The 12 Traditions

The 12 Traditions of AA help to stabilise AA and prevent outside forces from distracting members from AA’s central message. The 12 Traditions also aim to give members the confidence that what they reveal in AA meetings will remain confidential.

Below, we list each of the 12 Traditions as laid out in the Big Book:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA unity.
  2. For our group purpose, there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centres may employ special workers.
  9. AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.

Want to know more about how AA can help?

If you wish to know more about AA, then perhaps the best place to do so is by attending an AA meeting in person. If you would like to attend an alcohol rehab clinic before you attend AA, contact Rehab 4 Alcoholism today on 0800 111 4108 and we will be happy to advise you on rehab clinics in your local area.

We recommend that you read through the above questions and answers carefully. If you require further information, contact our advisors today and for free on 0800 111 4108.  Alternatively, you may also contact us through this website and a member of our team will respond shortly.