Alcoholics Anonymous: What You Need To Know

Alcoholics Anonymous, also called AA, is an international program designed to support alcoholics by helping them recover and stay sober. AA is available in many countries around the world. It has successfully helped millions of its members improve their lives by giving up alcohol.

What to Expect from AA

Alcoholics Anonymous holds meetings during which alcoholics are invited to speak about their struggles. Some meetings feature only one speaker, and other meetings give each member the chance to address the group. No one is required to speak, and most meetings last about one hour. Other meetings are discussion-based and involve members studying some portion of the AA handbook, which is called the Big Book. Meetings are usually held in public places, such as churches, libraries or schools. There is no fee to join Alcoholics Anonymous, though most meetings include a segment during which they collect donations.

12-Step Program

Members of Alcoholics Anonymous follow the 12-Step Program, which was designed to help alcoholics recover. Firstly, the alcoholic must admit that he or she has a problem. Then, according to the 12 steps, the alcoholic must give his or her life over to God or a higher power as the alcoholic admits their wrongdoings and asks forgiveness of those hurt by these wrongdoings. Ultimately, the goal of completing the 12-steps is to have a spiritual awakening, during which the alcoholic is empowered enough to give up drinking.


Another feature of AA is that it encourages members to connect with sponsors. A newcomer chooses a sponsor who is familiar with the 12 Steps. This sponsor then acts as a mentor for the new person and guides the newcomer through the program. The sponsor also acts as a go-to person for the new member whenever he or she has questions or feels in danger of relapse.

Many people have successfully quit drinking by attending AA meetings, working closely with their sponsors and following the 12-step program. There is no cure for alcoholism, but people can recover through personal willpower and support from others. While there is always the possibility of relapse, most members of AA know they can turn to their AA family and sponsors for support.