Among all alcoholic treatment programs, Alcoholic Anonymous (AA) is the most recognized recovery organization in the world with more than two million members who participate in 100,000-plus groups in 150 countries.
Introduced in 1935, Alcoholic Anonymous is a fellowship of people who have lost (or never had) the ability to control their alcohol consumption and have suffered consequences as a result of their drinking.
The focus of this alcohol treatment organization is to help alcoholics -- who are interested in being helped -- create a satisfying way of life without alcohol.
Through an expansive network of support groups and scheduled meetings, alcoholics share their experiences, and offer encouragement and hope to help one anther achieve and maintain sobriety.
Members attend Alcoholic Anonymous meetings that typically include talks by a leader and speakers who share their experiences with alcoholism and recovery.
The hallmarks of participation in this treatment program are anonymity within a spiritual foundation and following a suggested program that involves Twelve Steps or principles for recovery from alcoholism.
The 12 steps are designed to help individuals develop the inner strength, self esteem and commitment to live an alcohol-free life that is satisfying and joyful.
Step 1: You admit that you are powerless over alcohol and that your life is out of control. You acknowledge that you need alcoholic treatment.
Step 2: You believe that a power greater than you can help you deal with this problem. This “power” can be God, but it can be something else as well.
Step 3: You make a decision to run your life over to the care of God as you understand him. That last part is important. While Alcoholic Anonymous is grounded in spiritual principals, it is not a religious program, and people of all faiths are welcome.
Step 4: You make a thorough moral inventory of yourself.
Step 5: You admit to God, yourself, and to another person the exact nature of your wrongs. Often this other person is your sponsor (a mentor who has been practicing the 12 steps for some length of time), but it doesn’t have to be.
Step 6: You are ready for God to remove your shortcomings.
Step 7: You ask God to remove those weaknesses.
Step 8: You make a list of all the people you have wronged and become willing to make amends to them.
Step 9: You make amends to those people whenever possible, except when to do so would be harmful to them in some way. An example of that is a man who had cheated on his ex-wife. She did not know he had been unfaithful, and he felt that to tell her would be upsetting to her. Instead of telling her, he sent her some flowers with a note apologizing for “all I did to hurt you.”
Step 10: You continue to take a moral inventory and when you are wrong you promptly admit it.
Step 11: You seek through mediation and prayer to improve your relationship with God.
Step 12: You try to carry the message of Alcoholic Anonymous to others and to practice these principals in all of your affairs.
These 12 steps reflect principles for daily living. By following AA’s alcoholic treatment methods, individuals can enhance their quality of life and help others achieve successful outcomes through addiction recovery.