What Is A.A.?
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem.
It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere.
There are no age or education requirements.
Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
This information is both for people who may have a drinking problem and for those in contact with people who have, or are suspected of having, a problem. Most of the information is available in more detail in literature published by A.A. World Services. This page tells what to expect from Alcoholics Anonymous. It describes what A.A. is, what A.A. does, and what A.A. does not do.
What A.A. Does Do
1. A.A. members share their experience with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem; they give person-to-person service or “sponsorship” to the alcoholic coming to A.A. from any source.
2. The A.A. program, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
3. This program is discussed at A.A. group meetings.
a. Open speaker meetings — open to alcoholics and non-alcoholics. (Attendance at an open A.A. meeting is the best way to learn what A.A. is, what it does, and what it does not do.) At speaker meetings, A.A. members “tell their stories.”
They describe their experiences with alcohol, how they came to A.A., and how their lives have changed as a result of Alcoholics Anonymous.
b. Open discussion meetings — one member speaks briefly about his or her drinking experience, and then leads a discussion on A.A. recovery or any drinking-related problem anyone brings up. (Closed meetings are for A.A.s or anyone who may have a drinking problem.)
c. Closed discussion meetings — conducted just as open discussions are, but for alcoholics or prospective A.A.s only.
d. Step meetings (usually closed) — discussion of one of the Twelve Steps.
e. A.A. members also take meetings into correctional and treatment facilities.
f. A.A. members may be asked to conduct the informational meetings about A.A. as a part of A.S.A.P. (Alcohol Safety Action Project) and D.W.I. (Driving While Intoxicated) programs. These meetings about A.A. are not regular A.A. group meetings.
What A.A. Doesn't Do
A.A. does not:
1. Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover.
2. Solicit members.
3. Engage in or sponsor research.
4. Keep attendance records or case histories.
5. Join “councils” of social agencies (although A.A. members, groups and service offices frequently cooperate with them).
6. Follow up or try to control its members.
7. Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses.
8. Provide detox or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment.
9. Offer religious services or host/sponsor retreats.
10. Engage in education about alcohol.
11. Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money, or any other welfare or social services.
12. Provide domestic or vocational counseling.
13. Accept any money for its services, or any contributions from non-A.A. sources.
14. Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.
Sound and visual media help to carry the message of recovery of Alcoholics Anonymous and to inform the public and professionals about A.A. Public Service Announcements (PSAs) are available in both video and audio formats (for television and radio broadcast), as well as other materials specifically for young people and for professionals working with alcoholics.
This section provides general information to A.A. members, groups and committees about services provided by the General Service Office.
If the information you are searching for does not appear in this section, please keep in mind that local A.A. Central Offices, Intergroups, and your General Service Area Committees are often a helpful resource for information.
Professionals who work with alcoholics share a common purpose with Alcoholics Anonymous: to help the alcoholic stop drinking and lead a healthy, productive life.
We can serve as a source of personal experience with alcoholism as an ongoing support system for recovering alcoholics.