Alcoholics Anonymous UK, or ‘The AA’, is an international fellowship for people who are recovering from alcoholism.
The AA is not a professional body and it is self-funded. It is a self-sustained group with one goal: to remain sober.
The AA was founded in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr Bob in Akron, Ohio, who met to discuss their problems with alcohol. They found that support and a feeling of community helped in their journey so much they started the AA. That meeting expanded to what we know the AA to be today, an incredibly useful group shown to help people attain and maintain long-term recovery.
The AA program is known worldwide for a reason. This sober support group involves the famous ’12 Steps’ to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
The Alcoholics Anonymous group is for those trying to rebuild their life after addiction and need to pay particular attention to honesty.
Failure to establish honesty as a personal quality may mean that the individual will be more at risk of relapse.
Dishonesty has commonplace in an addict’s life. People who have gotten sober usually need to rebuild their life after addiction, and the AA philosophy states this can only be achieved by being honest with themselves and others.
There is even an app named “The AA 12 Step Toolkit”. It is a perfect companion app for your 12 step aa program with loads of great features for those abstaining from alcohol.
The meaning of anonymous is that you don’t identify yourself by name. An alcoholic is addicted to alcohol to the point where they are unable to stop drinking despite the negative consequences.
What happens at an AA meeting stays at an AA meeting. The rules of the AA state that you do not have to give your name, and no member should discuss your attendance with others. The group is for alcoholics who wish to remain anonymous throughout their attendance.
Anyone who finds their lives are detrimentally affected by their use of alcohol can attend an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting. People with problems other than alcoholism are eligible for AA membership, but only if they have an alcohol abuse problem.
There is no need to sign up for AA meetings, and you can turn up on the date and time and listen on the AA website.
The AA’s group meetings offer the same benefits to LGBT individuals as they do straight people. However, some individuals in the LGBT community find LGBT specialised groups particularly helpful.
An AA sponsor is someone who can help guide you through the aa steps program. This individual will have a history of abstinence from alcohol and help those in their first stages of sobriety. Sponsors should be compassionate, sympathetic and honest with their sponsees.
This quote from the Alcoholics Anonymous book perfectly explains the effectiveness of sponsorship.
“But the ex-problem drinker who has found this solution, who is properly armed with facts about himself, can generally win the confidence of another alcoholic in a few hours.
Until such an understanding is reached, little or nothing can be accomplished.” (Book: Alcoholics Anonymous, Page 18)
AA support groups vary. There may only be one group in some small towns, but in cities, there is usually a variety. There are different types, including group sizes, ages, demographics and even non-English language-specific groups. It is important to find a meeting that fits well with your thoughts, beliefs and ideas about your recovery.
Generally, groups discuss how alcohol affected their lives and personalities. Also, what actions do they take to deal with their substance misuse, and how do they currently live their lives presently.
The feelings of anxiety before your first meeting will be difficult to deal with, but remember that everyone has likely felt that pressure and moved past that feeling.
Attending a meeting doesn’t mean you must speak up, especially on your first one.
You may think you can find an easier, softer way. We doubt if you can. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start.
Data from more than 1,700 study participants suffering from alcoholism was compared in a trial named ‘Project MATCH’. The aim of this trial was to study three alcohol treatment approaches.
The participants were to attend cognitive behavioural therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, and a 12-step therapy — participants were free to attend AA meetings.
The results show that people who attended AA were more likely to be still sober the next year.
Findings shed light on how AA helps people recover from addiction over time. Behavioural changes associated with AA attendance included:
Open meetings allow anyone to attend, but an AA member usually tells their story.
Closed meetings will be open to members only, typically discussing a certain topic in which the members will share their experiences the topic.
The basis of the fellowship program is contained in the famous ‘Twelve Steps’, which are as follows:
AA meetings are completely free. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no due or fees to be paid to the AA; all meetings are self-supported through their contributions. AA is free from any sect, denomination, political view, organisation/institution and does not wish to be involved in any controversy.
The primary purpose of the group meeting is to help people get sober and stay sober.
AA is not a religious program but a spirituality based program encouraging the connection between people suffering from a common illness. Exchanging and sharing knowledge, views and experiences to attain abstinence from the life-threatening addiction illness of alcoholism is the main goal of the AA.
There is no requirement to believe in anything other than getting sober and staying that way. There are religious groups within AA, but most are secular but accept spiritual beliefs and are respectful of all ideas and faiths.
Some people are worried that the AA won’t work for everyone, and it is usually the spiritual aspect of the 12 steps. The spiritual aspect of AA is an obstacle for some endeavouring to quit alcohol. It is worth remembering that AA’s main aim is to help you achieve sobriety.
AA is a cross-section of society. Therefore, one may experience the odd person who talks about their relationship with God and how they found personal support in either a restored or new experience of strength in religion.
Although the 12-steps mention God or higher power, you may choose what that higher power means to you as an individual.
Alanon is a fellowship that holds meetings for families of alcoholics. This means that relatives, spouses, siblings, friends, or anyone affected by someone else’s alcoholism can attend these group sessions.
Alcoholism is a family illness as it impacts more people than just individuals with alcohol addiction. The emotional side effects that the family of alcoholics experience are usually shared at Al-Anon meetings and their hopes for an alcohol-free future.
Many UK cities and towns are well served by support group meetings, which are free to attend. These support group meetings are held throughout the week and can benefit anyone seeking help after undergoing a structured detox or rehab programme.
You will find alcoholics anonymous in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland throughout the many cities and small communities.
AA Support Groups & Services in: