What is AA?

Read what defines our organization.

What is Alcoholic Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was an organization created by Bill Wilson (best known to most as Bill W.) and Bob Smith. It was based on Bill’s meetings with a group known as The Oxford Group. Upon attending his first meeting, Bill W. decided that alcohol would no longer control him. Soon after joining, Bill took it upon himself to recruit those who suffered the same way he did. One of the members he hired was an Akron, Ohio surgeon who had difficulty remaining sober. His name was Bob Smith. After working with Bill, Bob declared June 10th of 1935 to be the last time in his life that he’d ever have a drink.

In 1939, Wilson published a book titled Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism. The title later became the namesake of the group. Today, 2 million worldwide are currently members. The book documents the stories of those who have dealt with alcoholism and found a way to overcome it. It also outlined what Bill W. calls the “12 Steps”.

The 12 Steps begins with the person struggling to admit that they have a problem with alcohol. In which they are powerless and have allowed drinking to dictate their everyday life. The next step is the person is in need of seeking a “higher power” that has more power and control over alcohol. In this case, this higher power could come in the form of God or a higher power of their own accord.

Going further, another step includes recognizing one's character defects and having to remove them. Another important but emotionally more robust step is listing the people they have harmed. Following that is their ability to reconcile and repair those relationships. The final step encourages those recovering to commit to helping others who struggle.

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