What is AA? The Alcoholics Anonymous Preamble is a short definition of AA’s main purpose and is often read out at meetings.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
Alcoholics Anonymous can help people of any age from teens to elderly and from all backgrounds and ethnic groups.
A.A. works through members telling their stories of what we used to be like, what happened and what we are like now, and often centres around attendance at A.A. meetings. The A.A. programme, known as The Twelve Steps, provides a framework for self-examination and a road to recovery, free of alcohol.
The Three Legacies of AA are: recovery, unity and service.
The relative success of the AA programme seems to be due to the fact that an alcoholic who no longer drinks has an exceptional faculty for “reaching” and helping an uncontrolled drinker.
In simplest form, the AA programme operates when a recovered alcoholic passes along the story of his or her own problem drinking, describes the sobriety he or she has found in AA, and invites people who are new to AA to join the informal Fellowship.
The heart of the suggested programme of personal recovery is contained in Twelve Steps describing the experience of the earliest members of the Society:
People who are new to AA are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so.
They will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving sobriety, and to read AA literature describing and interpreting the AA programme.
AA members will usually emphasise to people who are new to AA that only problem drinkers themselves, individually, can determine whether or not they are in fact alcoholics.
At the same time, it will be pointed out that all available medical testimony indicates that alcoholism is a progressive illness, that it cannot be cured in the ordinary sense of the term, but that it can be arrested through total abstinence from alcohol in any form.