Alcoholism and drug addiction are often referred to as "substance abuse" or "chemical dependency." Alcoholics and nonalcoholic’s are, therefore, sometimes introduced to A.A. and encouraged to attend A.A. meetings. Anyone may attend open A.A. meetings. But only those with a drinking problem may attend closed meetings or become A.A. members. People with problems other than alcoholism are eligible for A.A. membership only if they have a drinking problem.
Information for Professionals
Alcoholics Anonymous is a voluntary, worldwide fellowship of men and women from all walks of life who meet together to attain and maintain sobriety. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership.
It is estimated that there are more than 114,000 groups and over 2,000,000 members in over 180 countries.
Many health care professionals have found effective ways to refer people to A.A. One said:
"No one suffers more than the alcoholic. When you once touch the life of an alcoholic and help him or her to recover, when you observe this incredible change from a suffering, helpless, sick (and dying) person to one who is alive, vital, functioning, and happy, you will be part of a rich, rewarding, and profound experience. A.A. is the most effective means of helping an alcoholic to stop drinking."
If an individual repeatedly drinks more than they intend or want to, if they get into trouble, or if they have memory lapses when they drink, they may be an alcoholic. If they want to control their drinking but can't, then alcoholism is a definite possibility. But as far as AA is concerned, it is up to the individual to decide whether they're an alcoholic. You can suggest they approach A.A. by either contacting us on 0800 2296757 or by attending a meeting.