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Information about Alcoholics Anonymous

The AA Preamble

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. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

Reprinted with permission of The A.A. Grapevine, Inc.

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For Anyone New Coming to A.A. and or For Anyone Referring People to A.A.

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, Inc. This segment tells what to expect from Alcoholics Anonymous. It describes what A.A. is, what A.A. does, and what A.A. does not do.

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What Is A.A.?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is non-professional, 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.

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Singleness of Purpose and Problems Other Than Alcohol

Some professionals refer to alcoholism and drug addiction as "substance abuse" or "chemical dependency."Non-alcoholic 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.

A renowned psychiatrist, who served as a non-alcoholic trustee of the A.A. General Service Board, made the following statement: "Singleness of purpose is essential to the effective treatment of alcoholism. The reason for such exaggerated focus is to overcome denial. The denial associated with alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful and affects the patient, helper, and the community. Unless alcoholism is kept relentlessly in the foreground, other issues will usurp everybody's attention."

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What Does A.A. 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 ID meetings - open to alcoholics and non-alcoholic. (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 ID 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. Closed Meetings are only available to people with drinking problems

C. Step or Big Book Meetings (Big Book - Nickname for the book Alcoholics Anonymous) - discussion of one of the Twelve Steps or the Big Book.

D. A.A. members also take meetings into correctional and treatment facilities.

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What A.A. Does Not 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

6. Follow up or try to control its members

7. Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses

8. Provide drying-out or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment

9. Offer religious services

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 counselling

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.

CONCLUSION

The primary purpose of AA is to carry our message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking help. Almost every alcoholism treatment tries to help the alcoholic to maintain sobriety; regardless of the road we follow, we all head for the same destination rehabilitation of the alcoholic person. Together we can do what none of us could accomplish alone.

Reprinted from: Information on Alcoholics Anonymous.

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