Just the Facts
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
Unbiased questions and answers
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a self help 12-step group for people who have a problem with alcohol.
Anyone who self identifies as having a problem with drinking. Sometimes people who struggle with other substances or behaviors will attend meetings. There are ‘open’ meetings that anyone can attend, including guests, and ‘closed’ meetings that only people who have an issue with alcohol should attend.
AA is a spiritual based (but not religious) program with specific steps to guide those towards a life that is free from substances. Using time tested steps and principles, the program has steps for self guidance with support to remain abstinent.
To start, just show up at a meeting. You have the option of sharing or not. If you do not want to share, a customary way to decline is to say your name and something like, “I’m glad to be here. Thanks.” Each meeting is separately run and has it’s own size, usual crowd, and type of things on which it focuses. The general rule is if you don’t like one particular meeting, try another.
Some core components that improve your success are regular attendance at meetings (anywhere from once a day to once a week) and to get a sponsor. A sponsor is someone who has worked through all 12 steps and has generally been clean from substances for about two or more years. That person acts as a guide and support as you do your own work.