The Truth About Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.), founded in 1935, is a 12-step program that is designed to help the alcoholic
A.A. is based on personal experience as a means for people to help each other to stop drinking.
Over the years, A.A. has helped hundreds of thousands of alcoholics to recover and become sober.
The first step of the A.A. program is for the alcoholic to recognize and admit that he or
she has a problem with alcohol.
This is the first and most important step because it means that the alcoholic has come out of the denial stage
and realizes that alcohol is causing problems in his life.
A.A. is set up for the alcoholic to obtain complete abstinence from alcohol. The program focuses on
changing a person's attitude and way of life rather than simply behavior modification.
Abstinence from alcohol is a life change for the alcoholic. The premise of the program is to work the 12
steps and if the person returns to alcohol after a time of abstinence he or she is not scolded or asked to leave
the program but simply is encouraged to start over and continue working through the steps. T
he 12 steps are numbered because they are designed to take in order.
There is a spiritual aspect to A.A. but members are not required to believe in anything.
Another focus of the program is for the alcoholic to make amends with people he has brought harm to by drinking
and to pass along to other A.A. members what they have learned and accomplished by working through the steps of the
A.A. does not have to be used as a stand-alone treatment. It can be used with other recovery programs and
even medical detoxification and rehabilitation. There are A.A. meetings on any given night all over the
Anyone needing a meeting at anytime should be able to attend one, get the support, and help that he or she
A.A. also has associated programs called Al-Anon and Al-Ateen that are for the spouses, children, and other
family members of alcoholics.
The 12 steps of A.A. are:
1. We admit we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives have become unmanageable.
2. We have come to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. We have made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God, as we understand what this
4. We have made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. We have admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. We are entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. We have humbly asked God to remove our shortcomings.
8. We have made a list of all persons we had harmed and have become willing to make amends to them all.
9. We have made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or
10. We have continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. We have sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understand
what this higher Power is, praying only for knowledge of God's will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we have tried to carry this message to
alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.