Is Alcoholics Anonymous for me?
Do you repeatedly drink more than you intend or want to, get into trouble, or experience memory lapses when you drink?
Ever wondered if AA could help you? Only you can decide whether you want to give A.A. a try and whether you think it can help you.
Remember, there is no disgrace in facing up to the fact that you have a problem.
We who are in A.A. came because we finally gave up trying to control our drinking. We still hated to admit that we could never drink safely. Then we heard from other A.A. members that we were sick. (We thought so for years!) We found out that many people suffered from the same feelings of guilt and loneliness and hopelessness that we did. We found out that we had these feelings because we had the disease of alcoholism.
We decided to try to face up to what alcohol had done to us. Here are some of the questions we tried to answer honestly. If we answered YES to four or more questions, we were in deep trouble with our drinking. See how you do.Take the Self Assessment
Answer yes or no to the following questions.
Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days? Most of us in A.A. made all kinds of promises to ourselves and to our families. We could not keep them. But when we came to A.A., we were told: “Just try not to drink today." (If you do not drink today, you cannot get drunk today.)
Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking — stop telling you what to do? In A.A. we do not tell anyone to do anything. We just talk about our own drinking, the trouble we got into, and how we stopped. We will be glad to help you, if you want us to.
Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk? We tried all kinds of ways. We made our drinks weak. Or just drank beer. Or we did not drink cocktails. Or only drank on weekends. You name it, we tried it. But if we drank anything with alcohol in it, we usually got drunk eventually.
Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year? Do you need a drink to get started, or to stop shaking? This is a pretty sure sign that you are not drinking “socially.”
Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble? At one time or another, most of us have wondered why we were not like most people, who really can take it or leave it.
Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year? Be honest! Doctors say that if you have a problem with alcohol and keep on drinking, it will get worse — never better. Eventually, you will die, or end up in an institution for the rest of your life. The only hope is to stop drinking.
Has your drinking caused trouble at home? Before we came into A.A., most of us said that it was the people or problems at home that made us drink. We could not see that our drinking just made everything worse. It never solved problems anywhere or anytime.
Do you ever try to get “extra” drinks at a party because you do not get enough? Most of us used to have a “few” before we started out if we thought it was going to be that kind of party. And if drinks were not served fast enough, we would go some place else to get more.
Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk when you don’t mean to? Many of us kidded ourselves into thinking that we drank because we wanted to. After we came into A.A., we found out that once we started to drink, we couldn’t stop.
Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking? Many of us admit now that we “called in sick” lots of times when the truth was that we were hung-over or on a drunk.
Do you have “blackouts”? A “blackout” is when we have been drinking hours or days which we cannot remember. When we came to A.A., we found out that this is a pretty sure sign of alcoholic drinking.
Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink? Many of us started to drink because drinking made life seem better, at least for a while. By the time we got into A.A., we felt trapped. We were drinking to live and living to drink. We were sick and tired of being sick and tired.
What is AA?
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, 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.
What AA Does Do
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.
The A.A. program, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
This program is discussed at A.A. group meetings.
What AA Does Not Do
Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover.
Engage in or sponsor research.
Keep attendance records or case histories.
Join councils of social agencies (although A.A. members, groups and service offices frequently cooperate with them).
Follow up or try to control its members.
Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses.
Provide detox or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment.
Offer religious services or host/sponsor retreats.
Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money, or any other welfare or social services.
Provide domestic or vocational counseling.
Accept any money for its services, or any contributions from non-A.A. sources.
Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.
Our Primary Purpose
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.
Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
Copyright Ⓒ By the A.A. Grapevine, Inc. From the June, 1947 Grapevine, published on www.lacoaa.org with Permission of the A.A. Grapevine, Inc.
Here is an FAQ for people new to AA that will help shed light on the program.
Am I an alcoholic?
If you repeatedly drink more than you intend or want to, if you get into trouble or have memory lapses when you drink, you may be an alcoholic. Only you can decide. It is often suggested, attend six meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and listen for the similarities in the stories of others.
What can I do if I am worried about my drinking?
Seek help. Alcoholics Anonymous can help. AA is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism.
What is Alcoholics Anonymous?
We are a Fellowship of men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking and have found ourselves in various kinds of trouble as a result of drinking. We attempt most of us successfully to create a satisfying way of life without alcohol. For this we find we need the help and support of other alcoholics in A.A.
If I go to an A.A. meeting, does that commit me to anything?
No. A.A. does not keep membership files, or attendance records. You do not have to reveal anything about yourself. You are always welcome; the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. We are here when you are ready for help.
What happens if I meet people I know?
They will be there for the same reason you are there. Our Traditions tell us to not disclose our identities to outsiders. You retain as much anonymity as you wish. That is one of the reasons we call ourselves Alcoholics Anonymous.
What happens at an A.A. meeting?
An A.A. meeting may take one of several forms, but at any meeting you will find alcoholics talking about what drinking did to their lives and personalities, what actions they took to help themselves, and how they are living their lives today.
How can this help me with my drinking problem?
We in A.A. know what it is like to be addicted to alcohol, and to be unable to keep promises made to others and ourselves that we will stop drinking. We are not professional therapists. Our only qualification for helping others to recover from alcoholism is that we have stopped drinking ourselves. And seeing we’ve done it is surety it is possible.
Why do A.A.s keep on going to meetings after they are cured?
We in A.A. believe there is no such thing as a cure for alcoholism. We can never return to normal drinking, and our ability to stay away from alcohol depends on maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual health. This we can achieve by going to meetings regularly and putting into practice what we learn there. In addition, we find it helps us to stay sober if we help other alcoholics; this is our Step 12.
How do I join A.A.?
You are an A.A. member if and when you say so. The only requirement for A.A.membership is a desire to stop drinking, and many of us were not very wholehearted about that when we first approached A.A.
How much does A.A. membership cost?
There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership. An A.A. group will usually have a collection during the meeting to cover expenses, such as rent, coffee, etc., and to this all members are free to contribute as much or as little as they wish, or nothing at all.
Is A.A. a religious organization?
No. Nor is it allied with any religious organization.
There’s a lot of talk about God, though, isn’t there?
The majority of A.A. members believe that we have found the solution to our drinking problem not through individual willpower, but through a power greater than ourselves. However, everyone defines this power as he or she wishes. Many people call it God, others think it is the A.A. group, still others don’t believe in it at all. There is room in A.A. for people of all shades of belief and non-belief.
Can I bring my family to an A.A. meeting?
Family members or close friends are welcome at Open A.A. meetings. Call Central Office to find out.
What advice do you give new members?
In our experience, the people who recover in A.A. are those who:
- Stay away from the first drink
- Attend A.A. meetings regularly
- Seek out the people in A.A. who have successfully stayed sober for some time
- Try to put into practice the A.A. program of recovery
- Obtain and study the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous
How can I contact A.A.?
If you are in the Los Angeles area, call Alcoholics Anonymous Central Office of Los Angeles at (323) 936-4343 and a volunteer will answer your questions and help you find a meeting. If you aren’t, look for Alcoholics Anonymous in your local telephone directory. These telephones are answered by A.A. volunteers who will be happy to answer your questions, or put you in touch with those who can. If there is no A.A. telephone service close to you, write or phone the A.A General Service Office. AA Literature published by A.A. is a resource for the recovering alcoholic and for anyone who wants to find out about Alcoholics Anonymous, its history and how it works.
Learn About AA
Here is some AA Literature you can download and read for free.