What is AA?
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 AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organisation 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.
Is AA for you? Only you can decide whether you want to give AA a try or if you think it can help you. Those of us who are in AA 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 AA members that we were sick. We found out that many people suffered from the same feelings of guilt, loneliness and hopelessness that we did. We found out that we had these feelings because we were sick with 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. See how you do. Remember, there is no disgrace in facing up to the fact that you have a problem. 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 AA made all kinds of promises to ourselves and to our families. We could not keep them. Then we came to AA and AA said: "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 AA 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 spirits. 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 a drink in the morning 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.
- Has your drinking caused trouble at home? Before we came into AA, 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.
- 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. 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 to AA, we found out that once we started to drink, we couldn't stop.
- Have you missed days off work 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 there are drinking hours or days we cannot remember. When we came into AA, 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 AA, we felt trapped. We were drinking to live and living to drink. We were sick and tired of being sick and tired.
What's your score? Did you answer yes four times or more? If so, you are probably in trouble with alcohol. Why do we say this? Because thousands of people in AA have said so for many years. They found out the truth about themselves - the hard way. Again, only you can decide whether you think AA is for you. Try to keep an open mind on the subject.
If the answer is yes, we will be glad to show you how we stopped drinking ourselves. Just call us. AA does not promise to solve your problems. But we can show you how we are learning to live without booze one day at a time. We stay away from that first drink. If there is no first one, there cannot be a tenth one. When we got rid of booze, we found that life became much more manageable.
Some Useful Resources - To help you learn more about AA and Alcoholism
> Am I an alcoholic? Take the Alcoholism Problem Quiz
> Find out more about stopping drinking
> Am I too young to be an alcoholic?
If you want to stop drinking and quit alcohol, or you would like more information to help someone else, here are some options:
- Find an AA meeting (this will open the live meetings schedule. If no meeting is shown, please come back tomorrow)
- Send us an email
- Call our help line on 0800 9177 650
- Get in touch using our Chat Now service (this will take you to the AA Great Britain website)
Alcoholics Anonymous treats every enquiry with strict anonymity, so please feel welcome and safe in our fellowship.