What is AA? AA is an acronym for Alcoholics Anonymous. 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 is A.A? 2018) The primary purpose of A.A. is to sustain their sobriety and help other alcoholics to achieve theirs. It is a free of cost membership. The only requirement for members is to stop drinking. (This is A.A., 2017) Alcoholics Anonymous is funded through the members contributions. Alcoholics Anonymous began in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, by two men, Bill Watson and Dr. Bob Smith. They founded A.A. to help others who suffered from alcoholism and to help and sustain their own sobriety. In 1939, a group of A.A. members wrote and published the book Alcohol Anonymous. This is also referred to as the Big Book. This Alcoholics Anonymous book includes a creed which is consists of twelve steps and twelve traditions that is followed to help reach sobriety. To understand how A.A. works and why it works, the Twelve Steps must be followed and understood thoroughly. It is important for members to follow these steps in order for them to succeed in this program. Alcoholics Anonymous has become the top treatment for people that have the disease of Alcoholism.
On January 10, I attended an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for the first time to better
understand the program and how it functioned. The meeting was held at 8:30 am in Hayward, CA, at a place called Triangle Fellowship. I arrived to the meeting 15 minutes early to let one of members know that I was there for observation and I was a student from Unitek College. As soon as stepped into the building I was greeted immediately. I was greeted by one members named Tomas. I asked if I can stay for observation. He gave me the permission to observe. He offered me donuts and coffee. Later I was greeted by the chairman of the meeting named Laurie. She was also an alcoholic. She told me I was welcomed to stay for their meeting and observation. I was greeted by another member named Jim. I told him that it was my first time being at an A.A. meeting. He gave a brief description on how the meetings were conducted. He gave me pamphlet showing the different locations the meetings are held and what days and the times they are held. He also showed me the Alcoholics Anonymous book that they read and follow during their meetings. The meeting began with the Serenity Prayer. There was total of 15 people at the meeting. There were 13 males and 2 females including the chairman. Most them were in their 30s and 40s. After the Serenity prayer, the Twelve Steps was read aloud by an A.A. member. After the Twelve Steps was recited, a different member recited the Twelve Traditions. After the Twelve Traditions was read aloud, each member read aloud parts of the A.A. book on a chapter that talked about employees and employers. After a member recited a part of the chapter, they were thanked by the other members in unison. Each member went around and introduced themselves by their first name and then stated that they were an alcoholic. After the chapter was finished, sharing was next that followed. This was the time in the meeting where members can share their experiences related to the chapter they have read or personal stories on how this program affected their lives. A member stated that if it wasn’t for this program they wouldn’t know where they would be today. Another member shared a story about his anniversary with his wife. They spent their anniversary at a restaurant and it was their first time going out not having a drink. He stated that not once did they thought about having a drink and they felt normal. He also he starts his days off right by going to these meetings and how these meetings changed his life and help keep him sober. Another member named Ellen shared her story and how this program saved her life. She stated she has been sober for almost three years. She stated that going to these meetings and praying to God helps maintain her sobriety and help others to stay sober. She states that alcoholism is a disease in which it can play with your mind and how the disease can tell you to have a drink if you see one. She also shared that if wasn’t for this program, she would still be drinking and doing drugs. Not every member at the meeting shared their story, but it was great getting a chance to hear their personal experiences. After hearing these stories, it changed my whole perception on alcoholism and how much affect it can put on a person. After everybody got a chance to share what they wanted to share, the chairman gave announcements. A basket was passed around for contributions. The meeting ended with everyone came together holding hands in a circle praying aloud the Our Father’s Prayer. The meeting was well organized and held in a clean environment. Every member was nice and respectful. The chairman, along with a few other members, were all willing to answer any questions that we wanted to ask. Everyone seemed as if they really wanted to be there and to stay sober. After the meeting the was over, I thanked the chairman for letting me stay for observation. She told me I am always welcomed to come to their meeting or refer anyone for treatment of alcoholism. I told her that before attending the meeting, I had no knowledge about A.A. and after observing It changed my whole perception on alcoholism.
In conclusion, Alcoholics Anonymous has proven to be the most effective way of helping
alcoholics stay sober. Anyone can be helped by A.A. but they must have the desire to quit drinking. Alcoholism is a disease which cannot be cured but which can be stopped. Although it is difficult, more research should be done to determine under what situations and what types of alcoholics will benefit from Alcoholics Anonymous. Once more research is done defining the hole of men and women, and young and old alcoholics will be clearer.