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 / Addiction Information / Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Bringing hope since 1935
Going through the 12 steps
Can anyone join AA?

Bringing Hope to Recovering Families Since 1935

If you or someone you know has a problem with alcohol, it may be time to seek help. Some common signs of alcohol dependency and addiction are:

  • Spending more money than you should on alcohol.

  • Inability to stop drinking despite wanting to.

  • You have been jailed for something related to alcohol use.

  • You are spending a great deal of your day drinking. 

  • Alcohol is impacting your life negatively.

  • Your loved ones have told you that you have a problem.


Fortunately, there is help, and you do not have to fight alone.

Alcoholics Anonymous may be an excellent place to start if you or a loved one is experiencing any negative impact from alcohol. 

Often referred to as AA- Meetings, Alcoholics Anonymous is a free, spiritual-based 12-step program and support group geared toward people struggling with alcohol.

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Going Through the 12 Steps

When participating in AA meetings, one of the first things you will be introduced to is The Big Book. The big book is where you will find the 12-steps, the foundation of Alcoholics Anonymous.


Everyone participating in the 12-step program is encouraged to go through the 12 steps, which are as follows:

  1. We admitted that we were powerless over alcohol that our lives have become unimaginable.

  2. We came to believe that a power greater than ourselves will store us to sanity.

  3. Made the decision to turn our will and our lives over to God as we understood him.

  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

  5. Admitted to God, ourselves, and another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

  6. We were entirely ready to have him remove all these defects of character.

  7. Humbly asked him to remove all our shortcomings.

  8. Made a list of all we have harmed and became willing to make amends with them all.

  9. Made the mends whenever possible, accept when to do so would injure them or someone else.

  10. Continued to take a personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admit to it.

  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we. understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His Will for us and the power to carry that out.

  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps we tried to carry this message to other alcoholics and to practice these principles in all of our affairs.

Can Anyone Join AA?

Medically Reviewed:


Rolling Hills Recovery Center

Expert Contributor

Dr. Williams presently serves on the board of Directors for two non-profit service organizations. He holds a Master’s degree in Human Services from Lincoln University, Philadelphia, Pa, and a Ph.D. with a concentration in Clinical Psychology from Union Institute and University. In Cincinnati, Ohio. He is licensed to practice addictions counseling in both New Jersey and Connecticut and has a pending application as a practicing Psychologist in New Jersey.

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Yes, Alcoholics Anonymous is open to everyone regardless of age, sex, nationality, education, or status; all are welcome to join AA meetings in their area.


What Should I do to Prepare for an AA Meeting? 

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Preparing for AA

You can prepare by setting the attention that you are ready for a life of sobriety. Remember that, as with anything, the addiction program can only be as effective as you allow it to be. Attitude, motivation, and support will go a long way in reaching your desired outcome.

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How Long Does the Program Last?

How long does AA last?

AA meetings are a continued program that lasts indefinitely. Each meeting will be at least once a week for an hour on average (some may go a little under an hour or a little over, depending on the program and what is taking place at that specific meeting). Indefinitely, you can participate in AA meetings for as long as you like. Some make AA meetings a natural part of their lives, while others stay just long enough to complete the 12-step process in full. How long you join AA meetings is entirely up to you and your specific circumstances.

AA meetings are an OUTPATIENT recovery treatment program only. This means there is no extended or overnight stay. You go to your meetings, and you go home that same day.

Will I Have a Sponsor?

AA and sponsorship

Sponsors are recovering alcoholics. They have been through a recovery program (usually a 12-step program but not always.)

They work as an accountability partner to you, someone to hold you accountable and keep you on the right track to sobriety. 



  • Are an added support system.

  • Have been clean for an extended period.

  • Are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually able to provide encouragement and support. 

  • They are not to be looked at sexually or romantically.

  • Are not a best friend or here to tell you “feel good lies.”

  • Are here to be honest, and blunt with you concerning your recovery.

  • The sole purpose is to help you on your recovery journey.

  • Are not responsible for keeping you out of trouble (that’s your job).

  • Are not obligated to provide your financial assistance.

  • They can discontinue the relationship with you if they need to do so. (You can also stop the relationship if you think you two are not compatible or feel uncomfortable about the relationship in any way).

Additional Information

Additional AA info

-AA was founded in 1935, making it one of the oldest addiction recovery groups.

-A recovering addict started AA to provide support to the families of addicts.

-Statistics show that 50% of AA members are successful at remaining sober, 25% relapse but come back, and 25% Do not attend or fail to work the program properly and thus stay in their addiction.

-Most people are referred to AA meetings more than any other recovery group.


-AA is non-profit and free of charge for anyone anywhere in the world.

-A 2018 count of AA meetings worldwide came out to be 120,300 groups and 2087,840 members (AA remains one of the most popular recovery groups.)

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How Can I Get Started?

How can I get started?

Getting started with Alcoholics Anonymous has never been easier. Since there are no pre-qualifications, initial enrollment process, screening, or cost, getting started with AA meetings is as simple as showing up for a hosted meeting in your area.


You can get started with Alcoholics Anonymous in just three simple steps:


Step 1: Locate an available meeting near you. You can do this by simply searching or checking out the local listings posted on the walls of other treatment centers, clinics, and hospitals. Many facilities will post about upcoming meetings in the area since AA is so popular.

Step 2: Once you’ve located a place offering AA meetings note the day, time, and location. AA meetings are usually hosted once a week for approximately one hour each. The time of sessions may vary depending on each facility, so be sure to get the correct time and day.

Step 3: Now that you have the location, the time & day of a meeting, all that’s left to do is SHOW UP!

Arrive at your first AA meeting on time with an open mind and heart, ready to connect with others. Remember that those there are either just like you or have been where you are. This is your new support system; they can help you with the tools you need to stay on track. It's okay to be a bit nervous at first; however, with time, you will get used to it and enjoy your AA meetings. One thing to always keep in mind is that you get back what you give out. Put forth the effort by showing up on time, never missing a meeting, coming focused and ready to learn, and being open to sharing your own experiences and things that have helped you with addiction. Doing these things gives you a high chance of staying in recovery. Ultimately it will be a combination of your effort, the support, and tools you learn in AA meetings, as well as the 12 steps that will help you on the path to sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous is just a tool; you hold the key to fundamental transformation and sobriety.

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