Information on Alcoholics AnonymousFOR ANYONE NEW COMING TO A.A.,
FOR ANYONE REFERRING PEOPLE TO A.A.
This information is both for people who may have a drinking problem and for those in contact with people who have, or are suspected of having, a problem. Most of the information is available in more detail in literature published by A.A. World Services, Inc. A list of recommended pamphlets and Guidelines is given on the other side of this sheet. This tells what to expect from Alcoholics Anonymous. It describes what A.A. is, what A.A. does, and what A.A. does not do.
WHAT IS A.A.?
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, non-denominational, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who want to do something about his or her drinking problem.
WHAT DOES A.A. DO?
In the last years, A.A. groups have welcomed many new members from court programs and treatment facilities. Some have come to A.A voluntarily; others, under a degree of pressure. In our pamphlet "How A.A. Members Cooperate," the following appears:
We cannot discriminate against any prospective A.A. members, even if he or she comes to us under pressure from a court, an employer, or any other agency.PROOF OF ATTENDANCE AT MEETINGS
Sometimes, courts ask for proof of attendance at A.A. meetings.
Some groups, with the consent of the prospective members, have the A.A. group secretary sign or initial a slip that has been furnished by the gourt together with a self-addressed court envelope. The referred person supplies identification and mails the slip back to the court as proof of attendance.
Other groups cooperate in different ways. There is no set procedure. The nature and extent of any group's involvement in this process is entirely up to the individual group.
This proof of attendance at meetings is not part of A.A.'s procedure. Each group is autonomous and has the right to choose whether or not to sign court slips. In some areas the attendees report on themselves, at the request of the referring agency, and thus alleviate breaking A.A. members' anonymity.
THE NONALCOHOLIC ADDICT
Many treatment centers today combine alcoholism and drug addiction under "substance abuse" or "chemical dependence." Patients (both alcoholic and nonalcoholic) are introduced to A.A. and encouraged to attend A.A. meetings when they leave. As stated earlier, anyone may attend open A.A. meetings. But only those with a drinking problem may attend closed meetings or become A.A. members. People with problem other than alcoholism are eligible for A.A. membership only if they have a drinking problem.
Dr. Vincent Dole, a pioneer in methadone treatment for heroin addicts and for several years a trustee on the General Service Board of A.A., made the following statement: "The source of strength in A.A. is its single-mindedness. The mission of A.A. is to help alcoholics. A.A. limits what it is demanding of itself and its associates, and its success lies in its limited target. To belive that the process that is successful in one line guarantees success for another would be a very serious mistake." Consequently, we welcome the opportunity to share A.A. experience with those who would like to develop Twelve Step/Twelve Tradition programs for the nonalcoholic addict by using A.A. methods.
WHAT A.A. DOES NOT DO
A.A. does not:
The primary purpose of A.A. is to carry our message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking help. Almost every alcoholism treatment tries to help the alcoholic maintain sobriety. Regardless of the road we follow, we all head for the same destination, recovery of the alcoholic person. Together, we can do what none of us could accomplish alone.
We can serve as a source of personal experience and be an ongoing support system for recovering alcoholics.