Alcoholics Anyonymous (AA)

I am a big fan of AA and other 12 step groups. If you are curious at all about AA (Alcoholics Anonymous), you should try it. Attending a few meetings is free and can help you find out first-hand what it’s like. There’s really nothing to lose. Only you can decide if it’s something that might be of value for you. AA is a program of suggestions, not dogma. It’s a program of ordinary people trying to give and get help—not experts telling you what to think or do.

AA began in 1935 when two very serious alcoholics realized that helping each other and a third alcoholic was the only thing that could help them to stay sober; hospitalizations, loss of financial security, extreme shame—none of these could stop them from drinking again. However, they found that helping each other could. Thus was born one of the core principles of AA: people coming together to help each other not drink is a key aspect of staying sober.

If you attend an AA meeting or two, you will hear it said that “the only requirement for membership in AA is a desire to stop drinking.” This is very important because most people believe that the only folks who attend AA meetings are the most serious alcoholics one can imagine. Yes, AA was formed by some of the most serious alcoholics one can imagine, but that has dramatically changed. Over the past 60 years, millions of people around the world have attended AA meetings long before they experienced the horrible circumstances (“low bottom”) that people often associate with addiction (i.e. prison, hospitalization, loss of family, drunk driving accidents, loss of career, liver failure, other health crises, etc.).

The concept of a “high bottom” refers to a ‘place’ people arrive at in their lives where they are having problems and decide to explore AA before they encounter any of the extreme circumstances mentioned above. This has been of enormous help to a great many people and their families, and might be of help to you. You do not have to experience dire circumstances, nor do you need to fit some caricature of “an alcoholic” before exploring whether AA can be helpful to you.

If alcohol plays a role in your life that makes you think twice, then simply attend some AA meeting and just listen to what’s going on. It’s up to you to decide for yourself whether you think it’s something you want to pursue further.