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What is the Purpose and Goal of A.A.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who are able to relate and share their experiences, strength, and hopes with each other in order to solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership, as the organization supports itself through community contributions.

Primary Purpose of A.A.

While it is well-known that the primary purpose of A.A. membership is to stay sober, there is another important component of the program: to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety, as well.

Just like addiction, A.A. is not exclusive. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, political beliefs, organization, or other institution. The sole purpose of A.A. is to help its members find sobriety. As a result, the fellowship does not engage in controversy and does not endorse or oppose any causes. Clearly, a group like A.A. has a common goal, but many members also share similar feelings and experiences. This ability to relate to one another may be the first time an individual struggling with addiction has felt heard in their struggle. This helps AA members feel hopeful that they can make a change and that treatment is possible.

Why Does A.A. Work

The answer why alcoholics anonymous is effective lies in the humble surrender to the fact that alcohol has started to control members’ lives in a detrimental way. In A.A., men and women support each other to discover and admit that they cannot control their alcohol use. In A.A., through shared experiences and personal recovery journeys, group members understand that they must live without alcohol in order to avoid disaster for themselves and those close to them.

Singleness of Purpose

  • It is important to understand that A.A. has one primary purpose: to help members stay sober and, in turn, to help others who may need help in achieving sobriety. A.A. welcomes but does not seek out, individuals. For instance, those in A.A. do not attempt to “dry up” the world. A.A. does not recruit new members but does encourage anyone seeking help to let the group help them. A.A. understands that every addict is different. In meetings, members do not impose their personal experiences with problem drinking on others. However, sharing their history and personal struggles is always available to members, as other group members can connect, relate, and grow together from understanding what another group member has been through. All alcoholics face the same basic problems, whether they are struggling with another beer or holding down an executive position in a successful company. It has been shown, time and time again, that the A.A. recovery program works for almost any alcoholic who honestly wants it to work, no matter what the individual’s background or particular drinking pattern may have been prior to joining.

The Chance to Learn from Others

  • The understanding that every addict is different is essential to the way that the A.A. community works. For example, within their membership, there are men and women of all ages and varied social, economic, and cultural backgrounds. Some members drank for many years before coming to the realization that they could no longer handle alcohol and survive its dangerous repercussions. On the other hand, other members may have been lucky enough to realize early in life that their alcohol use had become unmanageable. There is something to be gained from this diversity of experiences, as alcohol can lead individuals down many different dark roads. Some members may never have been to jail or hospitalized, while others may have been multiple times. Some may have lost their families, partners, and jobs due to their alcohol use, while others may have not. But, regardless of their experiences with alcohol, group members have ended up in recovery together.

A Better Understanding of Alcoholism

  • A.A. leads with the belief that an individual entering a meeting is the only one who can determine whether or not they were an alcoholic. Those who come to A.A. meetings have finally reached a point where they realize that alcohol has been interfering with their normal life. Members understand that they can no longer live with alcohol or the frequent risks that come with being under the influence. A.A. has a way of expressing this: “For an alcoholic, one drink is too many and a thousand are not enough.” With this perspective, there can never be any turning back to “normal” social drinking. “Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic” is a simple fact that individuals in A.A. learn to live with. The only alternative is to stop drinking completely, to abstain from even the smallest quantity of alcohol in any form. If they are willing to follow this course and to take advantage of the help available to them, a whole new life can open up for alcoholics. Alcoholism is an illness that requires perspective and acceptance.

A New Perspective to Recovery

  • It is ingrained in the A.A. community that there is nothing anyone can do about yesterday, tomorrow never comes, and today is the only day to worry about. The 24-hour plan supports the idea that members do not need to declare that they will “never” drink again. Instead, these individuals concentrate on keeping sober just for twenty-four hours. The idea here is that if we feel the urge for a drink, we neither yield nor resist. Instead, we merely put off taking that particular drink until tomorrow.

Reasons to Go to Alcoholics Anonymous

man being supported in an aa meetingMany individuals attend their first A.A. meeting when they are faced with serious consequences for their behavior. A number of these issues include, but are not limited to:

  • financial issues
  • dysfunctional family dynamics
  • job troubles
  • marital struggles
  • intimacy challenges
  • internal battles with an individual’s own identity

Alcoholics Anonymous helps guide addicts to understand that their immediate problem is alcohol. Once their alcohol use is under control and abolished from their daily lives, members who put effort into their recovery are able to more successfully approach their life problems. Solutions to these problems may not have come easily before, but living by the ideals A.A. provides, which have been proven to work for many, enables individuals to cope with what they previously numbed with substance abuse. Handling these issues and healing internal wounds is much more effective when sober than when under the influence.

For most alcoholics, it was impossible to even imagine a life without liquor. Today, through the A.A. program, individuals are taught that they do not have to feel like they are being deprived of anything.

At Boardwalk Recovery Center, our treatment is holistic and includes the opportunity to collaborate with local A.A. programs to set a strong foundation in recovery. This often includes “working the 12 steps” with a supportive sponsor. Alcoholics are now free and find that a new dimension has been added to their lives. By working towards their main goal of sobriety, alcoholics begin to feel that they have really begun to live for the first time.

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