Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 in the United States as a self help group for dependent drinkers. AA began its work in Britain in 1948. It provides about 3,000 meetings in England and Wales. Averaging 15 meetings per week for each Health District. In addition to meetings for alcoholics there are also support groups for the spouses, partners (Alanon) and children (Alateen) of alcoholics. The proportion of female attenders has roughly kept pace with the increase in rates of female drinking problems.
Alcoholics Anonymous Meetings
At AA meetings speakers share their experiences with the group by telling their stories. Related to their drinking, coping strategies, strengths and the commitment it took to remain sober. Other members can learn from these stories and strategies. They share their stories and strengths as well. Giving coherence and meaning to events, and providing hope for the future.
The effectiveness of Alcoholics Anonymous
There are several difficulties in estimating the success of Alcoholics Anonymous in its help for those who identify themselves as being alcoholics as Alcoholics Anonymous does not sponsor research. It has no affiliation with outside enterprise. AA has a high level of autonomy.
Anonymity is insisted upon in the fellowship. Therefore it is difficult for professionals to access the effectiveness of AA. However, while disputes may rage about the effectiveness and appropriateness of AA. It is certain that Alcoholics Anonymous has been proven to assist abstinence for many people who suffer with alcoholism. Thus, professionals who come into contact with people suffering with alcohol problems should become familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous. You need to utilise this self help resource whenever possible.
Reactions to Alcoholics Anonymous
People attending a first AA meeting can react to it in one of several ways. For some. The lucky ones – their first meeting is like a revelation. They understand the message. Are desperate to hear it. They give up alcohol from that moment and have remained abstinent thereafter.
Others react differently. Some understand the message and understand that it has its merits. But for whatever reason they find it difficult to stop drinking at that point. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Members do not have to have already stopped. If these people keep on attending AA they may eventually have the strength and/or desperation to stop drinking. In addition, they may get this strength from a spell in a rehab clinic. Which can help break the cycle of their destructive drinking
Others decide AA is not for the because they can latch onto the mention of ‘God’ in the Twelve Step Programme. This can be the ostensible reason for their rejecting AA. It is not a religious programme at all. It is a spiritual programme and recognises that many alcoholics are spiritually depleted, feeling low in self worth and utterly bereft and miserable. This is what AA seeks to address. Thus suggesting that there is something outside ourselves which is ‘a power greater than ourselves’ and find some sort of ‘higher power’ that has helped many alcoholics go on to lead a happy sober life.
Call the Haynes Clinic on 01462 851414 for confidential advice with your addiction. We can help people who suffer from addiction to alcohol, drugs, food and gambling. You can book a free assessment with us and come and look around our clinic with no obligations. You can alternatively just call us, if alcohol rehab is not an option and we can guide you to the services that are available to you in your area.
Call the Haynes Clinic on 01462 851414