Choosing to Take the Twelve Steps

Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) is a self-help organization that operates worldwide. In the United States alone it is estimated that there are 1 million members. The Twelve Steps are a guide for individuals struggling with addiction and are meant to be worked on in the order presented. A.A. has a spiritual basis but does not pressure its members into accepting any particular spiritual beliefs.

The only requirement for a person to join A.A. is a desire to stop drinking. According to A.A., abstinence is the only successful approach to managing alcoholism. There are no dues or financial charges to belong to A.A. and it is not associated with any other organization. A.A. meetings are run by group members, not professionals.

Many studies have been carried out in an attempt to determine the level of effectiveness in using the Twelve Steps of A.A. in the treatment of alcoholism. Results have varied, ranging from A.A. being highly effective to A.A. making no difference whatsoever. The bottom line seems to be that A.A. is quite effective for those who attend meetings regularly and commit to the process.


Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) was founded in 1935 by Bill W., a stockbroker in New York City, and Dr. Bob S., a surgeon from Akron, Ohio. Both of these men suffered from severe alcoholism and had not found relief in any other treatments available at that time. Thus they formed their own self-help group based on the concept of abstinence.

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