Deciding to quit alcohol is only half the battle, and compared to the other half, may be the easier part. The second half of the battle is the struggle towards sobriety, with withdrawal symptoms and urges pulling you back.
Truthfully, it’s easier just to succumb to your cravings. After all, those nasty and relentless withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable and painful. From the increased heart rate and shakiness to the dizziness, who can put up with it? At the end of the day, you’re only human, right?
What if I told you that you don’t have to walk your journey to sobriety alone? What if I told you that numerous others are struggling with the same alcoholic addiction? That those similar people are also looking for a way out and found it through a group called Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous isn’t about spilling your secrets. It’s about sharing your struggles, your hopes and having others hold your hand, as they too, seek the same.
You probably have a few questions answered before you even consider joining one. Well, below we address them for you.
What is Alcoholics Anonymous?
Alcoholics Anonymous is a self- help group created to help those suffering from alcoholism. It can also be referred to as a fellowship group where people of any gender, background, ethnicity, race or religion can join. Thanks to this, it can bring together a large group of people battling a common condition: alcoholism.
Every member comes together to share their struggles and push each other towards recovery. Since they all share a common background and a common addiction, members feel free and comfortable to participate. It doesn’t hurt that the leaders of such a program or group are former alcoholics.
How Did AA Start?
Sometime in the year 1935, Bill W and Dr Bob S, both alcoholics met and hence, founded Alcoholics Anonymous. Respectively, a New York stockbroker and surgeon, they each battled alcoholism as they watched it send their lives off the rails. Together, they found sobriety and found the basic principle and factor that leads to it.
You may be wondering what the common factor/principle is. Well, it is none other than the fact that each was facing a similar struggle. This common factor alone helped them establish similarities and theories to their problem. With this, the two gentlemen, joined by a third party, they worked with other alcoholics. In 1939, a book titled Alcoholics Anonymous was published and helped spark the growth of the fellowship group.
Its global impact and reach today is unmatched as it continues to help others recover and live a full life.
What Are the 12 Steps of the Program?
In the same way, the 12 Steps program has its known set of guiding principles, so does AA. As a member of the group, it is important to know and do your best to follow them. They include:
- Accept that you are powerless over the influence Alcohol has over your life
- Believe in a higher power
- Surrender the entirety of your struggles, needs and wills over to God
- Confess your wrongs to someone else
- Perform a moral inventory on oneself
- Continue to perform moral inventory throughout the journey to sobriety and after
- Be willing to have God restore and redeem you
- Be willing to have God deal with the vices of your character
- Seek God’s help in removing our wrongs
- List the people you’ve wronged through your addictive behavior
- Make an effort to mend the said relationships where possible
- Seek a spiritual connection with God through prayer
What is the Purpose of the 12 Principles?
After reading the above guiding principles, you’re probably wondering what they are for. What purpose do they serve?
Well, according to most, these principles act as a road map. They are designed to help an alcoholic find their way to a long- term sober and fulfilling life. Hence, by following, you will be more equipped and able to deal with triggers and cravings.
What Are the 12 Traditions of the Program?
- Eligibility: Anyone willing to stop drinking can join.
- Autonomy: This tradition allows the groups to be flexible in terms of how and where to carry out the meetings. Other things, such as what to discuss can be broadened and switched up from time to time. As long as the changes remain within the guidelines and remain focused, there’s no problem.
- Outside Enterprises
- Carrying the Message
- Self- Supporting
- Mutual Help and Support: Whatever contributions are made can be used to help others in the group if need be. Also, support can be in the form of participation with the group, through sharing and giving advice.
- External Opinions: The opinion of a group member on a matter that does not have anything to do with the main is discouraged. Members are advised to stick to topics that help others towards sobriety.
- Organization: Since this Alcoholics Anonymous is a self-supporting group, members usually make contributions to support it. A little monetary contribution goes a long way.
- Public Relations: This tradition can be worrisome, especially to those that seem anonymous. You can rest easy because this program uses Public Relations to bring people to the group. They avoid using it to expose the identity of the group members.
Who is the Program For?
Are you fed up and tired of the mess alcohol has turned your life into? Do you finally want to take control of your life, make amends and lead a better life? Have you been trying again and again to quit alcohol but keep failing miserably? If you are an alcoholic looking to recover, then this program could help you.
Is This Program Effective?
Yes, this program is incredibly effective, hence its international growth and reach. Given the facts of its origin, its ability to lead others to sobriety can hardly be refuted.