Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of men and women who help each other to stay sober. They offer the same help to anyone who has a drinking problem and wants to do something about it. Since they are all alcoholics themselves, they have a special understanding of each other. They know what the illness feels like - and they have learned how to recover from it in A.A.
A.A. members say that they are alcoholics today - even when they have not had a drink for many years. They do not say that they are "cured." Once people have lost their ability to control their drinking, they can never again be sure of drinking safely - or, in other words, they can never become "former alcoholics" or "ex-alcoholics." But in A.A., they can become sober alcoholics, recovered alcoholics.
Alcoholics Anonymous is established in over 180 countries. The people in each group get together, usually once or twice a week, to hold A.A. meetings, of two main types:
- At "open meetings," speakers tell how they drank, how they discovered A.A., and how its program has helped them. Members may bring relatives or friends, and usually anyone interested in A.A. is also welcome to attend "open meetings."
- "Closed meetings" are for alcoholics only. These are group discussions, and any members who want to may speak up, to ask questions and to share their thoughts with fellow members. At "closed meetings," A.A.s can get help with personal problems in staying sober and in everyday living. Some other A.A.s can explain how they have already handled the same problems - often by using one or more of the Twelve Steps.
From the A.A. pamphlet, "A brief guide to Alcoholics Anonymous" P-42
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