What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements.

Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.

Singleness of Purpose and Problems Other Than Alcohol
Some professionals refer to alcoholism and drug addiction as “substance abuse” or “chemical dependency.” Nonalcoholics are, therefore, sometimes introduced to A.A. and encouraged to attend A.A. meetings. Anyone may attend open A.A. meetings, but only those with a drinking problem may attend closed meetings.

A renowned psychiatrist, who served as a nonalcoholic trustee of the A.A. General Service Board, made the following statement: “Singleness of purpose is essential to the effective treatment of alcoholism. The reason for such exaggerated focus is to overcome denial. The denial associated with alcoholism is cunning, baffling, and powerful and affects the patient, helper, and the community. Unless alcoholism is kept relentlessly in the foreground, other issues will usurp everybody’s attention.”

What does AA do?

A.A. members share their experience with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem; they give person-to-person service or “sponsorship” to the alcoholic coming to A.A. from any source.

The A.A. program, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.

This program is discussed at A.A. group meetings.

Open to alcoholics and nonalcoholics. (Attendance at an open A.A. meeting is the best way to learn what A.A. is, what it does, and what it does not do.) At speaker meetings, A.A. members “tell their stories.” They describe their experiences with alcohol, how they came to A.A., and how their lives have changed as a result of Alcoholics Anonymous.
One member speaks briefly about his or her drinking experience, and then leads a discussion on A.A. recovery or any drinking-related problem anyone brings up. (Closed meetings are for A.A.s or anyone who may have a drinking problem.)
Conducted just as open discussions are, but for alcoholics or prospective A.A.s only.
Discussion of one of the Twelve Steps.
A.A. members also take meetings into correctional and treatment facilities.
A.A. members may be asked to conduct the informational meetings about A.A. as a part of A.S.A.P. (Alcohol Safety Action Project) and D.W.I. (Driving While Intoxicated) programs. These meetings about A.A. are not regular A.A. group meetings.

What AA Does Not Do

  • Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover.
  • Solicit members.
  • Engage in or sponsor research.
  • Keep attendance records or case histories.
  • Join “councils” of social agencies.
  • Follow up or try to control its members.
  • Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses.
  • Provide drying-out or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment.
  • Offer religious services or host/sponsor retreats.
  • Engage in education about alcohol.
  • Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money, or any other welfare or social services.
  • Provide domestic or vocational counseling.
  • Accept any money for its services, or any contributions from non-A.A. sources.
  • Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.

Austin AA is here to help.  Some things we offer are:

  1. Provides information regarding AA meetings, conferences and other events of interest, at the local, state, national and international levels.
  2. Provides information on volunteer opportunities in the local AA community
  3. Provides local twelfth step referrals to AA members who have volunteered for this type of service work.
  1. Merchandise and sell AA literature and anniversary medallions.
  2. Assist AA groups and other local entities in procuring speakers for various functions and events in the local community.
  3. Publish a monthly newsletter for the Austin area AA community.
  1. Provides a meeting place for Intergroup Representatives, Board of Trustees, and various District Committees, when requested.
  1. Funds and coordinates all activities related to the planning, scheduling and operation of workshops and other special events, such as the Old Timer’s Banquet.
  1. Maintains a website containing a variety of information regarding services, meetings, upcoming events and available community resources.
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