“Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for Alcoholics Anonymous membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Alcoholics Anonymous is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.” (Wilson, 1939)
The goal of Alcoholics Anonymous is to prevent substance abuse and to promote sobriety. The main ways that Alcoholics Anonymous pursues its goal is through AA meetings, sponsorship, and working the 12-steps. Typically, a newly sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous is going to get a sponsor that will take him through the 12-steps, his sponsor will strongly suggest that he goes to ninety AA meetings during his first 90 days. Alcoholics Anonymous is funded by its members through donations. A normal donation is $1-$2 per meeting. As mentioned in step twelve, the message of Alcoholics Anonymous is carried to alcoholics by its members. Members of Alcoholics Anonymous are also called “pigeons”, as a pigeon carries a message. Recovery rates of members that actually work a program and follow the principles of AA have been reported upwards of 50% after a 24 month follow-up. (Bridgeman and McQueen, 1987, p 124).
Alcoholics Anonymous works if a person is willing to get a sponsor, work the steps, do service work, go to meetings on a regular basis, get connected into the Alcoholics Anonymous community, and follow the Alcoholics Anonymous principles in all affairs. As stated in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, “Rarely we have we seen a persona fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves.” The main problem with Alcoholics Anonymous is that a person needs to be willing to go to any lengths to get sober. This means that he will need to do everything prescribed by the Big Book and by his sponsor. This means that he will need to humble himself and take instructions, even when he doesn’t agree.