How AA Helps Alcoholics and Addicts Around the World
The 12-step process has become ingrained into how we think about recovery. It provides substance users with a framework to structure their path to sobriety, giving them clear benchmarks to surpass and triumphs to accomplish.
But it began as a simple gesture between two men desperately seeking a connection to the world that was slipping away from them, one drink at a time.
June 10th marks the anniversary of the founding of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). To chart the history of this vital organization, let’s look back in time and walk in the footsteps of our forefathers in need.
What Led Up To Founders Day? About AA Pioneers
In the 1930s, America was caught in the oppressive grip of the Great Depression. Our economic forecast was bleak, and the pervading toll on individuals was striking. Alcoholics suffered in silence, hiding their problems as they strived to survive an uphill battle for clarity and sustenance.
Bill Wilson felt completely alone. The New York native had tried to achieve sobriety independently, but his efforts were failing. Temptation overtook him on a business trip to Ohio, and he knew he had to share his struggle with someone.
That’s where Wilson met a surgeon named Robert Holbrook Smith. The two men crossed paths in a church in Akron and vowed to help one another beat their addictions.
This pledge – this simple promise between two human beings who thoroughly understood one another’s fears and hopes – became the cornerstone on which Alcoholics Anonymous was founded.
Wilson and Smith knew they needed accountability and honesty to overcome their alcoholism. The two men stopped pretending that they could simply ignore their issues or stifle their diseases.
They also wanted to move past the regrets that dragged them back into a state of helplessness. How could they move forward if they couldn’t forgive themselves for their indiscretions?
It quickly became apparent that atonement and inventory would be incorporated into their manifesto of wellness.
The fledgling system wasn’t perfect, and neither were the men who devised it. Dr. Smith soon relapsed, relying on Wilson to help him through his withdrawals so he could perform surgery.
The friends characterized their recovery as a “one day at a time” process that would inevitably include setbacks but wouldn’t allow these stumbles to define their sobriety.
These are the philosophies that drive Alcoholics Anonymous to this day.
How Anonymity, 12 Steps, and Sponsorship Helps Alcoholics
A random encounter in an Ohio church was enough to save the lives of two men, who became known as Bill W. and Dr. Bob. They were proud of their progress but pioneered the idea of anonymity to connect to the greater community of recovering individuals.
When you shed the constructs of your identity (full name, title, history), then you can truly open up. How do you feel, what are you craving, and why do you want to leave substance abuse in the rear-view mirror? These questions tap into our universality and create conversations that focus on our shared goals.
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international network that encourages participants to share their experiences without sacrificing their identity.
By connecting like-minded individuals in a supportive, caring environment, Alcoholics Anonymous nurtures a spirit of transparency. This is fertile ground for personal growth, emotional breakthroughs, and meaningful change.
By holding one another accountable in a non-judgmental way, members of Alcoholics Anonymous forge respectful relationships that become the infrastructure for a sober new life.
Alcoholics Anonymous also encourages the sponsorship system. This allows more experienced members to mentor newer ones and guide them through the burgeoning days, months, and years of recovery.
Experience is a valuable commodity; Alcoholics Anonymous works to learn from an individual’s past and our collective journeys from substance use to healthy, productive lifestyles.
How You Can Get Involved with Alcoholics Anonymous
What began in a modest Midwest church 84 years ago has blossomed into an international web of inclusion and acceptance.
Bill W. and Dr. Bob taught one another lessons that resonate beyond Ohio, across the seas, and back to your hometown in the here and now.
Residents across the country can join a myriad of upcoming Alcoholics Anonymous gatherings, everything from studying the teachings of Bill W. to daily reflections to an open discussion in the “men’s stag” group.
No matter what stage you may find yourself in recovery, there is a place for you in the hearts and minds of other alcoholics and addicts working their recovery programs.
Upcoming Alcoholics Anonymous events include women’s group discussions, survivor stories, and trips to the aquarium.
While Founder’s Day (June 10th) is an important landmark in the history of Alcoholics Anonymous, these gatherings prove that every day is a chance to appreciate your wellness and connect with others who share your passion for life and liberation from substance use.
Recognizing a Need to Visit Alcoholics Anonymous and Enter Treatment
If you believe your alcohol consumption has become problematic, then you may benefit from the Alcoholics Anonymous approach.
Recognizing that you have an addiction can be very difficult, and many people at Alcoholics Anonymous will go years before admitting this to themselves.
However, identifying an alcohol addiction in yourself is the first step to recovery. This is always the first step to effective recovery in Alcoholics Anonymous or other therapy sessions.
There are several symptoms of alcoholism that you should be aware of if you have concerns about your drinking.
For example, you might begin to crave alcohol and find it difficult to stop thinking about it. A physical craving for alcohol is a sign that your body has become dependent.
If you think you might have an alcohol dependence, you should seek professional treatment with Zinnia Health.
Other symptoms of alcohol addiction include:
- Failing to meet your everyday responsibilities. This may include work, school, childcare, or maintaining a good standard of personal hygiene.
- Withdrawing from social groups or activities that you once enjoyed unless alcohol is involved.
- Making unhealthy or dangerous decisions while you are under the influence of alcohol. This can include taking risks that you normally wouldn’t.
- Noticing that your time is often taken up with alcohol-related activities. This can mean drinking alcohol, buying alcohol, or recovering from hangovers.
- Experiencing breakdowns in relationships with others because of your alcohol use.
- Attempting to cut down how much you drink with no success.
These are just some of the symptoms of alcohol addiction. Those who benefit from treatment or Alcoholics Anonymous meetings will often experience at least some of these symptoms.
Ways Alcoholics Anonymous and Therapeutic Treatments Can Help
If you have an alcohol use disorder, recovery can be very difficult. Often, people with alcohol addictions can find they are more likely to succeed when they have a support network in place.
Alcoholism can damage your relationships with loved ones, so you may feel you have no support network.
This is where Alcoholics Anonymous and treatment centers can be helpful.
At Alcoholics Anonymous or a treatment facility during group therapies, you’ll gain the support of others in the same position as you.
This support is invaluable and often provides a sense of community, compassion, and accountability. All these things are important for those with alcohol addiction to thrive in recovery.
Alcohol recovery is a tough journey for many, but it can be made easier with the support of others.
Building on Alcoholics Anonymous and Seeking Help
If you think you have an alcohol addiction, attending Alcoholics Anonymous can be very useful.
As addiction is a complex issue that also includes physical dependency, detoxification should also be a priority.
Detoxing alone and without the guidance of medical professionals can be very dangerous. Therefore, it is essential that you detox in a safe environment under the supervision of addiction specialists.
Alcoholics Anonymous meetings can be part of your recovery plan, and many people find they help them stay sober. A combination of treatment methods, including medicated detox and a range of therapies, will give you the best chance of success.
Seeking professional treatment can help you minimize the risks of relapsing.
Get in touch with our compassionate team at Zinnia Health today and discuss the treatment options we offer for people with alcohol addiction. You can contact us at any stage of your recovery, whether you are already attending Alcoholics Anonymous or not.