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This is A.A. General Service
Copyright © 1952 by Works Publishing, Inc.
known as A.A. World Services, Inc.)
All Right Reserved
and Answers About Alcoholics Anonymous
Several million people have probably
heard or read about Alcoholics Anonymous since its beginnings in 1935. Some are
relatively familiar with the program of recovery from alcoholism that has helped
more than 2,000,000 problem drinkers. Others have only a vague impression that
A.A. is some sort of organization that somehow helps drunks stop drinking.
This pamphlet is designed for those who
are interested in A.A. for themselves, for a friend or relative, or simply
because they wish to be better informed about this unusual Fellowship. Included
on the following pages are answers to many of the specific questions that have
been asked about A.A. in the past. They add up to the story of a loosely knit
society of men and women who have one great interest in common: the desire to
stay sober themselves and to help other alcoholics who seek help for their
The thousands of men and women who have
come into A.A. in recent years are not altruistic do-gooders. Their eagerness
and willingness to help other alcoholics may be termed enlightened
self-interest. Members of A.A. appreciate that their own sobriety is largely
dependent on continuing contact with alcoholics.
After reading this pamphlet, you may
have questions that do not seem to be answered fully in this brief summary. A.A.
groups in many metropolitan areas have a central or intergroup office, listed in
the telephone book under "Alcoholics Anonymous." It can direct you to
the nearest A.A. meeting, where members will be glad to give you additional
information. In smaller communities, a single group may have a telephone
listing. If there is no A.A. group near you, feel free to write direct to Box
459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163. You can be sure that your
anonymity will be protected.
Not too long ago, alcoholism was viewed
as a moral problem. Today, many regard it primarily as a health problem. To each
problem drinker, it will always remain an intensely personal matter. Alcoholics
who approach A.A. frequently ask questions that apply to their own experience,
their own fears, and their own hopes for a better way of life.
What is alcoholism?
There are many different ideas about
what alcoholism really is.
The explanation that seems to make sense
to most A.A. members is that alcoholism is an illness, a progressive illness,
which can never be cured but which, like some other diseases, can be arrested.
Going one step further, many A.A.s feel that the illness represents the
combination of a physical sensitivity to alcohol and a mental obsession with
drinking, which, regardless of consequences, cannot be broken by willpower
Before they are exposed to A.A., many
alcoholics who are unable to stop drinking think of themselves as morally weak
or, possibly, mentally unbalanced. The A.A. concept is that alcoholics are sick
people who can recover if they will follow a simple program that has proved
successful for more than one and a half million men and women.
Once alcoholism has set in, there is
nothing morally wrong about being ill. At this stage, free will is not involved,
because the sufferer has lost the power of choice over alcohol. The important
thing is to face the facts of one's illness and to take advantage of the help
that is available. There must also be a desire to get well. Experience shows
that the A.A. program will work for all alcoholics who are sincere in their
efforts to stop drinking; it usually will not work for those not absolutely
certain that they want to stop.
can I tell if I am really an alcoholic?
Only you can make that decision. Many
who are now in A.A. have previously been told that they were not alcoholics,
that all they needed was more willpower, a change of scenery, more rest, or a
few new hobbies in order to straighten out. These same people finally turned to
A.A. because they felt, deep down inside, that alcohol had them licked and that
they were ready to try anything that would free them from the compulsion to
Some of these men and women went through
terrifying experiences with alcohol before they were ready to admit that alcohol
was not for them. They became derelicts, stole, lied, cheated, and even killed
while they were drinking. They took advantage of their employers and abused
their families. They were completely unreliable in their relations with others.
They wasted their material, mental, and spiritual assets.
Many others with far less tragic records
have turned to A.A., too. They have never been jailed or hospitalized. Their
too-heavy drinking may not have been noticed by their closest relatives and
friends. But they knew enough about alcoholism as a progressive illness to scare
them. They joined A.A. before they had paid too heavy a price.
There is a saying in A.A. that there is
no such thing as being a little bit alcoholic. Either you are, or you are not.
And only the individual involved can say whether or not alcohol has become an
3. Can an
alcoholic ever drink 'normally' again?
So far as can be determined, no one who
has become an alcoholic has ever ceased to be an alcoholic. The mere fact of
abstaining from alcohol for months or even years has never qualified an
alcoholic to drink "normally" or socially. Once the individual has
crossed the borderline from heavy drinking to irresponsible alcoholic drinking,
there seems to be no retreat. Few alcoholics deliberately try to drink
themselves into trouble, but trouble seems to be the inevitable consequence of
an alcoholic's drinking. After quitting for a period, the alcoholic may feel it
is safe to try a few beers or a few glasses of light wine. This can mislead the
person into drinking only with meals. But it is not too long before the
alcoholic is back in the old pattern of too-heavy drinking in spite of all
efforts to set limits for only moderate, social drinking.
The answer, based on A.A. experience, is
that if you are an alcoholic, you will never be able to control your drinking
for any length of time. That leaves two paths open: to let your drinking become
worse and worse with all the damaging results that follow, or to quit completely
and to develop a new pattern of sober, constructive living.
an A.A. member drink even beer?
There are, of course, no musts in A.A.,
and no one checks up on members to determine whether or not they are drinking
anything. The answer to this question is that if a person is an alcoholic,
touching alcohol in any form cannot be risked. Alcohol is alcohol whether it is
found in a martini, a Scotch and soda, a bourbon and branch water, a glass of
champagne — or a short beer. For the alcoholic, one drink of alcohol in any
form is likely to be too much, and twenty drinks are not enough.
To be sure of sobriety, alcoholics
simply have to stay away from alcohol, regardless of the quantity, mixture, or
concentration they may think they can control.
Obviously, few persons are going to get
drunk on one or two bottles of beer. The alcoholic knows this as well as the
next person. But alcoholics may convince themselves that they are simply going
to take two or three beers and then quit for the day. Occasionally, they may
actually follow this program for a number of days or weeks, Eventually, they
decide that as long as they are drinking, they may as well "do a good
job." So they increase their consumption of beer or wine. Or they switch to
hard liquor. And again, they are back where they started.
5. I can
stay sober quite a while between binges; how can I tell whether I need A.A.?
Most A.A.s will say that it's how you
drink, not how often, that determines whether or not you are an alcoholic. Many
problem drinkers can go weeks, months, and occasionally years between their
bouts with liquor. During their periods of sobriety, they may not give alcohol a
second thought. Without mental or emotional effort, they are able to take it or
leave it alone, and they prefer to leave it alone.
Then, for some unaccountable reason, or
for no reason at all, they go off on a first-class binge. They neglect job,
family, and other civic and social responsibilities. The spree may last a single
night, or it may be prolonged for days or weeks. When it is over, the drinker is
usually weak and remorseful, determined never to let it happen again. But it
does happen again.
This type of "periodic"
drinking is baffling, not only to those around the drinker, but also to the
person still drinking. He or she cannot understand why there should be so little
interest in alcohol during the periods between binges, or so little control over
it once the drinking starts.
The periodic drinker may or may not be
an alcoholic. But if drinking has become unmanageable and if the periods between
binges are becoming shorter, chances are the time has come to face up to the
problem. If the person is ready to admit to being an alcoholic, then the first
step has been taken toward the continuing sobriety enjoyed by thousands upon
thousands of A.A.s.
say I am not an alcoholic. But my drinking seems to be getting worse. Should I
Many members of A.A., during their
drinking days, were assured by relatives, friends, and doctors that they were
not alcoholics. The alcoholic usually adds to the problem by an unwillingness to
realistically face the facts of drinking. By not being completely honest, the
problem drinker makes it difficult for a doctor to provide any help. The amazing
thing, in fact, is that so many doctors have been able to penetrate the typical
problem drinker's deceptions and diagnose the problem correctly.
It cannot be emphasized too often that
the important decision — am I an alcoholic? — has to be made by the drinker.
Only he or she — not the doctor, the family, or friends — can make it. But
once it is made, half the battle for sobriety is won. If the question is left to
others to decide, the alcoholic may be dragging out needlessly the dangers and
misery of uncontrollable drinking.
7. Can a
person achieve sobriety all alone by reading A.A. literature?
A few people have stopped drinking after
reading Alcoholics Anonymous, the A.A. "Big Book," which sets forth
the basic principles of the recovery program. But nearly all of those who were
in a position to do so promptly sought out other alcoholics with whom to share
their experience and sobriety.
The A.A. program works best for the
individual when it is recognized and accepted as a program involving other
people. Working with other alcoholics in the local A.A. group, problem drinkers
seem to learn more about their problem and how to handle it. The find themselves
surrounded by others who share their past experiences, their present problems,
and their hopes. They shed the feelings of loneliness that may have been an
important factor in their compulsion to drink.
everyone know I am an alcoholic if I come into A.A.?
Anonymity is and always has been the
basis of the A.A. program. Most members, after they have been in A.A. awhile,
have no particular objection if the word gets around that they have joined a
fellowship that enables them to stay sober. Traditionally, A.A.s never disclose
their association with the movement in print, on the air, or through any other
public media. And no one has the right to break the anonymity of another member.
This means that the newcomer can turn to
A.A. with the assurance that no newfound friends will violate confidences
relating to his or her drinking problem. The older members of the group
appreciate how the newcomer feels. They can remember their own fears about being
identified publicly with what seems to be a terrifying word -
Once in A.A., newcomers may be slightly
amused at those past worries about its becoming generally known that they have
stopped drinking. When alcoholics drink, news of their escapades travels with
remarkable speed. Most alcoholics have made names for themselves as full-fledged
drunks by the time they turn to A.A. Their drinking, with rare exceptions, is
not likely to be a well-kept secret. Under these circumstances, it would be
unusual indeed if the good news of the alcoholic's continuing sobriety did not
also cause comment.
Whatever the circumstances, no
disclosure of the newcomer's, affiliation with A.A. can rightfully be made by
anyone but the newcomer, and then only in such a way that the Fellowship will
not be harmed.
can I get along in business, where I have to make a lot of social contacts, if I
Social drinking has become an accepted
part of business enterprise in many fields these days. Many contacts with
customers and prospective customers are timed to coincide with occasions when
cocktails, highballs, or cordials seem the appropriate order of the day or
night. Many now in A.A. would be the first to concede that they had often
transacted important business in bars, cocktail lounges, or hotel rooms or even
during parties in private homes.
It is surprising, however, how much of
the world's work is accomplished without the benefit of alcohol. It is equally
surprising to many alcoholics to discover how many recognized leaders in
business, industry, professional life, and the arts have attained success
without dependence on alcohol.
In fact, many who are now sober in A.A.
admit that they used "business contacts" as one of several excuses for
drinking. Now that they no longer drink, they find that they can actually
accomplish more than they used to. Sobriety has proved no hindrance to their
ability to win friends and influence people who might contribute to their
This does not mean that all A.A.s
suddenly avoid their friends or business associates who drink. If a friend wants
a cocktail or two before lunch, the A.A. will usually take a soft drink, coffee,
or one of the popular juices. If the A.A. is invited to a cocktail party being
given for business reasons, there will generally be no hesitation about
attending. The alcoholic knows from experience that most of the other guests are
concerned with their own drinks, and are not likely to care particularly what
anyone else happens to be drinking.
While beginning to take pride in the
quality and quantity of work on the job, the newcomer to A.A. is likely to find
that the payoff in most lines of business is still based on performance. This
was not always apparent in the drinking days. The alcoholic may then have been
convinced that charm, ingenuity, and conviviality were the chief keys to
business success. While these qualities are undoubtedly helpful to the person
who drinks in a controlled manner, they are not enough for the alcoholic, if
only because the latter, while drinking, is inclined to assign to them far more
importance than they deserve.
A.A. work for the person who has really 'hit bottom'?
The record shows that A.A. will work for
almost anyone who really wants to stop drinking, no matter what the person's
economic or social background may be. A.A. today includes among its members many
who have been on skid row, in jails, and in other public institutions.
The down-and-outer is at no disadvantage
in coming to A.A. His or her basic problem, the thing that has made life
unmanageable, is identical with the central problem of every other member of
A.A. The worth of a member in A.A. is not judged on the basis of the clothes
worn, the handling of language, or the size (or existence) of the bank balance.
The only thing that counts in A.A. is whether or not the newcomer really wants
to stop drinking. If the desire is there, the person will be welcomed. Chances
are, the most rugged drinking story the new member could tell will be topped by
an amazing number of people in the group, with similar backgrounds and
alcoholics who are already sober ever join A.A.?
Most men and women turn to A.A. when
they hit the low point in their drinking careers. But this is not always the
case. A number of persons have joined the Fellowship long after they have had
what they hoped was their last drink. One person, recognizing that alcohol could
not be controlled, had been dry for six or seven years before becoming a member.
Self-enforced sobriety had not been a happy experience. Rising tension and a
series of upsets over minor problems of daily living were about to lead to
further experiments with alcohol, when a friend suggested that A.A. should be
investigated. Since then, this person has been a member for many years, and says
there is no comparison between the happy sobriety of today and the self-pitying
sobriety of yesterday.
Others report similar experiences. While
they know that it is possible to stay grimly sober for considerable periods of
time, they say that it is much easier for them to enjoy and strengthen their
sobriety when they meet and work with other alcoholics in A.A. Like most members
of the human race, they see little point in deliberately doing things the hard
way. Given the choice of sobriety with or without A.A., they deliberately choose
is A.A. interested in problem drinkers?
Members of A.A. have a selfish interest
in offering a helping hand to other alcoholics who have not yet achieved
sobriety. First, they know from experience that this type of activity, usually
referred to as "Twelfth Step work," helps them to stay sober. Their
lives now have a great and compelling interest. Very likely, reminders of their
own previous experience with alcohol help them to avoid the overconfidence that
could lead to a relapse. Whatever the explanation, A.A.s who give freely of
their time and effort to help other alcoholics seldom have trouble preserving
their own sobriety.
A.A.s are anxious to help problem
drinkers for a second reason: It gives them an opportunity to square their debt
to those who helped them. It is the only practical way in which the individual's
debt to A.A. can ever be repaid. The A.A. member knows that sobriety cannot be
bought and that there is no long-term lease on it. The A.A. does know, however,
that a new way of life without alcohol may be had simply for the asking, if it
is honestly wanted and willingly shared with those who follow.
Traditionally, A.A. never
"recruits" members, never urges that anyone should become a member,
and never solicits or accepts outside funds.
Fellowship of A.A.
If the newcomer is satisfied that he or
she is an alcoholic and that A.A. may be able to help, then a number of specific
questions about the nature, structure, and history of the movement itself
usually come up. Here are some of the most common ones.
is Alcoholics Anonymous?
There are two practical ways to describe
A.A. The first is the familiar description of purposes and objectives that
"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 A.A. membership; we are self-supporting
through our own contributions. A.A. 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 achieve sobriety."
The "common problem" is
alcoholism. The men and women who consider themselves members of A.A. are, and
always will be, alcoholics, even though they may have other addictions. They
have finally recognized that they are no longer able to handle alcohol in any
form; they now stay away from it completely. The important thing is that they do
not try to deal with the problem single-handedly. They bring the problem out
into the open with other alcoholics. This sharing of "experience, strength
and hope" seems to be the key element that makes it possible for them to
live without alcohol and, in most cases, without even wanting to drink.
The second way to describe Alcoholics
Anonymous is to outline the structure of the Society. Numerically, A.A. consists
of more than 2,000,000 men and women, in 150 countries. These people meet in
local groups that range in size from a handful of ex-drinkers in some localities
to many hundreds in larger communities.
In the populous metropolitan areas,
there may be scores of neighborhood groups, each holding its own regular
meetings. Many A.A. meetings are open to the public; some groups also hold
"closed meetings," where members are encouraged to discuss problems
that might not be fully appreciated by nonalcoholics.
The local group is the core of the A.A.
Fellowship. Its open meetings welcome alcoholics and their families in an
atmosphere of friendliness and helpfulness. There are now more than 97,000
groups throughout the world, including hundreds in hospitals, prisons, and other
did A.A. get started?
Alcoholics Anonymous had its beginnings
in Akron in 1935 when a New Yorker on business there and successfully sober for
the first time in years sought out another alcoholic. During his few months of
sobriety, the New Yorker had noticed that his desire to drink lessened when he
tried to help other drunks to get sober. In Akron, he was directed to a local
doctor with a drinking problem. Working together, the businessman and the doctor
found that their ability to stay sober seemed closely related to the amount of
help and encouragement they were able to give other alcoholics.
For four years, the new movement,
nameless and without any organization or descriptive literature, grew slowly.
Groups were established in Akron, New York, Cleveland, and a few other centers.
In 1939, with the publication of the
book Alcoholics Anonymous, from which the Fellowship derived its name, and as
the result of the help of a number of nonalcoholic friends, the Society began to
attract national and international attention.
A service office was opened in New York
City to handle the thousands of inquiries and requests for literature that pour
in each year.
there any rules in A.A.?
The absence of rules, regulations, or
musts is one of the unique features of A.A. as a local group and as a worldwide
fellowship. There are no bylaws that say a member has to attend a certain number
of meetings within a given period.
Understandably, most groups have an
unwritten tradition that anyone who is still drinking, and boisterous enough to
disturb a meeting, may be asked to leave; the same person will be welcomed back
at any time when not likely to disrupt a meeting. Meanwhile, members of the
group will do their best to help bring sobriety to the person if there is a
sincere desire to stop drinking.
does membership in A.A. cost?
Membership in A.A. involves no financial
obligations of any kind. The A.A. program of recovery from alcoholism is
available to anyone who has a desire to stop drinking, whether he or she is flat
broke or the possessor of millions.
Most local groups "pass the
hat" at meetings to defray the cost of renting a meeting place and other
meeting expenses, including coffee, sandwiches, cakes, or whatever else may be
served. In a large majority of the groups, part of the money thus collected is
voluntarily contributed to A.A.'s national and international services. These
group funds are used exclusively for services designed to help new and
established groups and to spread the word of the A.A. recovery program to
"the many alcoholics who still don't know."
The important consideration is that
membership in A.A. is in no way contingent upon financial support of the
Fellowship. Many A.A. groups have, in fact, placed strict limitations on the
amount that can be contributed by any member. A.A. is entirely self-supporting,
and no outside contributions are accepted.
A.A. has no officers or executives who
wield power or authority over the Fellowship. There is no "government"
in A.A. It is obvious, however, that even in an informal organization, certain
jobs have to be done. In the local group, for example, someone has to arrange
for a suitable meeting place; meetings have to be scheduled and programmed;
provision has to be made for serving the coffee and snacks that contribute so
much to the informal comradeship of A.A. gatherings; many groups also consider
it wise to assign to someone the responsibility of keeping in touch with the
national and international development of A.A.
When a local group is first formed,
self-appointed workers may take over responsibility for these tasks, acting
informally as servants of the group. As soon as possible, however, these
responsibilities are, by election, rotated to others in the group for limited
periods of service. A typical A.A. group may have a chairperson, a secretary, a
program committee, a food committee, a treasurer, and a general service
representative who acts for the group at regional or area meetings. Newcomers
who have a reasonable period of sobriety behind them are urged to take part in
handling group responsibilities.
At the national and international
levels, there are also specific jobs to be done. Literature has to be written,
printed, and distributed to groups and individuals who ask for it. Inquiries
from both new and established groups have to be answered. Individual requests
for information about A.A. and its program of recovery from alcoholism have to
be filled. Assistance and information have to be provided for doctors, members
of the clergy, business people, and directors of institutions. Sound public
relations must be established and maintained in dealing with press, radio,
television, motion pictures, and other communications media.
To provide for the sound growth of A.A.,
early members of the Society, together with nonalcoholic friends, established a
custodial board - now known as the General Service Board of Alcoholics
Anonymous. The board serves as the custodian of A.A. Traditions and overall
service, and it assumes responsibility for the service standards of A.A.'s
General Service Office at New York.
The link between the board and the A.A.
groups of the U.S. and Canada is the A.A. General Service Conference. The
Conference, comprising about 92 delegates from A.A. areas, the 21 trustees on
the board, General Service Office staff members, and others, meets for several
days each year. The Conference is exclusively a consultative service agency. It
has no authority to regulate or govern the Fellowship.
Thus the answer to "Who runs
A.A.?" is that the Society is a uniquely democratic movement, with no
central government and only a minimum of formal organization.
A.A. a religious society?
A.A. is not a religious society, since
it requires no definite religious belief as a condition of membership. Although
it has been endorsed and approved by many religious leaders, it is not allied
with any organization or sect. Included in its membership are Catholics,
Protestants, Jews, members of other major religious bodies, agnostics, and
The A.A. program of recovery from
alcoholism is undeniably based on acceptance of certain spiritual values. The
individual member is free to interpret those values as he or she thinks best, or
not to think about them at all.
Most members, before turning to A.A.,
had already admitted that they could not control their drinking. Alcohol had
become a power greater than themselves, and it had been accepted on those terms.
A.A. suggests that to achieve and maintain sobriety, alcoholics need to accept
and depend upon another Power recognized as greater than themselves. Some
alcoholics choose to consider the A.A. group itself as the power greater than
themselves; for many others, this Power is God — as they, individually,
understand Him; still others rely upon entirely different concepts of a Higher
Some alcoholics, when they first turn to
A.A., have definite reservations about accepting any concept of a Power greater
than themselves. Experience shows that, if they will keep an open mind on the
subject and keep coming to A.A. meetings, they are not likely to have too
difficult a time in working out an acceptable solution to this distinctly
A.A. a temperance movement?
No. A.A. has no relation to temperance
movements. A.A. "neither endorses nor opposes any causes." This
phrase, from the widely accepted outline of the purpose of the Society,
naturally applies to the question of so-called temperance movements. The
alcoholic who has become sober and is attempting to follow the A.A. recovery
program has an attitude toward alcohol that might be likened to the attitude of
a hayfever sufferer toward goldenrod.
While many A.A.s appreciate that alcohol
may be all right for most people, they know it to be poison for them. The
average A.A. has no desire to deprive anyone of something that, properly
handled, is a source of pleasure. The A.A. merely acknowledges being personally
unable to handle the stuff.
there many women alcoholics in A.A.?
The number of women who are finding help
in A.A. for their drinking problem increases daily. Approximately one-third of
present-day members are women; among newcomers, the proportion has been rising
steadily. Like the men in the Fellowship, they represent every conceivable
social background and pattern of drinking.
The general feeling seems to be that a
woman alcoholic faces special problems. Because society has tended to apply
different standards to the behavior of women, some women may feel that a greater
stigma is attached to their uncontrolled use of alcohol.
A.A. makes no distinctions of this type.
Whatever her age, social standing, financial status, or education, the woman
alcoholic, like her male counterpart, can find understanding and help in A.A.
Within the local group setup, women A.A.s play the same significant roles that
there many young people in A.A.?
One of the most heartening trends in the
growth of A.A. is the fact that more and more young men and women are being
attracted to the program before their problem drinking results in complete
disaster. Now that the progressive nature of alcoholism is better appreciated,
these young people recognize that, if one is an alcoholic, the best time to
arrest the illness is in its early stages.
In the first days of the movement, it
was commonly thought that the only logical candidates for A.A. were those men
and women who had lost their jobs, had hit skid row, had completely disrupted
their family fives, or had otherwise isolated themselves from normal social
relationships over a period of years.
Today, many of the young people turning
to A.A. are in their twenties. Some are still in their teens. The majority of
them still have jobs and families. Many have never been jailed or committed to
institutions. But they have seen the handwriting on the wall. They recognize
that they are alcoholics, and they see no point in letting alcoholism run its
inevitable disastrous course with them.
Their need for recovery is just as
compelling as that of the older men and women who had no opportunity to turn to
A.A. in their youth. Once they are in A.A., the young people and the oldsters
are rarely conscious of their age differentials. In A.A., both groups start a
new life from the same milestone - their last drink.
The local group meeting is the center
and heart of the A.A. Fellowship. It is, in many ways, a unique type of
gathering and one that is likely to seem strange to the newcomer. The questions
and answers that follow suggest how the A.A. meeting functions and how the
newcomer fits into the group picture.
does a person join A.A.?
No one "joins" A.A. in the
usual sense of the term. No application for membership has to be filled out. In
fact, many groups do not even keep membership records. There are no initiation
fees, no dues, no assessments of any kind.
Most people become associated with A.A.
simply by attending the meetings of a particular local group. Their introduction
to A.A. may have come about in one of several ways. Having come to the point in
their drinking where they sincerely wanted to stop, they may have gotten in
touch with A.A. voluntarily. They may have called the local A.A. office fisted
in the phone book, or they may have written to the General Service Office, Box
459, Grand Central Station, New York, NY 10163.
Others may have been guided to a local
A.A. group by a friend, relative, doctor, or spiritual adviser.
Usually, a newcomer to A.A. has had an
opportunity to talk to one or more local members before attending the first
meeting. This provides an opportunity to learn how A.A. has helped these people.
The beginner gets facts about alcoholism and A.A. that help to determine whether
he or she is honestly prepared to give up alcohol. The only requirement for
membership is a desire to stop drinking.
There are no membership drives in A.A.
If, after attending several meetings, the newcomer decides A.A. is not for him
or for her, no one will urge continuation in the association. There may be
suggestions about keeping an open mind on the subject, but no one in A.A. will
try to make up newcomers' minds for them. Only the alcoholic concerned can
answer the question "Do I need Alcoholics Anonymous?"
is an 'open' meeting?
An open meeting of A.A. is a group
meeting that any member of the community, alcoholic or nonalcoholic, may attend.
The only obligation is that of not disclosing the names of A.A. members outside
A typical open meeting will usually have
a "leader" and other speakers. The leader opens and closes the meeting
and introduces each speaker. With rare exceptions, the speakers at an open
meeting are A.A. members. Each, in turn, may review some individual drinking
experiences that led to joining A.A. The speaker may also give his or her
interpretation of the recovery program and suggest what sobriety has meant
personally. All views expressed are purely personal, since all members of A.A.
speak only for themselves.
Most open meetings conclude with a
social period during which coffee, soft drinks, and cakes or cookies are served.
is a 'closed' meeting?
A closed meeting is limited to members
of the local A.A. group, or visiting members from other groups. The purpose of
the closed meeting is to give members an opportunity to discuss particular
phases of their alcoholic problem that can be understood best only by other
These meetings are usually conducted
with maximum informality, and all members are encouraged to participate in the
discussions. The closed meetings are of particular value to the newcomer, since
they provide an opportunity to ask questions that may trouble a beginner, and to
get the benefit of "older" members' experience with the recovery
25. May I
bring relatives or friends to an A.A. meeting?
In most places, anyone interested in
A.A., whether a member or not, is welcome at open meetings of A.A. groups. *
Newcomers, in particular, are invited to bring wives, husbands, or friends to
these meetings, since their understanding of the recovery program may be an
important factor in helping the alcoholic to achieve and maintain sobriety. Many
wives and husbands attend as frequently as their spouses and take an active part
in the social activities of the local group.
(It will be recalled that
"closed" meetings are traditionally limited to alcoholics.)
* Consult the group for local custom.
often do A.A. members have to attend meetings?
Abraham Lincoln was once asked how long
a man's legs should be. The classic answer was: "Long enough to reach the
A.A. members don't have to attend any
set number of meetings in a given period. It is purely a matter of individual
preference and need. Most members arrange to attend at least one meeting a week.
They feel that is enough to satisfy their personal need for contact with the
program through a local group. Others attend a meeting nearly every night, in
areas where such opportunities are available. Still others may go for relatively
long periods without meetings.
The friendly injunction "Keep
coming to meetings," so frequently heard by the newcomer, is based on the
experience of the great majority of A.A.s, who find that the quality of their
sobriety suffers when they stay away from meetings for too long. Many know from
experience that if they do not come to meetings, they may get drunk and that if
they are regular in attendance, they seem to have no trouble staying sober.
Newcomers particularly seem to benefit
from exposure to a relatively large number of meetings (or other A.A. contacts)
during their first weeks and months in a group. By multiplying their
opportunities to meet and hear other A.A.s whose drinking experience parallels
their own, they seem to be able to strengthen their own understanding of the
program and what it can give them.
Nearly all alcoholics, at one time or
another, have tried to stay sober on their own. For most, the experience has not
been particularly enjoyable — or successful. So long as attendance at meetings
helps the alcoholic to maintain sobriety, and to have fun at the same time, it
seems to be good sense to be guided by the experience of those who "keep
coming to meetings."
* Consult the group for local custom.
A.A.s have to attend meetings for the rest of their lives?
Not necessarily, but — as one member
has suggested — "Most of us want to, and some of us may need to."
Most alcoholics don't like to be told
that they have to do anything for any extended period of time. At first glance,
the prospect of having to attend A.A. meetings for all the years of the
foreseeable future may seem a heavy load.
The answer, again, is that no one has to
do anything in A.A. There is always a choice between doing and not doing a thing
— including the crucial choice of whether or not to seek sobriety through A.A.
The primary reason an alcoholic has for
attending meetings of an A.A. group is to get help in staying sober today —
not tomorrow or next week or ten years from now. Today, the immediate present,
is the only period in fife that the A.A. can do something about. A.A.s do not
worry about tomorrow, or about "the rest of their lives." The
important thing for them is to maintain their sobriety now. They will take care
of the future when it arrives.
So the A.A. who wants to do everything
possible to insure sobriety today will probably keep going to meetings. But
attendance will always be on the basis of taking care of present sobriety. As
long as the approach to A.A. is on this basis, no activity, including attendance
at meetings, can ever resemble a long-term obligation.
will I be able to find the time for A.A. meetings, work with other alcoholics,
and other A.A. activities?
During our drinking days, most of us
somehow managed to minimize the importance of time when there was alcohol to be
consumed. Yet the newcomer to A.A. is occasionally dismayed to learn that
sobriety will make some demands on time, too. If the beginner is a typical
alcoholic, there will be an urge to make up "lost time" in a hurry —
to work diligently at a job, to indulge in the pleasures of a home life too long
neglected, to devote time to church or civic affairs. What else is sobriety for,
the new member may ask, but to lead a full, normal life, great chunks of it at a
A.A., however, is not something that can
be taken like a pill. The experience of those who have been successful in the
recovery program is worth considering. Almost without exception, the men and
women who find their sobriety most satisfying are those who attend meetings
regularly, never hesitate to work with other alcoholics seeking help, and take
more than a casual interest in the other activities of their groups. They are
men and women who recall realistically and honestly the aimless hours spent in
bars, the days lost from work, the decreased efficiency, and the remorse that
accompanied hangovers on the morning after.
Balanced against such memories as these,
the few hours spent in underwriting and strengthening their sobriety add up to a
small price indeed.
newcomers join A.A. outside their own community?
This question is sometimes raised by
persons who seem to have perfectly valid reasons for not wanting to risk
identification as alcoholics by any of their neighbors. They may, for example,
have employers who are totally unfamiliar with the A.A. program and potentially
hostile to anyone who admits the existence of a drinking problem. They may wish
desperately to be associated with A.A. as a means of gaining and maintaining
sobriety. But they may hesitate to turn to a group in their own community.
The answer to the question is that a
person is free to join an A.A. group anywhere he or she may choose. Obviously,
it is more convenient to join the nearest group. It may also be the most
straightforward approach to the individual's problem. The person who turns to
A.A. for help is usually, but not always, pretty well identified as a drunk.
Inevitably, the good news of this person's sobriety is bound to spread, too. Few
employers or neighbors are likely to resent the source of their worker's or
friend's continued sobriety, whether it centers in a local A.A. group or one
located fifty miles away.
Few people these days are fired from
their jobs or ostracized socially because they are sober. If the experience of
many thousands of A.A.s is a reliable guide, the best approach for the newcomer
is to seek help in the nearest group before beginning to worry about the
reactions of others.
30. If I
come into A.A., won't I miss a lot of friends and a lot of fun?
The best answer to this is the
experience of the hundreds of thousands of men and women who have already come
into A.A. In general, their attitude is that they did not enjoy real friendships
or real fun until they joined A.A. Their point of view on both has changed.
Many alcoholics discover that their best
friends are delighted to see them face up to the fact that they cannot handle
alcohol. No one wants to see a friend continue to hurt.
Naturally, it is important to
distinguish between friendships and casual barroom acquaintanceships. The
alcoholic is likely to have many acquaintances whose conviviality may be missed
for a while. But their place will be taken by the hundreds of A.A.s the newcomer
will meet - men and women who offer understanding acceptance, and help in
sustaining sobriety at all times.
Few members of A.A. would trade the fun
that comes with sobriety for what seemed to be fun while they were drinking.
Upon attending only a few meetings, the
newcomer is sure to hear references to such things as "the Twelve Steps,
"the Twelve Traditions, " "slips, " "the Big Book, and
other expressions characteristic of A.A. The following Paragraphs describe these
factors and suggest why they are mentioned frequently by A.A. speakers.
are the 'Twelve Steps'?
The "Twelve Steps" are the
core of the A.A. program of personal recovery from alcoholism. They are not
abstract theories; they are based on the trial-and-error experience of early
members of A.A. They describe the attitudes and activities that these early
members believe were important in helping them to achieve sobriety. Acceptance
of the "Twelve Steps" is not mandatory in any sense.
Experience suggests, however, that
members who make an earnest effort to follow these Steps and to apply them in
daily living seem to get far more out of A.A. than do those members who seem to
regard the Steps casually. It has been said that it is virtually impossible to
follow all the Steps literally, day in and day out. While this may be true, in
the sense that the Twelve Steps represent an approach to living that is totally
new for most alcoholics, many A.A. members feel that the Steps are a practical
necessity if they are to maintain their sobriety.
Here is the text of the Twelve Steps,
which first appeared in Alcoholics Anonymous, the A.A. book of experience:
1. We admitted we were powerless over
alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater
than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and
our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral
inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to
another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God
remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our
8. Made a list of all persons we had
harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people
wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory
and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation
to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only
for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. Having had a spiritual awakening as
the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to
practice these principles in all our affairs.
are the 'Twelve Traditions'?
The "Twelve Traditions" of
A.A. are suggested principles to insure the survival and growth of the thousands
of groups that make up the Fellowship. They are based on the experience of the
groups themselves during the critical early years of the movement.
The Traditions are important to both
oldtimers and newcomers as reminders of the true foundations of A.A. as a
society of men and women whose primary concern is to maintain their own sobriety
and help others to achieve sobriety:
1. Our common welfare should come first;
personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but
one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group
conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
3. The only requirement for A.A.
membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4. Each group should be autonomous
except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary
purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6. An A.A. group ought never endorse,
finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise,
lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary
7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully
self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain
forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. A.A., as such, ought never be
organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible
to those they serve.
10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion
on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public
11. Our public relations policy is based
on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity
at the level of press, radio, and films.
12. Anonymity is the spiritual
foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before
Occasionally a man or women who has been
sober through A.A. will get drunk. In A.A. a relapse of this type is commonly
known as a "slip." It may occur during the first few weeks or months
of sobriety or after the alcoholic has been dry a number of years.
Nearly all A.A.s who have been through
this experience say that slips can be traced to specific causes. They
deliberately forgot that they had admitted they were alcoholics and got
overconfident about their ability to handle alcohol. Or they stayed away from
A.A. meetings or from informal association with other A.A.s. Or they let
themselves become too involved with business or social affairs to remember the
importance of being sober. Or they let themselves become tired and were caught
with their mental and emotional defenses down.
In other words, most "slips"
don't just happen.
A.A. have a basic 'textbook'?
The Fellowship has four books that are
generally accepted as "textbooks." The first is Alcoholics Anonymous,
also known as "the Big Book," originally published in 1939, revised in
1955 and 1976. It records the personal stories of 42 representative problem
drinkers who achieved stable sobriety for the first time through A.A. It also
records the suggested steps and principles that early members believed were
responsible for their ability to overcome the compulsion to drink.
The second book is Twelve Steps and
Twelve Traditions, published in 1953. It is an interpretation, by Bill W., a
co-founder, of the principles that have thus far assured the continuing survival
of individuals and groups within A.A.
A third book, Alcoholics Anonymous Comes
of Age, published in 1957, is a brief history of the first two decades of the
The fourth is As Bill Sees It (formerly
titled The A.A. Way of Life, a reader by Bill). This is a selection of Bill W.'s
These books may be purchased through
local A.A. groups or ordered direct from Alcoholics Anonymous, Box 459, Grand
Central Station, New York, NY 10163.
is 'the 24-hour program'?
"The 24-hour program" is a
phrase used to describe a basic A.A. approach to the problem of staying sober.
A.A.s never swear off alcohol for life, never take pledges committing themselves
not to take a drink "tomorrow." By the time they turned to A.A. for
help, they had discovered that, no matter how sincere they may have been in
promising themselves to abstain from alcohol "in the future," somehow
they forgot the pledge and got drunk. The compulsion to drink proved more
powerful than the best intentions not to drink.
The A.A. member recognizes that the
biggest problem is to stay sober now! The current 24 hours is the only period
the A.A. can do anything about as far as drinking is concerned. Yesterday is
gone. Tomorrow never comes. "But today," the A.A. says, "today, I
will not take a drink. I may be tempted to take a drink tomorrow - and perhaps I
will. But tomorrow is something to worry about when it comes. My big problem is
not to take a drink during this 24 hours.
Along with the 24-hour program, A.A.
emphasizes the importance of three slogans that have probably been heard many
times by the newcomer before joining A.A. These slogans are: "Easy Does
It," "Live and Let Live," and "First Things First." By
making these slogans a basic part of the attitude toward problems of daily
living, the average A.A. is usually helped substantially in the attempt to live
successfully without alcohol.
is the A.A. Grapevine?
The Grapevine is a monthly pocket-size
magazine published for members and friends who seek further sharing of A.A.
experience. The only international journal of the Society, the Grapevine is
edited by a staff made up entirely of A.A.s.
Single copies of the magazine are
usually available each month at meetings of local groups, but most readers
prefer to receive their copies on a regular subscription basis. In the U.S. the
cost of annual subscription is $15.00, slightly more - in Canada; single copies
doesn't A.A. seem to work for some people?
The answer is that A.A. will work only
for those who admit that they are alcoholics, who honestly want to stop drinking
— and who are able to keep those facts uppermost in their minds at all times.
A.A. usually will not work for the man
or woman who has reservations about whether or not he or she is an alcoholic, or
who clings to the hope of being able to drink normally again.
Most medical authorities say no one who
is an alcoholic can ever drink normally again. The alcoholic must admit and
accept this cardinal fact. Coupled with this admission and acceptance must be
the desire to stop drinking.
After they have been sober a while in
A.A., some people tend to forget that they are alcoholics, with all that this
diagnosis implies. Their sobriety makes them overconfident, and they decide to
experiment with alcohol again. The results of such experiments are, for the
alcoholic, completely predictable. Their drinking invariably becomes
A.A. has but one primary purpose,
although it may indirectly be responsible for other benefits. The following are
questions that are occasionally asked by newcomers to the Fellowship.
A.A. help me financially?
Many alcoholics, by the time they turn
to A.A. for help with their drinking problems, have also accumulated substantial
financial problems. Not unnaturally, some may cherish the hope that A.A. may in
some way be able to help them with more pressing financial obligations.
Very early in A.A. experience as a
society, it was discovered that money or the lack of it had nothing to do with
the newcomer's ability to achieve sobriety and work his or her way out of the
many problems that had been complicated by excessive use of alcohol.
The absence of money — even with a
heavy burden of debts — seemed to prove no hindrance to the alcoholic who
honestly and sincerely wanted to face up to the realities of a life without
alcohol. Once the big problem of alcohol had been cleared away, the other
problems, including those related to finances, seemed to work out, too. Some
A.A.s have made sensational financial comebacks in relatively brief periods. For
others, the road has been hard and long. The basic answer to this question is
that A.A. exists for just one purpose, and that purpose is in no way related to
material prosperity or the lack thereof.
There is nothing to prevent any member
of a group from staking a newcomer to a meal, a suit of clothes, or even a cash
loan. That is a matter for individual decision and discretion. It would,
however, be misleading if an alcoholic gets the impression that A.A. is any sort
of moneyed charity organization.
A.A. help me straighten out my family troubles?
Alcohol is frequently a complicating
factor in family life, magnifying petty irritations, exposing character defects,
and contributing to financial problems. Many men and women, by the time they
turn to A.A., have managed to make a complete mess of their family lives.
Some newcomers to A.A., suddenly aware
of their own contributions to chaos, are eager and enthusiastic about making
amends and resuming normal patterns of living with those closest to them.
Others, with or without cause, continue to feel bitter resentments toward their
Almost without exception, newcomers who
are sincere in their approach to the A.A. recovery program are successful in
mending broken family lives. The bonds that reunite the honest alcoholic with
family members are often stronger than ever before. Sometimes, of course,
irreparable damage has been done, and a totally new approach to family life has
to be developed. But generally, the story is one with a happy ending.
Experience suggests that the alcoholic
who comes to A.A. solely to keep peace in the family, and not because of an
honest desire to stop drinking, may have difficulty achieving sobriety. The
sincere desire for sobriety should come first. Once sober, the alcoholic will
find that many of the other problems of daily living can be approached
realistically and with very good chance of success.
A.A. operate hospitals or rest homes for alcoholics?
There are no "A.A. rest homes or
hospitals." Traditionally, no professional services or facilities are ever
offered or performed under A.A. sponsorship. By adhering to the tradition of
avoiding services that others are prepared to render, A.A. thus avoids any
possible misunderstanding of its primary purpose, which is to help alcoholics
searching for a way of life without alcohol.
In some areas, service committees made
up of individual A.A. members have made arrangements with local hospitals for
the admission of alcoholics who are sponsored by A.A.s as individuals, not as
representatives of the Fellowship as a whole.
In other areas, individual A.A.s or
groups of A.A.s have established rest homes that cater primarily to newcomers to
the recovery program. Because of their special understanding of problems
confronting the alcoholic, the owners or managers of these homes are often able
to help the newcomer during the first crucial period of sobriety. But these
homes have no connection with A.A. beyond the fact that they may be operated by
persons who achieved their own sobriety through A.A. As a movement, A.A. is
never affiliated with business enterprises of any description.
A.A. sponsor any social activity for members?
Most A.A.s are sociable people, a factor
that may have been partially responsible for their becoming alcoholics in the
first place. As a consequence, meetings of local A.A. groups tend to be lively
A.A. as a fellowship has never developed
any formal program of social activities for members, since the sole purpose of
the movement is to help alcoholics get sober. In some areas, members, entirely
on their own individual responsibility, have opened clubrooms or other
facilities for members of the local group. These clubs are traditionally
independent of A.A., and great care is usually taken to avoid direct
identification with the movement.
Even where no club exists, it is not
uncommon for local groups to arrange anniversary dinners, picnics, parties on
New Year's Eve and other special occasions, and similar affairs. In some large
cities, A.A.s meet regularly for lunch and sponsor informal get-togethers over
do medical authorities think of A.A.?
Also see pamphlet: "A.A. as a
Resource for the Health Care Professional"
From its earliest days, A.A. has enjoyed
the friendship and support of doctors who were familiar with its program of
recovery from alcoholism. Doctors, perhaps better than any other group, are in a
position to appreciate how unreliable other approaches to the problem of
alcoholism have been in the past. A.A. has never been advanced as the only
answer to the problem, but the A.A. recovery program has worked so often, after
other methods have failed, that doctors today are frequently the most outspoken
boosters for the program in their communities.
Some measure of the medical profession's
attitude toward A.A. was suggested in 1951 when the American Public Health
Association named Alcoholics Anonymous as one of the recipients of the famed
Lasker Awards in "formal recognition of A.A.'s success in treating
alcoholism as an illness and in blotting out its social stigma."
A.A. is still new (or unknown) in some
communities, and not all doctors are familiar with the recovery program. But
here are excerpts from comments on A.A. by leading medical authorities:
In 1967, the American Medical
Association stated that membership in A.A. was still the most effective means of
treating alcoholism and quoted Dr. Ruth Fox, an eminent authority on alcoholism
and then medical director of the National Council on Alcoholism: "With its
thousands of groups and its 300,000 recovered alcoholics [now upwards of
2,000,000], A.A. has undoubtedly reached more cases than all the rest of us
together. For patients who can and will accept it, A.A. may be the only form of
"I have the utmost respect for the
work A.A. is doing, for its spirit, for its essential philosophy of mutual
helpfulness. I lose no opportunity to express my endorsement publicly and
privately where it is of any concern."
Karl Menninger, M.D. Menninger
"Perhaps the most effective
treatment in the rehabilitation of the alcoholic is a philosophy of living which
is compatible with the individual and his family, an absorbing faith in himself
which comes only after he has learned to understand himself, and a close
association with others whose experiences parallel his own. The physician's
cooperation with Alcoholics Anonymous is one way of obtaining these things for
Marvin A. Block, M.D., member of the
American Medical Association's Committee on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
do religious leaders think of A.A.?
Also see pamphlet: "Members of the
Clergy Ask About A.A."
Probably no lay movement of modem times
has been more richly endowed than A.A. with the support of the clergy of all the
great faiths. Like the doctors, mankind's spiritual advisers have long been
troubled by the problem of alcoholism. Many of these advisers have heard honest
people make sincere pledges to abstain from alcohol they could not control -
only to see them break those pledges within hours, days, or weeks. Sympathy,
understanding, and appeals to conscience have been of little avail to the clergy
in their attempts to help the alcoholic.
Thus it is perhaps not surprising that
A.A. - although it offers a way of fife rather than a way of formal religion -
should be embraced so warmly by representatives of many different denominations.
Here is how some of them have referred to A.A. in the past:
The Directors Bulletin, a Jesuit
periodical published at St. Louis, Mo.
"Father Dowling of The Queen's Work
staff had exceptional opportunity to observe the Alcoholics Anonymous movement.
"He found that the keystone of the
A.A. therapy includes self-denial, humility, charity, good example, and
opportunities for a new pattern of social recreation. All denominations are
represented in the movement. Readers can be assured that no article or book on
the movement is one-tenth as convincing as is personal contact with an
individual or group of A.A.s whose personalities and homes and businesses have
been transformed from chaos into sound achievement."
The Living Church (Episcopal)
"Basis of the technique of
Alcoholics Anonymous is the truly Christian principle that a man cannot help
himself except by helping others. The A.A. plan is described by the members
themselves as 'self-insurance.' This self-insurance has resulted in the
restoration of physical, mental, and spiritual health and self-respect to
hundreds of men and women who would be hopelessly down-and-out without its
unique but effective therapy. "
is responsible for the publicity about A.A.?
The A.A. tradition of public relations
has always been keyed to attraction rather than promotion. A.A. never seeks
publicity but always cooperates fully with responsible representatives of press,
radio, television, motion pictures, and other media that seek information about
the recovery program.
At national and international levels,
news of A.A. is made available by the Public Information Committee of the
General Service Board. Local committees have also been organized, to provide the
media with facts about A.A. as a resource for alcoholics in their communities.
A.A. is deeply grateful to all its
friends who have been responsible for the recognition accorded the movement. It
is also deeply aware of the fact that the anonymity of members, upon which the
program is so dependent, has been respected so faithfully by all media.
It should also be noted that within
A.A., at A.A. meetings and among themselves, A.A. members are not anonymous.
New Way of Life
A way of life cannot truly be described;
it must be lived. Descriptive literature that relies upon broad, inspirational
generalities is bound to leave many questions unanswered and many readers not
fully satisfied that they have come upon the thing they need and seek. At the
other extreme, a catalog of the mechanics and details of a program for living
can portray only part of the value of such a program.
A.A. is a program for a new way of life
without alcohol, a program that is working successfully for hundreds of
thousands of men and women who approach it and apply it with honesty and
sincerity. It is working throughout the world and for men and women in all
stations and walks of life.
Perhaps this pamphlet has answered the
main questions, spoken and unspoken, that you may have concerning A.A. Perhaps
there are other questions that can be answered, as those in this pamphlet have
been, solely on the basis of A.A. experience with the problem of alcoholism. If
you have such questions, feel free to get in touch with an A.A. group in or near
your community. Or write to General Service Office, Box 459, Grand Central
Station, New York, NY 10163.