Online Intergroup : Alcoholics Anonymous
Home Get Help Now Online Meetings Worldwide Events About AA Members
About AA > Find Local Meetings > Ask a Question > Information for Professionals   
What Is AA?

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 AA membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.

AA 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.


Copyright © The AA Grapevine, Inc. Reprinted with permission.

For Anyone New Coming to A.A.
For Anyone Referring People to A.A.

The primary purpose of A.A. is to carry its message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking help. Almost every alcoholism treatment tries to help the alcoholic maintain sobriety. Regardless of the road we follow, we all head for the same destination, recovery of the alcoholic person. Together, we can do what none of us could accomplish alone. We can serve as a source of personal experience and be an ongoing support system for recovering alcoholics.

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 A.A. Do?

  1. 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.
  2. The A.A. program, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
  3. This program is discussed at A.A. group meetings.
    • Open speaker 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.
    • Open discussion meetings — 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.)
    • Closed discussion meetings — conducted just as open discussions are, but for alcoholics or prospective A.A.s only.
    • Step meetings (usually closed) — 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 A.A. Does Not Do

A.A. does not:

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

The following are from the AA World Services web site and are copyrighted by AA World Services, Inc.

A Newcomer Asks
A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous
AA at a Glance
This is AA
44 Questions
Understanding Anonymity
Problems Other Than Alcohol
Is There an Alcoholic in Your Life?

Read the book Alcoholics Anonymous online.

Watch the latest public service announcement:
I thought

Additional Reading

Čeština/Slovenčina  |   Dansk  |   Deutsch  |   Español  |   Français  |   Ελληνικά  |   Italiano
日本語  |   Nederlands  |   Polski  |   Português  |   Russki  |  Slovenčina  |  Svenska

The Online Intergroup aids its member groups in their common purpose
of carrying the AA message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
Online Intergroup Publications | Anonymity & Privacy | Contact Us
Alcoholics Anonymous and AA are registered trademarks of Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc.