Millions of men and women have heard
or read about the unique Fellowship called Alcoholics Anonymous since its
founding in 1935. Of these, more than 2,000,000 now call themselves
members. People who once drank to excess, they finally acknowledged that
they could not handle alcohol, and now live a new way of life without it.
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 recover from alcoholism. The
only requirement for 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 to achieve sobriety.
"Twelve Steps" are the core of the AA experience. The power of the AA
Twelve Steps has snowballed since their codification in the early forties.
Today the past success of the Twelve Steps serves as a powerful
motivational factor for all alcoholics starting, and already on, the road
to sobriety. AA does not require or force any aspect of the Twelve
steps on any of the membership to allow each individual to create his or
AA experience. Newcomers are not asked to accept or follow these Twelve
Steps in their entirety if they feel unwilling or unable to do so. They
will usually be asked to keep an open mind, to attend meetings at which
recovered alcoholics describe their personal experiences in achieving
sobriety, and to read AA literature describing and interpreting the AA
The Twelve Steps:
1. We admitted we were powerless over
alcohol -- that our lives had
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
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
exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became
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
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious
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
in all our affairs.
The majority of AA members
believe that we have found the solution to our drinking problem not
through individual willpower, but through a power greater than ourselves.
However, everyone defines this power as he or she wishes. Many people call
it God, others think it is the AA group, still others donít believe in it
at all. There is room in AA for people of all shades of belief and
non-belief. The official beliefs of AA as expressed in AA literature and
on the official Alcoholics Anonymous web sites are non-religious in nature
and open to free interpretation of the terms "God" and "Higher
Part of the strength of AA is the importance of the autonomy, privacy, of
the individual and the individual groups laid out in step four of the
No society of men and women have ever had a more urgent need for
continuous effectiveness and permanent unity. The "Twelve Traditions" of
Alcoholics Anonymous are, we believe, the best answers that our experience
has yet given to those urgent questions, "How can AA best function?" and,
"How can AA best stay whole and survive?"
The Twelve Traditions:
1. Our common welfare should come first;
depends on AA unity.
2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority,
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 AA membership is a desire to stop
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting
other groups or AA as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose, to carry out its
message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6. An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA
to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest any problems of
and prestige divert us from our primary
7. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever
but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. AA, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create
service boards or committees directly responsible to those they
10. AA has no opinion on outside issues; hence the AA name ought
drawn into public controversy.
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 e principles before personalities.