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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): Frequently Asked Questions

Alcoholics Anonymous is a recovery program for people struggling with alcohol misuse, which is based on the 12-Step approach and peer support to help people recover.

Religion and Spirituality Questions

Do I Have to Be Religious to Join?

No, you don’t have to be religious to join Alcoholics Anonymous. The only requirement is that you have a desire to stop drinking alcohol. AA welcomes people from all different religious backgrounds and spiritual beliefs, including people who identify as atheists or agnostics.

What Happens if I Don’t Believe in a Higher Power?

Your higher power doesn’t have to be God or a religious entity–it’s of your own choosing. It can be something you feel connected to or are passionate about. It may also be a strong conviction or belief.

Your higher power is the acknowledgment of a force greater than yourself that will support you on the road to recovery.

Some examples of other forms of a higher power may include:

  • The universe.
  • Nature.
  • Love.
  • Music.
  • Humanity
  • Alcoholics Anonymous group.

12-Step Questions

Do I Have to Complete All 12 Steps?

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are designed to support you and provide a foundation for recovery. The 12 steps have helped many people who are recovering from alcohol addiction. There is no requirement to complete the 12 steps to be a member of AA.

If you do choose to work the steps, it’s encouraged you moved at your own pace and move on to the next step when you’re ready.

What Is a Sponsor?

A sponsor is a person who supports other members of AA as they work the 12 steps. Sponsors often have significant time in AA and sobriety. The sponsor provides support, encouragement, and a listening ear while sharing their experience with the alcohol recovery program. They typically call or meet with their sponsee on a regular basis to support their recovery process.

Can I Choose My Sponsor?

Yes, you choose your own sponsor. The group that you attend will typically have a list of sponsors who are available to support a sponsee.

Do I Have to Have a Sponsor?

You are not obligated to have a sponsor when you join Alcoholics Anonymous; however, many people find the support to be comforting and helpful as they make their way through the 12-Step program.

General Alcoholics Anonymous Questions

How Does AA Help Me Quit Drinking?

Alcoholics Anonymous uses a 12-Step program that has helped many people since being founded in 1935. It operates on the notion that you are powerless over your addiction to alcohol; however, you do have the ability to change in a positive way.

How Do You Join AA?

It is free to become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. The only requirement to join is the desire to stop using alcohol.

Where Can I Find an AA Meeting Near Me?

You can search online on the Alcoholic Anonymous website to find a local AA meeting near you.

What Is the Big Book?

The Big Book outlines the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and includes stories of people in recovery who have been through AA. Many people use this book throughout the recovery process as well as long after they have completed the 12-Step program.

How Often Should I Go to AA Meetings?

There is no set number of meetings you should attend. Some people go every day, while other people only go when they feel like they need to. It all depends on you and what you think you need.

Do I Have to Hit Rock Bottom Before Joining?

It is a common misconception that you have to hit rock bottom before seeking treatment for alcohol misuse. Many people who misuse alcohol find it beneficial to join Alcoholics Anonymous to prevent further misuse or harm.

Where and When Was Alcoholics Anonymous Founded?

Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in 1935 in Akron, Ohio by Bill W., a former stockbroker, and Dr. Bob Smith, a surgeon.

What Are Some Popular Alcoholics Anonymous Quotes?

A few popular AA quotes that you might find helpful in your recovery process include:

  • “One day at a time.”
  • “There is an island of opportunity in the middle of every difficulty.”
  • “When I stopped living in the problem and began living in the answer, the problem went away.”
  • “If we were to live, we had to be free of anger.”
  • “Easy does it, but do it!”
  • “The program works if you work it.”

Can Alcoholics Anonymous Help Me Fight Cravings?

Cravings are a natural part of the recovery process. If at any point throughout your 12-step work you find that you are craving alcohol, it is encouraged to call or meet with your sponsor immediately, or another trusted friend or loved one. Your sponsor is there for support and comfort, which may help you through a triggering moment.