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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): Frequently Asked Questions

Alcoholics Anonymous Q&A

Alcoholics Anonymous is an alcohol recovery program that uses a 12-step approach and peer support to help people get sober.

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 adherents of atheistic or secular beliefs.

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 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 acknowledgement of a force greater than yourself that will help guide you on your road to recovery.

12-Step Questions

Do I Have to Complete All 12 Steps?

The 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are designed to help you achieve and maintain sobriety. The steps have helped many people seeking to recover from alcoholism. Skipping steps or being complacent after stopping partially through the process might indicate that your commitment to recovery is faltering.

Not taking the program seriously or working it as intended will prove counterproductive to the recovery process and, furthermore, could be a warning sign of relapse.

Each step is vital on your road to alcohol recovery. Follow each step at your own pace and only move on when you’re ready.

What Is a Sponsor?

A sponsor is an experienced member of Alcoholics Anonymous who is using the 12 steps of AA successfully on a day-to-day basis. The sponsor provides support, encouragement and a listening ear to the AA newcomer while sharing his or her experience with the alcohol recovery program.

The sponsor will also answer questions about AA and relapse to the best of his or her ability.

Can I Choose My Sponsor?

Yes, you choose your own sponsor. However, Alcoholics Anonymous recommends that you choose a sponsor who is the same gender as you. That way, you can focus solely on your addiction recovery without being distracted.

Gay men and lesbian women find that opposite-gender sponsors work best for the same reason.

Do I Have to Have a Sponsor?

You are not obligated to have a sponsor when you join Alcoholics Anonymous. But 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 been successful since being founded in 1935. It operates on the notion that you are powerless to your addiction.

You must be willing to admit your faults and make amends before living an alcohol-free life. These 12 steps combined with the support from fellow AA members and your sponsor help you to quit drinking.

How Do You Join AA?

It is free to become a member of Alcoholics Anonymous. AA has no hidden fees, and the only requirement to join is the desire to get clean and sober.

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 recovering alcoholics who have been through AA. Many people use this book throughout the alcohol 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 alcoholism. Many people who demonstrate problem drinking find it beneficial to join Alcoholics Anonymous to prevent the development of an addiction.

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 recovery. If at any point throughout your step work, you find that you are craving alcohol, it is best to call or meet with your sponsor immediately. Your sponsor is there for support and comfort. They can remind you why you stopped drinking. Often, talking it out will help curb your cravings and take the power away from them.