What Is A.A.?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a voluntary, worldwide fellowship of people from all walks of life who meet together to attain and maintain sobriety. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership.


Current Membership

In 2020, there ware an estimated 130,000 groups and over 2,000,000 members in 180 countries.


Relations With Outside Agencies

The Fellowship has adopted a policy of ·cooperation but not affiliation· with other organizations concerned with the problem of alcoholism. We have no opinion on issues outside A.A. and neither endorse nor oppose any causes.


How A.A. Is Supported

Over the years, Alcoholics Anonymous has affirmed and strengthened a tradition of being fully self-supporting and of neither seeking nor accepting contributions from nonmembers.


How A.A. Members Maintain Sobriety

A.A. is a program of total abstinence. Members simply stay away from one drink, one day at a time. Sobriety is maintained through sharing experience, strength and hope at group meetings and through the suggested Twelve Steps for recovery from alcoholism.


Why Alcoholics Anonymous Is “Anonymous”

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of A.A. It disciplines the Fellowship to govern itself by principles rather than personalities. We are a society of peers. We strive to make known our program of recovery, not individuals who participate in the program. Anonymity in the public media is assurance to all A.A.s, especially to newcomers, that their A.A. membership will not be disclosed.


Anyone May Attend A.A. Open Meetings

Anyone may attend open meetings of A.A. These usually consist of talks by a leader and two or three speakers who share experience as it relates to their alcoholism and their recovery in A.A. Open meetings provide an opportunity for the non alcoholic public to learn about A.A. Closed meetings are reserved for alcoholics and those who have a desire to quit drinking.


How A.A. Started

A.A. was started in 1935 by a New York stockbroker and an Ohio surgeon (both now deceased), who had been ·hopeless· drunks. They founded A.A. in an effort to help others who suffered from the disease of alcoholism and to stay sober themselves. A.A. grew with the formation of autonomous groups, first in the United States and then around the world. Read more of our history HERE.


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 (although A.A. members, groups and service offices frequently cooperate with them). 6. Follow up or try to control its members. 7. Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses. 8. Provide detox 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.



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.


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