Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid movement founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith (Bill W. and Dr. Bob) in Akron, Ohio. AA states that its "primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety". With other early members, Wilson and Smith developed AA's Twelve Step program of spiritual and character development. AA's Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946 to help AA stabilize and grow. The Traditions recommend that members and groups remain anonymous in public media, altruistically help other alcoholics and include all who wish to stop drinking. The Traditions also recommend that AA members acting on behalf of the fellowship steer clear of dogma, governing hierarchies and involvement in public issues. Subsequent fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous have adopted and adapted the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to their respective primary purposes.
AA generally avoids discussing the medical nature of alcoholism; nonetheless AA is regarded as a proponent and popularizer of the disease theory of alcoholism. The American Psychiatric Association has recommended sustained treatment in conjunction with AA's program, or similar community resources, for chronic alcoholics unresponsive to brief treatment. AA's data shows that 64% drop out of AA in the first year, but its program is credited with helping many alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety.
The first female member Florence Rankin joined AA in March 1937, and the first non-Protestant member, a Roman Catholic, joined in 1939. AA membership has since spread "across diverse cultures holding different beliefs and values", including geopolitical areas resistant to grassroot movements. AA says it has more than 2 million members.
AA's name derived from its first book, informally called "The Big Book", originally titled Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism
Read more about Alcoholics Anonymous: Oxford Group Origins, The Big Book, The Twelve Steps and The Twelve Traditions, Organization and Finances, Program, Spirituality, Disease Concept of Alcoholism, Canadian and United States Demographics, Literature
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Famous quotes containing the word anonymous:
“Men, my dear, are very queer animals, a mixture of horse- nervousness, ass-stubbornness, and camel-malicewith an angel bobbing about unexpectedly like the apple in the posset, and when they can do exactly as they please, they are very hard to drive.
Oh, England. Sick in head and sick in heart,
Sick in whole and every part,
And yet sicker thou art still
For thinking that thou art not ill.”
—Thomas Henry Anonymous (182595)