In this brief essay, I will examine the origin and philosophy of the most influential alcoholism sobriety group, Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA. I will attend a meeting, observe its practices, and listen to its speakers. I will participate in the meeting, tally the number of individuals in attendance, and accurately relate the stories of the meeting's speaker(s). I will also explain how this meeting affected my perceptions of those who suffer from alcoholism, and are trying to both achieve and maintain their sobriety.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international program that unites people who suffer from alcohol addiction globally, alcoholics who are willing to attain sobriety. The popular program was founded by Dr. Bob and Dr. Wilson in Akron, Ohio in 1935. Its primary mission was to help people to abstain from alcohol, and remain sober. The two founders developed a unique twelve-step program that helps alcoholics become sober in spite of problems caused or worsened by the influence of drinking. Currently, AA still unites people, providing a fellowship for those individuals who suffer from alcohol addiction. Through this program, alcoholics can share their problems and experiences in their efforts to abstain from alcohol and remain sober (AA.org, 2015).
Yesterday, I went to an AA meeting, and it was an excellent experience. There were about a dozen people there. Also, there was a person who led the meeting per the correct procedure. The meeting began with the introduction of each participant. Among those in attendance, there were people of vastly different ages and occupations. Some of them appeared as if they genuinely had serious problems in life. Many others seemed very normal, and even appeared successful -- externally, at least. Then, we prayed collectively -- the so-called serenity prayer. The guest speaker of this particular evening meeting was Mrs. Louisa. Her story was quite impressive. She related that her mother died from cancer when she was only two years old. Grief-stricken, her father began getting drunk on a regular basis. He often beat her, and on one occasion, even tried to rape her (when she was 15 years old). She found herself surrounded by similar people with problems like herself and her father. Her life seemed unhappy, and miserable even. She expressed that she hated the way she had been living. However, her dysfunctional childhood greatly influenced her.
As a consequence, Mrs. Louisa had poor judgment, and began to drink alcohol, as well as use recreational drugs, in order to feel "normal" everyday. However, she eventually matured, could perceive, and analyze how so called normal people in society lived. After a long time, she comprehended the difference between good and bad, positive and negative. Ultimately, she worked hard to live a healthy life with a challenging job and satisfying family ties. However, Mrs. Louisa also understood that she could not lead this lifestyle until she drastically changed her drinking habits. Mrs. Louisa made a decision to stop drinking, as well as stop using marijuana (Langwith, 2010). She later decided to finish school and get a decent job.
Needing a support group to help maintain her sobriety, she finally found help in the fellowship of AA. Now, she implements the sixth step through the eleventh step on a daily basis (AA, Fourth Ed., 2001). Her life has greatly changed, and she had met a man who loves her for who she is, a man who has helped her build a life she has always dreamed about living. She appeared very happy and emotionally-stable. I was also happy that she discovered her true path in life, and practices sobriety. I observed that the story of Mrs. Louisa inspired everyone in attendance. The other participants in the group related their stories, and shared their problems with the rest of the group. At the conclusion of the meeting, we prayed together as a group.
Attending this meeting dramatically changed my perspective on life. I understood the huge scale of the alcoholism epidemic. I also observed how telling personal stories helped these people psychologically, and how important it was for other attendees to hear these stories (Torr, 2000). I realized that all people with substance abuse problems need emotional support, as well as the knowledge that they are not alone in life. I am very grateful to God that I have no problems with alcohol or other drugs. After this meeting, it will certainly be easier for me to better understand people who suffer from alcoholism, and be of service to them.
AA.org,. (2015). Alcoholics Anonymous. Retrieved from http://www.aa.org/
Alcoholics Anonymous, Fourth Edition. (2001). New York, New York: Alcoholics Anonymous World Services.
Langwith, J. (2010). Alcoholism. Detroit: Gale/Cengage Learning.
Torr, J. (2000). Alcoholism. San Diego: Greenhaven Press.