About AA

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor is someone who has been where we want to go in our twelve step program and knows how we can best get there.  Their primary responsibility is to help us work the 12 steps by applying the principles of the program to our lives.  They lead us by example as we see how the program works in their lives through sharing their personal experiences and stories of where they were and where they are now.  We start to learn how to become sober by listening and doing the footwork that our sponsor shows us on a daily basis.  In time we make these new changes a habit which helps us to remain sober one day at a time.

More about alcoholism

The first thing we have learned about alcoholism is that it is one of the oldest problems in history. Only recently have we begun to benefit from new approaches to the problem. Doctors today, for example, know a great deal more about alcoholism than their predecessors did only two generations ago. They are beginning to define the problem and study it in detail. While there is no formal “AA definition” of alcoholism, most of us agree that, for us, it could be described as a physical compulsion, coupled with a mental obsession. We mean that we had a distinct physical desire to consume alcohol. We did not know when to stop drinking. Often, we did not seem to have the sense enough to know when not to begin.

Is AA part of a larger organization, like the government?

Alcoholics Anonymous is not part of the judicial system. We do not work with the courts or the police department. We do not ask the courts to send people to us. When people do show up with court papers, we are not responsible for making sure the people are sober. If a judge, court, school, or employer has sent you to AA meetings, it is because they believe there is evidence that you have a drinking problem. We had nothing to do with their decision-in fact, AA has no opinion as to whether you have a drinking problem or not.

Today we are willing to accept the idea that, as far as we are concerned, alcoholism is an illness; a progressive illness that can never be “cured” but which, like some other illnesses, can be arrested. We agree that there is nothing shameful about having an illness, provided we face the problem honestly and try to do something about it. We are perfectly willing to admit that we are allergic to alcohol and that it is simply common sense to stay away from the source of the allergy. If, however, you want to stop drinking, AA has a solution.

No one in AA can tell you that you are an alcoholic. Some people can point out indications that are symptomatic of a drinking problem: loss of control, drunk driving, arrests, lost jobs, broken marriages or relationships, blackouts, etc. But only you can decide if you actually are an alcoholic, and if that’s your decision, we invite you to keep coming back. You are not alone.