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Typical Questions About
Alcoholism and Alcoholics Anonymous
Here are the questions we asked ourselves when we were trying to decide if we had a problem with alcohol (the answers are taken directly from our own experiences as members of A.A.)
What exactly is alcoholism?
Can I stop drinking by willpower alone?
- Alcoholism is a disease that causes a physical sensitivity to alcohol (we think of it as a terrible allergy to alcohol) and an obsession with drinking, even when we haven't had a drink for some time.
How can I tell if I am really an alcoholic?
- No, alcoholism is a disease that causes a physical craving for alcohol and just saying "I can stop today, tomorrow, or anytime I want to" has failed time after time after time....
Can I ever drink like a normal person again?
- If you think you have a problem with alcohol, you probably do. Learning more about alcoholism will help you decide if you really are an alcoholic.
Is it OK to just drink beer or one glass of wine?
- If you are an alcoholic, you can never drink "normally" or socially again.
Am I an alcoholic if my friends tell me "Oh, you're not so bad"?
- If you are an alcoholic, having even one drink can lead you back to your former drinking patterns, and your life (and all of its problems) will pick up right where it left off.
Is there a cure for alcoholism?
- Only you can decide if you are an alcoholic, but drinkers often tell other drinkers this to hide their concerns about their own drinking habits.
What does it mean, "Alcoholism is a progressive disease?"
- No, there is no cure for alcoholism. But, Alcoholics Anonymous has proven there is hope for recovery.
What does "Anonymous" mean in Alcoholics Anonymous?
- Over time, as an alcoholic's tolerance for alcohol increases, they will drink more and more with their health and lives becoming progressively worse, leading to a life of misery, institutions, and even death.
Will everyone know I am an alcoholic if I go to A.A.?
- As members of A.A., we identify ourselves with our first names (or first name and last initial) only and learn that anonymity is one of the core values of the program. No member of Alcoholics Anonymous will ever identify you as an alcoholic or discuss your participation in A.A.
Isn't A.A. just for people who wear long raincoats, live on the street, and drink out of brown paper bags?
- The only people outside of A.A. that will know you are an alcoholic are those people you choose to tell. Remember, one of the foundations of the program is anonymity.
Are there any rules in A.A.?
- No, A.A. members come from all walks of life, all sexual orientations, men and women, professional and mechanical, and all races, colors, and creeds. Alcoholism is not selective. It is an equal opportunity disease.
Does it cost anything to join A.A.?
- No, only suggestions as a program for recovery.
Who runs A.A.?
- Absolutely not. There is a collection at each meeting (to pay for the rental of the hall, the coffee, etc.) but we each contribute only what we can afford to.
Is A.A. a religion or religious group?
- No one runs A.A. as each A.A. group is independent of all others. A.A. group members volunteer to make coffee, set up the rooms, sell raffle tickets, etc.
Are there a lot of women in A.A.?
- No! No! No! A.A. IS NOT A RELIGION OR RELIGIOUS GROUP! However, part of the A.A. program is based on universal spiritual values, and we each interpret these values as we wish, or not at all.
Are there young people in A.A.?
- About one third of A.A. members are women.
How do you join A.A.?
- Yes. There is no minimum age requirement. Anyone who has a desire to stop drinking can be a member of Alcoholics Anonymous.
How many meetings do I have to go to?
- There is no process for joining; you become a member just by having a desire to stop drinking. All you need to do is go to your first meeting!
Do I have to speak at meetings?
- There is no requirement on how many meetings you must attend. We attend as many or as few meetings as we need. No one takes attendance.
- No one has to speak at a meeting if they choose not to. Many A.A. members simply sit and listen.
Once we understood the disease of alcoholism, we had to decide.
Am I an alcoholic? If I am, WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Once we admitted we were alcoholics, we found a solution
to help us Take Our Lives Back.
Alcoholics Anonymous! Take Your Life Back!