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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?
  • 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.
Can I stop drinking by willpower alone?
  • 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....
How can I tell if I am really an alcoholic?
  • 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.
Can I ever drink like a normal person again?
  • If you are an alcoholic, you can never drink "normally" or socially again.
Is it OK to just drink beer or one glass of wine?
  • 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.
Am I an alcoholic if my friends tell me "Oh, you're not so bad"?
  • 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.
Is there a cure for alcoholism?
  • No, there is no cure for alcoholism. But, Alcoholics Anonymous has proven there is hope for recovery.
What does it mean, "Alcoholism is a progressive disease?"
  • 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.
What does "Anonymous" mean in Alcoholics Anonymous?
  • 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.
Will everyone know I am an alcoholic if I go to A.A.?
  • 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.
Isn't A.A. just for people who wear long raincoats, live on the street, and drink out of brown paper bags?
  • 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.
Are there any rules in A.A.?
  • No, only suggestions as a program for recovery.
Does it cost anything to join 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.
Who runs A.A.?
  • 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.
Is A.A. a religion or religious group?
  • 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 a lot of women in A.A.?
  • About one third of A.A. members are women.
Are there young people in 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 do you join A.A.?
  • 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!
How many meetings do I have to go to?
  • 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.
Do I have to speak at meetings?
  • 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!

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The information at is not intended to replace sound medical advice from qualified professionals. strongly urges you to consult with your doctor regarding any medical concerns or questions.