What is AA? AA is an acronym for Alcoholics
Anonymous. Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women
who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting,
multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or
education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something
about his or her drinking problem. (What is A.A? 2018) The primary purpose of A.A. is to sustain their
sobriety and help other alcoholics to achieve theirs. It is a free of cost membership.
The only requirement for members is to stop drinking. (This is A.A., 2017) Alcoholics
Anonymous is funded through the members contributions. Alcoholics Anonymous began
in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, by two men, Bill Watson and Dr. Bob Smith. They founded
A.A. to help others who suffered from alcoholism and to help and sustain their
own sobriety. In 1939, a group of a sober members wrote and published the book
Alcoholics Anonymous, which they mention to now as the “Big Book.” This Alcoholics
Anonymous book includes a creed which is consists of twelve steps and twelve
traditions that is followed to help reach sobriety. Alcoholics Anonymous has
become the top treatment for people that have the disease of Alcoholism.
On January 10, I attended
an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting for the first time to better
understand the program and how it functioned.
The meeting was held at 8:30 am in Hayward, CA, at a place called Triangle Fellowship.
I arrived to the meeting 15 minutes early to let one of members know that I was
there for observation and I was a student from Unitek College. As soon as stepped
into the building I was greeted immediately. I was greeted by one members named
Tomas. I asked if I can stay for observation. He gave me the permission to observe.
He offered me donuts and coffee. Later I was greeted by the chairman of the meeting
named Laurie. She was also an alcoholic. She told me I was welcomed to stay for
their meeting and observation. I was greeted by another member named Jim. I told
him that it was my first time being at an A.A. meeting. He gave a brief description
on how the meetings were conducted. He gave me pamphlet showing the different locations
the meetings are held and what days and the times they are held. He also showed
me the Alcoholics Anonymous book that they read and follow during their meetings.
The meeting began with the Serenity Prayer. There was total of 15 people at the
meeting. There were 13 males and 2 females. Most them were in their 30s or 40s.
After the Serenity prayer, the Twelve Steps was read aloud by an A.A. member. After
Twelve Steps was recited, a different member recited the Twelve Traditions. After
the Twelve Traditions was recited, each member read aloud parts of the A.A. book
on a chapter that talked about employees and employers. After a member recited a
part of the chapter, they were thanked by the other members in unison. Each member
went around and introduced themselves by their first name and then stated that
they were an alcoholic. After the chapter was finished, sharing was next that followed.
This was the time in the meeting where members can share their experiences related
to the chapter they have read or personal stories on how this program affected their
lives. A member stated that if it wasn’t for this program they wouldn’t know where
they would be today. Another member shared a story about his anniversary with his
wife. They spent their anniversary at a restaurant and it was their first time going
out not having a drink. He stated that not once did they thought about having a
drink and they felt normal. He also he starts his days off right by going to these
meetings and how these meetings changed his life and help keep him sober. Another
member named Ellen shared her story and how this program saved her life. She stated
she has been sober for almost three years. She stated that going to these meetings
and praying to God helps maintain her sobriety and help others to stay sober. She
states that alcoholism is a disease in which it can play with your mind and how
the disease can tell you to have a drink if you see one. She also shared that if
wasn’t for this program, she would still be drinking and doing drugs. Not every
member at the meeting shared their story, but it was an unbelievable experience.
After hearing these stories, it changed my whole perception on alcoholism and how
much affect it can put on a person. After everybody got a chance to share what they
wanted to share, the chairman gave announcements. A basket was passed around for
contributions. The meeting ended with everyone joined holding hands in a circle
reciting aloud the Our Father’s Prayer. The meeting was well organized and held
in a clean environment. Every member was nice and respectful. The chairman,
along with a few other members, were all willing to answer any questions that
we wanted to ask. Everyone at this meeting really seemed as if they really
wanted to be there and to stay sober.