Today marks the Alcoholics Anonymous 80th anniversary. When AA started there were few places to turn for those who suffered from alcoholism. If treatments were prescribed, they were harsh, often combinations of barbiturates and belladonna administered in a “purge and puke” regime. People who could not afford treatment had to rely on state hospitals and charities.
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship founded in 1935 (two years after the end of prohibition in the United States in December 1933) by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. AA states that its primary purpose is to help alcoholics “to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety”. With other early members Bill Wilson and Bob Smith developed AA’s Twelve Step program of spiritual and character development. AA’s initial Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946 to help the fellowship be stable and unified while disengaged from “outside issues” and influences. The Traditions recommend that members and groups remain anonymous in public media, altruistically helping other alcoholics and avoiding affiliations with any other organization. The Traditions also recommend that those representing AA avoid dogma and coercive hierarchies. Subsequent fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous have adopted and adapted the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to their respective primary purposes. (Via Wikipedia)
Currently, AA has spread across the world to countries with different beliefs and religious practices. There is estimated to be around 2 million members worldwide.
Here are some of our favorite quotes from their publication:
“I simply had to believe in a Spirit of the Universe, who knew neither time nor limitation.”
“When I stopped living in the problem and started living in the solution, the problem went away.”
“One day at a time”