In its most basic format, the Alcoholics Anonymous Programme or “AA” as it is known works when a recovered alcoholic imparts the story or “share” of their own compulsive drinking problem, outlines the new sobriety they have found in AA, and makes efforts to invite newcomers to embark on new lives in recovery and within the fellowship of the AA.

The AA Programme hinges on the “Twelve Steps” that describe the experiences of early members of this anonymous and autonomous society.

The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Is the AA Twelve Step Programme a Religious Program?

Modern adaptations of the 12 steps to recovery are non-denominational and respect all religious beliefs with the sole intent of stopping drinking and alcohol. While not religion based anymore acceptance of the 12 steps methodology requires that the alcoholic accept spiritual awakening and acceptance of a “higher power” to help in the abstraction and abstinence from alcohol.

New starters are however NOT required to accept or follow these Twelve Steps in their entirety.

The 12 step Programme is a purely elective process.

If the individuals feel that they are unwilling or unable to accept these steps but feel comfortable in attending and supporting meetings with the intent of gaining sobriety, they are as welcome at fellowship meetings as the 12 step followers. The 12 steps are a historical guideline to reformatting the cognitive patterning of alcoholism.

AA Meetings

Alcoholics anonymous meetings and the recovery Programme is completely free and operated autonomously by the alcoholics themselves. Financial contributions to the support of the community in the form of “free coffee” and meeting venues etc are sponsored by the anonymous donations and organisational entities and form part of the “giving back” to the community, however is completely elective and not expected.

Each meeting usually opens with some formalities of the organisation and a the standard serenity prayer.

Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can, and
Wisdom to know the difference.  

Download the a standard AA meeting guideline here.

The Alcoholics anonymous groups are also known as “fellowships”.

The general gist of the anonymity and “fellowship” is that of COMPLETE and ABSOLUTE open mindedness in all meetings.

While society is starting to alter it’s perception of Alcoholics, do not be surprised if a member of the fellowship whom you may know well from the AA church hall meetings does not greet you on the street outside of the meeting.

Anonymity and non-judgemental open mindedness and sobriety are the prerequisites to every meeting.

There AA programme is managed in five key areas of importance.

  • Meeting attendance
  • Completion of written work
  • The use of a sponsor
  • Service
  • Forming you relationship with a Higher Power.

Complete List of AA meetings in South Africa.

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