Alcoholics Anonymous -- What is the Secret of Their Success?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is successful because the program is so simple. Even a hard-core drunk with no hope can grasp this basic program if he is willing to try.


"Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.

There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes.

Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

~The Alcoholics Anonymous Preamble


AA is the father of all twelve step programs, claiming over 2 million sober members. Other programs, focusing on drugs, food, gambling, and other addictions have been created in its likeness.

Alcoholics Anonymous

Why so many 12 step programs? Well, they seem to work!

So, what is the "secret of success" for Alcoholics Anonymous? There seem to be several...

A Simple Program for Complicated Alcoholics

The program is laid out in a very simple fashion. A drinker comes to a meeting and asks to be a member of AA. If they "have a desire to stop drinking", then they are qualified.

They then ask a senior member to be their sponsor. This person acts a guide or mentor as they work the steps.

The rest of the program is laid out in order. The newcomer and their sponsor work on step 1, then step 2, then step 3...

These steps often require deep introspection and self-evaluation, which can be difficult for many people. This honest self-evaluation allows the new member to unburden himself in a confession-like undertaking.

Inclusion: Sharing Hope with Other Addicts

Anyone can join Alcoholics Anonymous. No one can be turned down because of their sex, religion, personal beliefs, hygiene, or any other reason.

Often, alcoholics at the height of their drinking careers isolate themselves and push away family and friends due to their behavior. Those who come to AA with no friends are relieved to feel included in the group right away.

Support and Love From Drinkers With Similar Stories

Regular meetings all over the world provide a firm safety net for recovering alcoholics. Members learn to make friends, ask for help, and reach out to others. You don't have to do it alone!

Hope For Even the Most Desperate, Hopeless Drunk

An endless cycle of drinking with no foreseeable relief will take the will to live from even the strongest person. A drinking alcoholic who believes that tomorrow will be just like today (horrible) will eventually lose all hope.

Alcoholics Anonymous teaches that, even in the worst cases, there is hope! This is great news for newcomers who have tried repeatedly to quit or control their drinking. Veterans with years of experience share their stories, telling everyone about how they had lived a drunken life then found a way to change.

These stories go a long way to restore hope!

It's easy to think "if that guy can do it, maybe I can too". Often, this is all a newcomer needs to get through those first difficult days.

It turns out simplicity is good! Those of us who face some sort of addiction have a couple of choices. We can continue on the same path or we can make a change. The lucky few who opt for change can find a new freedom...one we never would have dreamed of.

From Alcoholics Anonymous to Alcohol Treatment

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