alcoholics-annonymousThe touchstone of Alcoholics Anonymous is to help recovering alcoholics learn to live by spiritual principles. Through the working of steps, many members come to identify with a “higher power” which helps guide them in their recovery. For many, this comes through religion, however this is not a requirement for recovery. Many alcoholics with many years sober identify the rooms of Alcoholics Anonymous as their higher power. Through this process, alcoholics learn to live a life based around serving and living for others and not by living only for themselves.

There are no requirements for AA membership. Alcoholics Anonymous is completely free to attend and be a part of. Donations are accepted but are not required. There are also no restrictions on membership based on societal factors, meaning that anyone is allowed join regardless of their race, ethnicity, religious or political affiliations, sexual orientation or sexually identity, economic status, etc. Anybody who is living with the disease of alcoholism or simply just believes he or she may have a problem with drinking is welcome to join and attend meetings.

While it certainly is not required, it is highly recommended that members participate in service of some kind. Service is the cornerstone of AA and is the heartbeat of the program. AA is completely self-supporting and does not accept outside contributions. This means Alcoholics Anonymous does not have “employees” and meetings are financed entirely on donations from members. This means that anyone working in AA is working on their own accord. Any money that is collected in meetings goes directly to anything that may be needed to run the meeting such as paying rent and buying meeting supplies. Service can be anything from sponsoring a new member or just making the coffee for the meeting. Services helps to keep AA members participating in their own recovery, to keep groups up and running, and also to keep outside groups or organizations from interfering with the AA message of recovery.

Alcoholics Anonymous has proven itself to be one of the longest lasting and most effective institutions for combating alcoholism and is recognized the world over. It is the original and largest 12 step organization and continues to grow daily as more alcoholics get sober. It’s reputation as a mode of recovery insures that it will have a long-lasting presence in the field of recovery and alcoholism for years to come.

For more information about Alcoholics Anonymous or to find the meetings closest to you, visit www.aa.org for a complete meeting list, both on Long Island and world wide.