How Does Alcoholics Anonymous Help?

Twelve Steps Help Life Make Sense

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The Beauty of A.A. © Getty Images

Alcoholics Anonymous has helped millions of people since it was founded in 1935, but exactly how does A.A. help people stop drinking? Actually, members of Alcoholics Anonymous say that A.A. does not help people stop drinking, it helps people who have stopped drinking to remain sober.

By taking the 12 steps and working the principles of the steps into all parts of their lives, A.A. members find they can develop the tools and attitudes they need to remain sober. As Lisa explains, the 12 steps helped her learn to live with herself.

Lisa's Story: The Beauty of A.A.

I believe I have remained sober because the 12 steps helped me to live with myself, but I have to agree that they did not get me sober. In fact, by the time I entered treatment I had been "dry" for about six weeks. They admitted me under a depression diagnosis because health insurance argued that I didn't need treatment to stop drinking.

But you are right, I had already surrendered. I had been whipped, left a path of destruction in my wake, and had no earthly idea how to pull myself together.

'Good Healthy Living'

For me that has been the beauty of A.A. The steps really are suggestions in good healthy living. Once sober, I realized that people I knew who had reasonably manageable lives practiced similar approaches to their lives, yet they had never been exposed to a 12-step program.

I was pretty clueless about what constituted good mental health, but I knew that I was not the product of a healthy household.

My introduction to the 12 Steps marked the first time that life had ever made sense so I could begin to live with myself.

Did Not Have to DO Those Things

And the 12 Traditions, once I was over the idea that they were merely A.A.'s rules and regulations, taught me something about living with others. But that may be another discussion.

Point is, the person I was would have continued to drink, would have continued to get in her own way, would have fallen down the proverbial rabbit hole. The 12 Steps helped me to become someone who did not have to do all those things anymore.

-- Lisa

Find an A.A. Meeting

If you are struggling trying to maintain long-time sobriety, you might want to try an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting and learn more about how the 12 steps work. You can find a meeting in your area, or participate in an online meeting.

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