Alcoholism and drug addiction are often referred to as "substance abuse" or "chemical dependency." Alcoholics and nonalcoholic’s are, therefore, sometimes introduced to A.A. and encouraged to attend A.A. meetings. Anyone may attend open A.A. meetings. But only those with a drinking problem may attend closed meetings or become A.A. members. People with problems other than alcoholism are eligible for A.A. membership only if they have a drinking problem.
Dr. Vincent Dole, a pioneer in methadone treatment in the US for heroin addicts and for several years a trustee on the US General Service Board of AA, made the following statement: "The source of strength in A.A. is its single-mindedness. The mission of A.A. is to help alcoholics. A.A. limits what it is demanding of itself and its associates, and its success lies in its limited target. To believe that the process that is successful in one line guarantees success for another would be a very serious mistake." Consequently, we welcome the opportunity to share A.A. experience with those who would like to develop Twelve Step/Twelve Tradition programs for the nonalcoholic addict by using A.A. methods.
AA Members speak to medical students to inform them of what AA has to offer those with drinking problems. Feedback from these sessions provides an insight into what AA can offer, e.g.
"No one was told what they should do or what they shouldn’t, it was simply talking about one’s own experience and feelings, and leaving it open for others to ponder over it. On speaking to a few members after the meeting they spoke about how they were a little family, where they were all brothers and sisters who shared honestly, had grown to love, feel together, suffer together and perhaps develop something they never even had at home. The fact that they trusted me to sit in with them and hear their most personal stories was very humbling and for once I felt that AA provides its members with the kind of healing emotional and mental support that no health professional team could match up to."
"Drink responsibly" has done as much for alcoholism as "Have a nice day" has for depression.
- Help for individuals
- Help for friends and family
- Info for professionals
- Info for the media