If you drink and have ever thought of quitting, you may have considered getting help to do so. In fact, alcoholism can be so insidious, you will probably have to get assistance in order to successfully stop drinking. Three oft-cited resources to help in this regard are Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A), Al-Anon and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Of these, A.A. may be the most well known.
Founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson (Bill W.) and Dr. Robert Smith (Dr. Bob), the workings of the organization have been well documented in books, A.A. literature and movies. A.A. is based on three simple premises:
- The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking. No dues or fees are assessed. The group is self-supporting.
- A.A. does not endorse causes and in fact, is not affiliated with any religion, political faction, organization or institution.
- The stated primary purpose of the group is for members to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.
The organization concentrates on helping those who are alcoholics stop drinking and live a happy life without alcohol. It works by setting up groups (A.A is established in 180 countries) where people get together anonymously usually once or twice a week. There are two types of meetings: open and closed. In open meetings speakers discuss how they drink, how they found A.A. and how the program has helped them. Closed meetings are for alcoholics only. Anyone can speak up. Often some or all of the 12 steps are talked about in personal success stories.
Al-Anon/Alateen or Al-Anon Family Groups
The only purpose of Al-Anon is to help families of alcoholics. Alateen is part of Al-Anon. It is the twelve-step recovery program for adolescents, usually aged 13 to 19 years old, who are affected by another’s drinking (usually a family member). Similar in structure to Alcoholics Anonymous (one of the Al-Anon founders was Lois W., the wife of Bill Wilson), the group is dedicated to practicing the Twelve Steps. They give comfort to the families of alcoholics and provide understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic. As a family illness, Al-Anon believes that changing attitudes can help with recovery.
As with A.A. Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution. It does not endorse or oppose any cause. There are no dues. The groups are supported by voluntary contributions.
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
This national organization promotes “understanding the impact of alcohol on human health and well being.” It’s one of 27 institutes that make up the National Institutes of Health (NIH). It conducts research on the impact of alcohol and is the largest source of funding of alcohol research in the world.
Some of the research they take on is done to reveal why people respond to alcohol differently, to provide findings to healthcare providers and to support studies about alcohol prevention and treatment.
If you are an alcoholic or suspect you might be, contact Recovery First right now before the disease takes its toll on your physical and emotional well being, or sends you further down the path to destruction. Because it will – this is a progressive, fatal disease if not treated. Take action before it is too late; your life depends on it. We’re here for you 24 hours per day, 7 days per week and can help no matter where you are or how bad the problem is, so there’s no excuse not to call.