Nicole P. Thompson
Professor: Jean D. Keefe
April 13, 2009
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Al-Anon groups have helped a lot of people become sober, and to deal with an alcoholic family member. It takes a lot for a person to first admit to having a drinking problem, and then share their experiences with a room full of people. If they want help, that is what they have to do. Research on two AA meetings provided a lot of knowledge and understanding.
Alcoholic Anonymous and Al-Anon Groups
The purpose of this research paper was to attend two support group meetings and share my experiences. The meetings that were to be attended were an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting and an Al-Anon meeting. Being that there are not any Al-Anon meetings in our city, two AA meetings could be used for research instead. Alcoholics Anonymous was started by Bill W. and Dr. Bob in Akron, Ohio in 1935. Bill W., who was fighting his own battle against drinking, learned that helping other alcoholics was the key to maintaining his own sobriety (http://alcoholism.about.com). That belief is where The Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous derived from. Bill sought out to find another alcoholic. In doing so, he met a surgeon named Dr. Bob who for years had been fighting a battle with drinking. They became close friends and began helping other alcoholics. They began helping alcoholics one by one in Dr. Bob’s house. It took four years to get the first 100 alcoholics sober. After the publication in 1939 of the group’s “text book” Alcoholics Anonymous, the development of AA was rapid (http://alcoholism.about.com). Over 100,000 people had become sober by 1951 with the help of Alcoholics Anonymous, and over one million copies of The Big Book had been issued. AA continued to grow and has become worldwide. On November 16, Dr. Bob died, and on January 24, 1971, Bill W. died. Their work still helps people become and stay sober today. While Bill W. and Dr. Bob helped the alcoholics, Dr. Bob’s wife Annie S. was there to console their wives. Annie knew what the wives were going through because she too was living with a recovering alcoholic herself. Family groups started as early as 1935 when the relatives of the alcoholics came to the AA meetings with them (http://www.al-anon-suffolk-ny.org). The families confided in each other and shared their experiences of living with an alcoholic. They realized that following the Twelve Steps of the AA was very helpful in repairing their families. Annie B. and her friend Lois decided to reach the families of the alcoholics and opened an office. Their purpose was to unify family groups, select a name, and to adopt the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions of AA, with their consent. They chose the name Al-Anon Family Groups. Some A-Anon members identify themselves as having several relationships with alcoholics or acknowledge that alcoholism is multi-generational in their families (http://www.al-anon-suffolk-ny.org). Al-anon has had solid and continuous growth. The door is always open for the families and friends of alcoholics whose lives have been affected. When it was time to go observe the first AA meeting, there was an uneasy feeling within myself. It was not because of fear, but because I felt that the members would feel like they were going to be criticized or looked down on. I did not want them to feel as if they were being observed like a lab project or anything. Upon entering, we were greeted immediately. That is when the feeling of assurance kicked in. I was so relieved to be welcomed with a smile. The members offered us coffee and soda. The meeting started promptly at 8:00 p.m. There was a chairman who conducted the meeting. He was also an alcoholic. The meeting started off with a Moment of Silence, followed by the Serenity Prayer. There were 17 people in all. They consisted of three women and 14 men,...