Alcoholics Anonymous

Alcoholics Anonymous and Addiction Treatment

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, both recovering alcoholics, Alcoholics Anonymous is a community-based support group and fellowship designed to encourage sobriety for other recovering alcoholics through peer-support. 

Today, Alcoholics Anonymous—referred to often as AA—is estimated to have more than 2 million members worldwide in more than 180 countries. These groups all share the same foundational literature, traditions, and 12 steps that were originally developed by Wilson, Smith, and other founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Many other groups have since taken inspiration from the AA model to form other 12-step themed groups, such as Narcotics Anonymous. 


What to Expect from an AA Meeting

The decision to go to an AA meeting can feel intimidating and extremely uncomfortable. Some individuals wait to attend an AA meeting until they feel they have no other options left, and others attend full of doubt to whether they’re really an alcoholic or not. People from all walks of life can share a room with one common goal: a desire to stop drinking. 

Every AA member knows what it is like to attend their first meeting, and the common feelings of unease, illness, and despair that can bring someone there. Alcoholics Anonymous was founded by recovery alcoholics, and this model remains. Groups are fully financially self-supporting, meaning they run completely on donations from group members for costs such as coffee supplies, meeting space rental, and literature. 

Alcoholics Anonymous welcomes newcomers. Discussion among new attendees to the meeting is encouraged, but not required. Topics and discussions at AA meetings are often centered around readings from AA literature or experiences in working the steps, and members will share their experience, strength and hope for several minutes on the chosen topic. Members often share what their life was like when they were drinking, in contrast to what their life is like now that they are sober. 

AA groups understand the many sentiments that can be present for a person at their first meeting—anger, despair, contempt, skepticism, desperation, fear, and even excitement, comfort, or relief. Many of these, and more, may be present simultaneously. Often, as time goes on, people find a great deal of healing, community, and connectedness through the open and honest discussions these meetings provide. 


Finding An Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings nearby are generally easy to find regardless of where you live. Most groups meet at least once a week, often more frequently, and range from very small groups of just a few individuals, to groups that boast hundreds of regular attendees. Meetings are often held in community spaces such as churches or recreation centers. To find an AA meeting near you, you may use the resources available at

At Oasis Recovery, we believe recovery is not a one-size-fits-all approach, and we support clients in exploring many different modalities of recovery, including 12-step meetings, to find their path of greatest freedom. For more information, download our free e-book to get started on a journey of mindful recovery today.