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Why No One Talks About Services Anymore

A An Overview of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a global mutual aid organization composed of alcoholics and former alcoholics trying to achieve and maintain sobriety. Now with more than 2 million members, AA started in 1935 through the initiative of Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, both from Akron Ohio.

Together with other early members, Wilson and Smith built the 12-step program of the movement, which centered around spiritual and character development. In 1946, the movement’s Twelve Traditions was born. The Traditions encourage members and groups to keep their identities anonymous, help other alcoholics, and welcome everyone who wishes to stop their drinking habit.

In addition, the program recommends that all members avoid dogma, governing hierarchies and public issue involvement when acting on behalf of the group. Subsequently, similar movements like Narcotics Anonymous, have used AA’s Twelve Traditions and used the program for their own ends.

By this time, local chapters of AA have begun springing up all around the U.S. and the globe. There are about 100,000 chapters across the U.S. and some 2,000,000 members the globe over. Grassroots efforts are also made to help those who have a drug and alcohol problem and are determined to change.

Groups do not require members to pay fees or dues; instead, they are funded through voluntary contributions. The only requirement for joining is a commitment to achieving sobriety.

What a lot of people don’t know is that AA is a non-professional organization, which means there are no clinics, counselors, doctors or psychologists working on members’ cases. Everyone was once an alcoholic and they are helping one another recover. As well, there is no central authority directing how these groups work or operate. Members themselves are the ones who decide what they do.

AA Tokens

Although the decision to recover from alcoholism can begin in one moment, the process of recovery itself can last a whole lifetime. As AA members embark on the 12-step recovery program of the group and move on with life, carrying with them mementos of the process, can help them achieve continued success. These mementos are more popularly known as AA recovery medallions or AA chips milestones. In simple terms, these items were there to remind members of their victory over alcoholism and of their promise to stay sober.

Even as AA is a non-religious movement, it was Sister Ignatia, a Catholic nun, who gave out the first AA recovery medallions to recovering alcoholics. She equated acceptance of the medallion with the recipients’ commitment to God, as well as to the movement and to their own recovery. That established the tradition of AA recovery medallions, coins, chips or whatever term was given the same meaning.