The 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Closed” vs. “Open” Meetings. 12 Steps of AA

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What Is AA ?

Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about their drinking problem. The organization itself was founded by recovering alcoholics, and that model has held true until today. Every person involved in AA has been through it before, cultivating a unique feeling of community and understanding among the recovering addicts.

Alcoholics Anonymous has been around since it was founded in 1935 by Bill W. and Dr. Bob in Akron, Ohio. The program’s expansion from a meeting between two alcoholics on June 10, 1935, got a boost with the publication of the book Alcoholics Anonymous, known as The Big Book, and a 1941 article in the Saturday Evening Post about the group. The feeling of having shared in a common peril is one element in the powerful cement that binds AA members.

Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting

Attendees of an AA meeting will be welcomed into the group. Discussion among new attendees is encouraged but not Attendees of an AA meeting will be welcomed into the group. Discussion among new attendees is encouraged but not required. In this circumstance, individuals may be vulnerable about how their addiction has impacted their loved ones.

Attendees may share stories and include commentary surrounding their journey of sobriety. There may be others who share their story or provide advice for others’ knowledge. Individuals can make friends and gain new perspectives. AA understands some people may not feel comfortable sharing intimate details during their first visit. As time goes on, most people find great healing and therapy through the open and honest discussions these meetings provide.

Learn what are the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
“One day at a time.” ― Alcoholics Anonymous

“Closed” vs. “Open” Meetings

In a closed AA meeting, the only people who may attend are those who are recovering addicts (or those interested in learning more about overcoming their addiction). Open meetings allow the attendance of friends, spouses, and family members. This is beneficial for those who wish to remain connected to a friend and family members and feel family members’ support creates feelings of safety.

Closed meetings could protect privacy, allowing limited or no outside involvement. Whether you decide to go to a closed or open meeting depends exclusively on what you’re comfortable with. Some people would rather keep their recovery separate from the rest of their life, hence closed meetings. Others thrive on the support that loved ones can provide during meetings, therefore open meetings.

12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous

A.A.’s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become


2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to


3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we

understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Alcoholics Anonymous
“I have found that the process of discovering who I really am begins with knowing who I really don’t want to be.”

Completion of the Alcoholics Anonymous steps won’t miraculously end your desire to drink. In fact, many successful recovered alcoholics still find themselves with cravings even decades later. Therefore, AA members are encouraged to repeat this process as often as necessary for long-standing recovery.

The 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous

The 12 traditions of AA serve as the foundation of the organization. Because of these, members are able to rest assured that AA is a safe place to share their experiences and get support for their alcohol use disorder (AUD).

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon

A.A. unity.

2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority—a loving God as

He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but

trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups

or A.A. as a whole.

5. Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the

alcoholic who still suffers.

6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any

related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and

prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside


8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our

service centers may employ special workers.

9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards

or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A.

name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we

need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and


12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us

to place principles before personalities.

Finding the Right Mental Health Treatment Plan and The 12 Step Group Meetings

“Being a little kinder, a little slower to anger, a little more loving makes my life better—day by day.” ― Alcoholics Anonymous

The urge to drink can still persist even after multiple completions of the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 steps. In cases like this, it’s highly recommended to seek additional alcohol addiction treatment.

Inpatient medical detox and residential primary addiction treatment may be available at our affiliated facility at Level Up West Palm Beach Rehab. For some primary behavioral health treatment clients, medical detox and or addiction rehab may be required first.  If you have a co-occurring severe substance abuse diagnosis, please contact us prior to beginning inpatient mental health therapy. Treatment services may vary. Please call us to learn which treatment options are most suited for your individual needs.


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