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Alcoholics Anonymous

  • By: Randolph G. Atkins Jr.
  • In: Encyclopedia of Drug Policy
  • Edited by: Mark A. R. Kleiman & James E. Hawdon
  • Subject:Public Policy, Drug Crimes

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a mutual-aid recovery support group for people having problems with alcohol. AA is a nonprofit, anonymous, nonprofessional, and self-supporting fellowship that stresses the importance of total abstinence. AA defines alcoholism as a physical compulsion and a psychological obsession, as well as a spiritual disease. Members identify themselves as alcoholics regardless of how long they have been sober. Alcoholism is considered a lifelong disease. Members can recover and become sober alcoholics, but never former alcoholics. Meetings are led by group members and can either be open to the public or limited to members only. Meetings include group discussions, sharing of personal problems, and feedback from other members.

The 12 Steps of AA require members to first accept that they are powerless over alcohol. ...

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