Opinions on Alcoholics Anonymous

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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is an international mutual aid fellowship founded in 1935 (two years after the end of prohibition in the United States in December 1933) by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio. AA states that its primary purpose is to help alcoholics "to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety". With other early members Bill Wilson and Bob Smith developed AA's Twelve Step program of spiritual and character development. AA's initial Twelve Traditions were introduced in 1946 to help the fellowship be stable and unified while disengaged from "outside issues" and influences. The Traditions recommend that members and groups remain anonymous in public media, altruistically helping other alcoholics and avoiding affiliations with any other organization. The Traditions also recommend that those representing AA avoid dogma and coercive hierarchies. Subsequent fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous have adopted and adapted the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to their respective primary purposes.

According to AA's most recent membership survey, from 2011, 27% of members are sober under a year, 24% are sober 1–5 years, 12% 5–10 years, and 36% of members have over ten years sober. The Cochrane Review of eight studies, published in 2006, measuring the effectiveness of AA found no significant difference between the results of AA and twelve-step participation compared to other treatments. To determine the effectiveness of AA, the authors suggested more studies comparing treatment outcomes with control groups were necessary

The first female member, Florence Rankin, joined AA in March 1937, and the first non-Protestant member, a Roman Catholic, joined in 1939. AA membership has since spread "across diverse cultures holding different beliefs and values", including geopolitical areas resistant to grassroots movements. In the Fourth Edition of Alcoholics Anonymous (November 2001), it states "Since the third edition was published in 1976, worldwide membership of AA has just about doubled, to an estimated two million or more..."

AA's name is derived from its first book, informally called "The Big Book", originally titled Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How More Than One Hundred Men Have Recovered From Alcoholism.


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Thanks to this graph, we can see the interest Alcoholics Anonymous has and the evolution of its popularity.

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