Alcoholics Anonymous works differently than other treatment programs. We believe that recovery is only possible when a person admits to themselves that they have a problem.
We believe this because we are alcoholics, and we know from our own journeys that telling someone they have a problem is not going to help them. Our purpose is not to judge others, but to build each other’s strength by sharing our struggles and strategies for sobriety.
Alcoholism takes different forms for different people. For some alcoholics, drinking has consumed their entire lives. They’ve lost everything, and are homeless, living every day to scrape together enough change to buy another bottle. These people are the most visible face of alcoholism, and some of us have been there, but the majority of alcoholics live lives that look normal to their friends and neighbors. We are doctors, teachers, accountants or construction workers. We may have taken our kids to soccer practice, drinking alcohol from a coffee cup. The only thing alcoholics have in common is an inability to quit drinking.
Are you an alcoholic? We can’t answer that question, because the only person who can answer it is you. What we can do is share what we’ve learned from our own experiences. The following is a list of questions our veteran members have asked themselves.
Not all of us answered yes to all these questions, but all of us answered yes to at least one of them. If you answer yes to three or more of them, you may be an alcoholic. Whether or not you choose to join us is entirely up to you. Even if you believe you have a problem, you may decide that you can deal with it on your own. In that case, we ask only that you keep A.A. in mind.
- Have I ever tried to quit drinking and failed?
- Have I ever hid my drinking from others, for example by going to another room to have a drink, or by drinking alcohol from a coffee cup or soda bottle?
- Do I sometimes need an “eye-opener” to get started in the morning? Do I use the “hair of the dog” method to get over hangovers?
- Do I sometimes begin drinking with the intention of having just one or two drinks, but end up getting drunk anyway?
- Do I sometimes drive drunk? Do I perform other dangerous activities while under the influence?
- Has my drinking damaged my relationships with friends or family members?
- Does sobriety make me miserable or uncomfortable? Do I start shaking or get anxious when I can’t drink?
- Have I neglected financial obligations, like bills or rent, to purchase more alcohol?
- Have I called in sick to work because I was drunk or hung over?
- Has drinking caused me to have medical problems? Has my doctor advised me to quit drinking?
- Do I avoid events where I can’t drink alcohol?
- Do I think I may have a problem with alcohol?