Grant Me the Serenity: 7 Facts About Alcoholics Anonymous That May Surprise You


If you have a problem with drinking, and you will know if you do or not, then attending Alcoholics Anonymous is a good place to go for support and help. Not everyone who joins this program will benefit from it in the same way, yet everyone will get something out of joining AA.

Here are 7 facts about Alcoholics Anonymous that may surprise you.

  1. The Oxford Group

AA began as part of the Oxford Group, a Christian group that relied heavily on religion and a dash of pop psychology to “save” those who were in a near constant state of inebriation.

The Oxford Group was run by an ex-YMCA missionary for wealthy Prodenstants. Bill Wilson joined the group and then traveled to Ohio and recruited Doctor Robert Smith, aka Dr. Bob into the program.

  1. AA – Alcoholics Anonymous

After a short period of time, Wilson and Smith broke away and formed their own group that became AA. Wilson wrote the Big Book which outlined the 12 steps a member must adhere to become and remain sober.

He chose 12 steps because there were 12 apostles and his core principles seemed to fit nicely with that amount.

  1. 1940s Boom

AA received a glowing write up in the Saturday Evening Post during this time. The article profiled a player for the Cleveland Indians and he said how much the AA program helped his game.

This became a wild time for the group as they were not prepared for so much attention and so many new members. Some were talking about opening up AA hospitals, having paid missionaries and even that people were drinking beer together at the meetings. Not what Wilson and Smith had in mind.

  1. “A Sanatorium for Curable Alcoholics”

In 1947, a hospital in Minnesota founded a hospital for the professional class and used the AA principles to help these high-class individuals overcome their drinking problem.

Then, in quick succession, came other Anonymous groups, Overeaters Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, all standing on the AA principles and not charging any money. Each having their own set of rules and bylaws, but the 12 steps were nearly identical.

  1. Death of the Founder

In 1950 the membership of AA reached over 100,000 and Wilson removed himself from his thriving invention. He began taking LSD, became depressed and started chain smoking before his death from emphysema in 1971.

  1. How Does it Work?

One of the well-known facts about AA is that a person who is no longer drinking has the capacity to reach out to another person who is still drinking and bring them up, helping them to stop.

Helping someone else has a profound effect on the person doing the helping. The person in need gets the help he or she needs, but the helper benefits as well by doing something nice for their fellow man.

  1. Fellowship and Support

When you join the AA, you will always have someone that knows what you are going through. You will never be alone again. Having someone to share with is priceless.

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