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Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
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    Spin-off of the Oxford Group (later evolved into the Moral Re-Armament movement)
    Co-founded by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith in Akron, Ohio on June 10, 1935 (the day of Dr. Bob's last drink)
    Concept involves alcoholics helping to keep each other sober through meetings, sponsorship and a 12-step program
    2006 estimated worldwide membership: Over 1,800,000 people in over 106,000 groups
    It's more commonly known as A.A. - sharing its nickname with American Airlines.
    Unlike with clergy and lawyers, nobody is legally bound to maintain a member's confidentiality.
    Drop-out rate is high - an estimated one in 10 alcoholics ever attend at least one meeting and one in 4 of those are still with the program a year later.
    Though not a religious group, belief in a 'higher power' is a keystone to its members, and most refer to their 'higher power' as God.
    Many members use corny slogans, such as 'one drink is too many and thousand not enough,' 'easy does it, but do it,' 'let go and let God' and 'denial is not just a river in Egypt.'
    At times, a member may show up drunk to a meeting.
    Some folks use A.A. as a place to meet and date people of the opposite sex (also known as 13th stepping).
    The organization has never been a guarantee to continued sobriety.
    It has grown exponentially since its founders helped themselves and about 100 members stay sober between 1935-37.
    Meetings come in two forms - 'closed' for its alcoholic members and 'open' for anyone who wants to learn more about A.A.
    The A.A. book, also known as the 'big book,' is on its 4th edition and had sold millions of copies in several different languages (also available on-line).
    Suggested donation for attending an A.A. meeting is $1, which hasn't changed since its inception and is NOT required to attend.
    As a 'right of progress,' every year a member stays sober is entitled to receive a chip (with the number of years of sobriety on the front and the 'serenity prayer' on the back).
    Its success has helped to form other self-help groups - including Al-Anon (for families of alcoholics), Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous and Overeaters Anonymous.
    Though not without controversy, it helped convince the A.M.A. to diagnose alcoholism as a disease rather than merely lack of will power or moral failure.
    While there is no 'cure' for alcoholism, A.A. has helped millions of people maintain long-term sobriety.

Credit: Scar Tactics

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