Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) started in 1935 in Akron, Ohio, USA as a result of the meeting between a New York stockbroker and an Akron surgeon who were both hopeless alcoholics.
They realized that alcoholism was a disease that could be treated by a system of applying spiritual values to daily living.
Both men began working with themselves and with other alcoholics.
In four years, there were three groups and 100 sober alcoholics.
In 1939, based on their experiences (both the failures and the successes), the fellowship published its basic textbook, Alcoholics Anonymous, describing the AA philosophy and methods, and establishing the Twelve Steps. This book has been in continuous publication since then. Although it has been revised and updated, the Twelve Steps have remained the core, touching the lives of a countless number of people around the world.
Shortly after the founding of AA, the families and friends of alcoholics banded together to form AL-ANON, an organization that teaches the Twelve Steps to individuals who are most affected by the alcoholics in their lives.
Since then, other groups have adopted the AA philosophy and successfully applied it to many problems.
There are, for example, Twelve Step groups addressing
- drug abuse (such as Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous),
- support for substance abusers’ family and friends (such as AL-ANON, ALATEEN, NARANON, Co-dependents Anonymous),
- other addictive problems (such as Debtors Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Workaholics Anonymous, Eating Addictions Anonymous, and Overeaters Anonymous),
- relationship issues (such as Incest Survivors Anonymous, Relationships Anonymous, and Parents Anonymous), as well as
- mental health issues (such as Obsessive-Compulsive Anonymous, and Emotions Anonymous).