What Is Alcoholism?
Alcoholism is recognised as a major health problem. In the UK it ranks alongside heart disease and cancer – and it does not damage alcoholics alone. Others are hurt by its effects – in the home, at work and on the road. Alcoholism costs the community millions of pounds every year. So whether or not you ever become an alcoholic yourself, alcoholism still can have an impact on your life.
We have learnt a great deal about how to identify and arrest alcoholism. But so far no one has discovered a way to prevent it, because nobody knows exactly why some drinkers turn into alcoholics. Doctors and Scientists in the field have not agreed on the cause or causes of alcoholism.
For that reason AA concentrates on helping those who are already alcoholics, so that they can stop drinking and learn how to live a normal happy life without alcohol.
As AA sees it alcoholism is an illness. Alcoholics cannot control their drinking because they are ill in body mind or emotions. If they do not stop drinking their alcoholism always gets worse.
Both British & American Medical associations have also said that Alcoholism is an illness.
What are the symptoms?
Not all alcoholics have the same symptoms but many show these signs:
They find that only alcohol can make them feel self confident & at ease with other people.
Often want “just one more” at the end of a party
Look forward to drinking occasions, and think about them a lot. Get drunk when they had not planned to; try to control drinking by changing types of drink, going on the wagon.
Sneak drinks, hide bottles & lie about their drinking. Drink at work or school; drink alone.
Experience memory loss, visit the Dr and play down the amount they are drinking hoping for a magic pill that will allow them to carry on drinking without the usual consequences.
On these issues alone they are displaying signs of insanity, often described as –
‘doing the same thing over and over whilst expecting a different result!’
A New Freedom
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Bill Wilson Co-founder of AA
Dr Bob Smith Co-founder of AA
What Is A.A?
AA was started in 1935 by a New York stockbroker and an Ohio surgeon, who had both been “hopeless” drunks.
At first most AA members also had been seriously ill their drinking having sent them to hospitals, sanatoriums or jails.
But as more & more people heard about AA, many of them alcoholics, they did not have to let their illness do that much damage.
They could recover in AA before their health had been totally wrecked and while they still had jobs, homes and families.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a worldwide fellowship of men & women who help each other to stay sober.
They offer the same help to anyone who has a drink problem, and wants to do something about it. Since they are all alcoholics themselves, they have a special understanding of each other.
They know what the illness feels like – and have recovered from it in A.A.
AA members say, “I am an Alcoholic today” – even when they have not had a drink for many years.
They do not say they are “cured”, Once people have lost their ability to control their drinking they can never again drink safely – or in other words, they can never be “former Alcoholics” or “ex Alcoholics” But in AA they can become recovered Alcoholics.
Through the example and friendship of the recovered Alcoholics in AA, new members are encouraged to stay away from a drink “One day at a time”
Instead of “swearing off forever“ or worrying about whether they will be sober tomorrow, AA members concentrate on not drinking right now – today.
By keeping alcohol out of their systems, newcomers take care of that part of their illness – their bodies have a chance to get well.
But remember, there is another part. If they are going to stay sober, they need healthy minds and emotions too. So they begin to straighten out their confused thinking and unhappy feelings by following AA’s suggested “Twelve Steps” to recovery.
These steps suggest ideas and actions to guide alcoholics towards happy and useful lives.
To stay in touch Members attend their Home Group regularly.
With other Members and Newcomers they share there experience, strength and hope and learn together about the recovery program.
The A.A. Pledge
“When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of A.A always to be there.
And for that: I am responsible”