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Friday, June 24, 2016

Alcoholics Anonymous Turns 81

alcoholics anonymous
The vast majority of addiction treatment centers in the United States incorporate the 12-Step model of recovery into their program. The 12-Steps were developed by the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous in the 1930’s, and since that time the steps have been slightly adapted to be used for any number of addictions or unhealthy behaviors that people would like to be free of.

That is perhaps that most wonderful aspect of the 12-Step model, it reinforces the idea that alcohol is but a symptom of a greater problem. You can replace the word “alcohol” with just about any harmful aspect that holds one back in life, and the principles will hold true—they are universal.

It is held that the first meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) took place in Akron, Ohio in 1935. It was a small gathering consisting of two individuals whose lives had become unmanageable due to their alcohol use. It is hard to imagine that Bill Wilson, a former New York stock broker, and Dr. Bob Smith, could have known the impact that their meeting would have on millions of people around the globe.

The idea was simple, one alcoholic helping another alcoholic recover from the affliction—in order to lead a productive life. Alcoholism is a lonely disease, but recovery is a communal endeavor—where people with similar pasts and like-minded goals can work together to recover from their insidious disease. Now, eighty-one years later, recovering alcoholics and addicts continue to use the model formulated by the founders of AA, incorporating the principles and traditions of the program.

Thanks to a chance meeting between two bottom of the barrel alcoholics nearly a century ago, millions of people have learned how to not pick up a drink or drug—no matter what. The heart of addiction recovery is paying it forward; you cannot keep what you have unless you are willing to give it away.

On the 81st anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous, we at Celebrate Hope at Hope By The Sea would like to commend everyone who continues to live the principles of recovery—helping others find the miracles that come from not picking up a drink.

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