The term Alcohol anonymous is the same as the rehabilitation of alcoholics globally. The mandate of the organization over the years has benefited millions of individuals addicted to alcohol. In addition, AA has influenced the creation of numerous programs to aid in the rehabilitation of alcoholics. Despite the crucial mandate of the organization in the current situation, it is crucial to explore the history of the AA in order to understand the significance of the organization in the society.
In the 1930s, America grappled with alcoholism. In this era, the problem was considered a moral failing. The problem was compounded by the conclusion be medical personnel that alcoholism is incurable (Galanter, Kaskutas, and Lagressa 56). Despite alcoholism being a social problem at the time, there were limited resources to facilitate the fight against the problem. This meant that charitable organizations such as the Salvation Army were the only institutions offering help for individuals suffering from the condition. However, individuals who could afford psychiatry services were subjected to methods like asylum treatment and purge and puke. In 1931, the Oxford Group came into prominence in the combat against alcoholism. This was under the stewardship of Dr. Franklin Buchman who believed that sinners could be rehabilitated (Galanter, Kaskutas, and Lagressa 56). The approach of the organization utilized teachings that promoted positivity in life. Bill Wilson, a suffering alcoholic joined the group in his search for an effective treatment for his condition. The teachings experienced in the Oxford Group influenced Wilson and the consequent formation of AA. This is evident in the 12-step program observed in the organization. Wilson’s experiences enabled him to understand the challenges faced by alcoholics. This is due to his history with alcohol, which led to his downward spiral socially and economically. His experience at the Oxford meetings made him curious to identify methods useful to other alcoholics. Despite Wilson’s efforts, he was not able to help anyone stay sober.
The creation of AA took shape when Wilson was travelling and felt an urge to drink. In order to stay sober, he wanted to speak to a fellow alcoholic for support. During this endeavor, he interacted with Dr. Bob Smith, who became the first alcoholic he cured (Galanter, Kaskutas, and Lagressa 57). The two individuals became integral to the formation of the modern AA.
Smith and Wilson endeavored to create a program that is simple to help alcoholics despite the severity of their condition. The difference between their approach and that of the Oxford groups was that alcoholism was equivalent to insanity. The alcoholics, therefore, needed to be encouraged to conquer the habit intrinsically. The tactic used in the new program involved the use of conversation in order to establish the root of an individual’s alcohol problem. This meant interacting with the immediate family of the individual and consequently the individual in order to establish the gravity of the problem. The individual will be invited into the house of smith in order to surrender alcoholism and embrace a spiritual life. In addition, individuals were not allowed to participate without a sponsor. The sessions involved prayer and a lecture from Dr. Smith about the medical facts of alcoholism. In addition, there was a new diet for the patient in order to counter the alcohol cravings. After working with two AA members, the Akron group was formed in 1935 (Galanter, Kaskutas, and Lagressa 57). However, there were several tragic incidences in the Wilson’s household in their efforts to help alcoholics. This resulted in the practice being stopped in 1936. The subsequent visit to the Oxford Group by Wilson led to the separation of the Akron group from the Oxford one. The group opposed supporting the suggestion of expansion by the doctor and only consented to his request to publish a book. This disagreement led to the separation of the two groups due to disagreements on the future approach.
In 1940, the group attempted to secure funding from the Rockefeller foundation. This quest, regrettably, failed since the organization was encouraged to be self-supporting (Galanter, Kaskutas, and Lagressa 59). Despite the disappointment by the group’s leaders, the model appeared to work in the long term. Smith and Wilson formed a nonprofit group dubbed the alcoholic foundation, which was the basis of the modern AA.
Galanter, Marc, Lee A. Kaskutas, and Dolly Lagressa. Research on Alcoholics Anonymous and Spirituality in Addiction: The Twelve-Step Program Model, Spiritually Oriented Recovery, Twelve-Step Membership, Effectiveness and Outcome Research. New York: Springer, 2008. Print.