AA Resources for Health Professionals

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Professionals who work with alcoholics share a common purpose with Alcoholics Anonymous: to help the alcoholic stop drinking and lead a healthy, productive life.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a nonprofit, self-supporting, entirely independent fellowship— “not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution.” Yet A.A. is in a position to serve as a resource to you through its policy of “cooperation but not affiliation” with the professional community.

We can serve as a  source of personal experience with alcoholism as an ongoing support community for recovering alcoholics. 

How the Program Works

A.A.’s primary purpose, as stated in our Preamble, is: “. . . to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.”

The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. Members share their experiences in recovery from alcoholism on a one-to-one basis, and introduce the newcomer to A.A.’s Twelve Steps of personal recovery and its Twelve Traditions that sustain the Fellowship itself.

Meetings. At the heart of the program are its meetings, which are conducted autonomously by A.A. groups in cities and towns throughout the world. Anyone may attend open meetings of A.A. These usually consist of talks by one or more speakers who share impressions of their past illness and their present recovery in A.A. Some open meetings — to which helping professionals, the media and others are invited — are held for the specific purpose of informing the nonalcoholic (and possibly alcoholic) public about A.A. Closed meetings are for alcoholics only. Alcoholics recovering in A.A. generally attend several meetings each week.

Anonymity. Anonymity helps the Fellowship to govern itself by principles rather than personalities; by attraction rather than promotion. We openly share our program of recovery, but not the names of the individuals in it.

What A.A. Does NOT Do

  • Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover; 
  • Solicit members; engage in or sponsor research; 
  • Keep attendance records or case histories; join “councils” of social agencies; 
  • Follow up or try to control its members; 
  • Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses; 
  • Provide drying-out or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment; 
  • Offer religious services; 
  • Engage in education about alcohol; 
  • Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money or any other welfare or social services; 
  • Provide domestic or vocational counseling; 
  • Accept any money for its services or any contributions from non-A.A. sources; 
  • Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.

Referrals From Professionals

Numerous A.A. members came to A.A. from religious, health care, or other professionals. A.A. does not discriminate against any prospective member. Who made the referral to A.A. is not what interests us — it is the problem drinker who elicits our concern.

Singleness of Purpose and Problems Other Than Alcohol

Some professionals refer to alcoholism and drug addiction as ‘substance abuse’ or ‘chemical dependency.’ Nonalcoholics are, therefore, sometimes introduced to A.A. and encouraged to attend A.A. meetings. Anyone may attend open A.A. meetings, but only those with a drinking problem may attend closed meetings.

A.A. Members and Medications

A.A. does not provide medical advice; all medical advice and treatment should come from a qualified health care professional. The suggestions provided in the pamphlet “The A.A. Member—Medications and Other Drugs” may help A.A. members minimize the risk of relapse.

How to Make Referrals to A.A.

English-speaking A.A. in Continental European Region (CER) maintains its own website with resources for professionals and members alike.

Over 1000 English-speaking meetings are available per week in the EU and Switzerland. 

Write to our Health Liaison Officer with any questions or suggestions – health.cer@aamail.org

Or use the “Contact us” form on our website.

Who Are AA Members?

The Primary Purpose of AA is to carry the program of recovery to the still suffering alcoholic.

AA members are people who have discovered and admitted that they cannot control their alcohol use regardless their best efforts. They have learned that they must live without alcohol to live normal, happy lives. Millions of alcoholics have found complete freedom from alcohol. 

Alcoholism is an illness that affects people of all ages, races, ethnicities, genders (or non-gendered), socioeconomic status, education levels, or other factors.

AA is not anti-alcohol. Members have no interest in alcohol reform or the use of alcohol among the nonalcoholic community. Anyone concerned with their drinking or the drinking of a loved one is welcome in an open AA meeting.

Members of AA do not impose their experience with drinking on others, but they do share their experience when asked to do so. Recovering alcoholics know their own sobriety depends on connecting with other alcoholics, maintaining their program of action and carrying the message of recovery to the still suffering.

“If each sufferer were to carry the news of the scientific hopelessness of alcoholism to each new prospect, he might be able to lay every newcomer wide open to a transforming spiritual experience.”

-Bill W., co-founder of Alcoholics Anonymous

No one sets out to become an alcoholic

“Not too long ago, alcoholism was viewed as a moral problem. Today, many regard it primarily as a health problem. To each problem drinker, it will always remain an intensely personal matter. Alcoholics who approach AA frequently ask questions that apply to their own experience, their own fears, and their own hopes for a better way of life.

There are many different ideas about alcoholism.

The explanation that seems to make sense to most AA members is that alcoholism is an illness, a progressive illness, which can never be cured but which, like some other diseases, can be arrested.

Members AA feel that the illness represents the combination of a physical sensitivity to alcohol and a mental obsession with drinking, which, regardless of consequences, cannot be broken by willpower alone.”  © A.A. World Services, Inc. FAQs about AA

Professionals, those that work with the recovery community, commonly refer to AA as a Peer Mentoring organization, Twelve Step Support Group, a Mutual Aid Society. There are many descriptors for alcoholism currently in use. AA has no opinion on the ever developing language used to describe this age old problem. The term “alcoholism” remains the most recognized and accepted by the general public. 

AA is nonprofessional:

AA does not diagnose anyone with a drinking problem. Members of AA will make available the information necessary for anyone to diagnose themselves. Self-diagnosis is the first step out of the delusion created by alcoholism.

The Program of Recovery described in the basic text of AA, first introduced the idea of self-diagnosis. Self-identification; the alcoholic must fully concede they will never be able to drink normally. This is essential to a life of recovery using the AA program.

“We alcoholics are men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking. We know that no real alcoholic ever recovers control. All of us felt at times that we were regaining control, but such intervals — usually brief — were inevitably followed by still less control, which led in time to pitiful and incomprehensible demoralization.” – Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 30

For long term sobriety, AA suggests a program that includes working the Twelve Step program, staying connected to the recovered community, giving back what was freely given. 

“AA members frequently come to the conclusion that alcoholism is an illness, a progressive illness, which can never be cured but which, like some other diseases, can be arrested. Going one step further, many A.A. members feel that the illness represents a combination of a physical sensitivity to alcohol and a mental obsession with drinking, which, regardless of consequences, cannot be broken by willpower alone.”  © A.A. World Services, Inc.  AA as a Resource for the Health Care Professional. P-23

Video Messages for Health Professionals
We understand that professionals from the medical and scientific community will have an interest in professional and scientific data about alcoholism and AA.  

AA as an organization does not endorse or participate in studies about alcoholism although we frequently enjoy the efforts of others. 


Does AA Work?

This short video is a synopsis of the study “New Cochrane Review finds Alcoholics Anonymous and 12-Step Facilitation programs help people to recover from alcohol problems,”  published in March of 2020.

Study authors are Dr. John Kelly of the MGH Recovery Research Institute and Harvard Medical School, Keith Humphreys of Stanford University, and Dr. Marica Ferri of the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction. The review was published in the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

A.A. Videos for Other Professionals

When AA was founded in the 1930’s, many healthcare professionals were all too familiar with alcoholism. As a result of their interest in a solution, nonalcoholic professionals contributed their knowledge, wisdom, and endless support to help bring AA to the world.

With a great deal of help from alcoholics and professionals alike, the book “Alcoholics Anonymous” came out in 1939. Healthcare professionals around the country took great interest, contacting AA,  as well as writing articles for professional publications, speaking on behalf of AA, handing out copies of what would become known as the “Big Book” to patients and peers alike.

A.A. Video for Healthcare Professionals: 6:12 min

A.A. Video for Employment/Human Resources Professionals: 5:50 min

CER Wants to Work with You

English-speaking AA of Continental European Region (CER) Health Liaison Officer, our Public Information Liaison Officer, Young Peoples Liaison Officer and their committees are available to present the AA recovery program to any organization or group.

We are always seeking to strengthen and expand our communication with professionals about Alcoholics Anonymous. This helps us to work together more effectively in achieving our common purpose; to help the alcoholic who still suffers. 

AA officers and local members are available to speak in person or via online video platforms, at schools, universities, local businesses, health fairs, churches, civic groups, community centers, medical centers, treatment facilities and anywhere the AA message can be useful. 

To schedule a discovery call, write to CER’s:

Public Information Liaison Officer – pilo.cer@aamail.org

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