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Defining "Alcoholics Anonymous"
Following is the definition of A.A. appearing in the Fellowship’s basic literature and cited frequently at meetings of A.A. groups:
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues of fees for A.A. membership; they are self-supporting through their own contributions. A.A is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, of institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Their primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
Alcoholics Anonymous can also be defined as an informal society of more than 2,000,000 recovered alcoholics in the United States, Canada, and other countries. These men and women meet in local groups, which range in size from a handful in some localities to many hundreds in larger communities.
Because A.A. has never attempted to keep formal membership lists, it is extremely difficult to obtain completely accurate figures on total membership at any given time. Some local groups are not listed with the US/Canada General Service Office. Others do not provide membership data, thus are not recorded on the G.S.O. computer records. The membership ...