- This information
- is intended for people approaching Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) for the first time. In it we have tried to answer the questions most frequently in the minds of newcomers—the questions which were in our minds when we first approached the Fellowship.
- Is A.A. for You?
Only you can decide whether you want to give A.A. a try — whether you think it can help you. We who are in A.A. came because we finally gave up trying to control our drinking. We still hated to admit that we could never drink safely. Then we heard from other A.A. members that we were sick. (We thought so for years!) We found out that many people suffered from the same feelings of guilt and loneliness and hopelessness that we did. We found out that we had these feelings because we had the disease of alcoholism.
We decided to try to face up to what alcohol had done to us. Here are some of the questions we tried to answer honestly. If we answered YES to four or more questions, we were in deep trouble with our drinking. See how you do. Print out this page and in the space to the right answer honestly. Remember, there is no disgrace in facing up to the fact that you have a problem.
1. Have you ever decided to stop drinking for a week or so, but only lasted for a couple of days?
Most of us in A.A. made all kinds of promises to ourselves and to our families. We could not keep them. Then we came to A.A. A.A. said: “Just try not to drink today.” (If you do not drink today, you cannot get drunk today.)
2. Do you wish people would mind their own business about your drinking — stop telling you what to do?
In A.A. we do not tell anyone to do anything. We just talk about our own drinking, the trouble we got into, and how we stopped. We will be glad to help you, if you want us to.
3. Have you ever switched from one kind of drink to another in the hope that this would keep you from getting drunk?
We tried all kinds of ways. We made our drinks weak. Or just drank beer. Or we did not drink cocktails. Or only drank on weekends. You name it, we tried it. But if we drank anything with alcohol in it, we usually got drunk eventually.
4. Have you had to have an eye-opener upon awakening during the past year?
Do you need a drink to get started, or to stop shaking? This is a pretty sure sign that you are not drinking “socially.”
5. Do you envy people who can drink without getting into trouble?
At one time or another, most of us have wondered why we were not like most people, who really can take it or leave it.
6. Have you had problems connected with drinking during the past year?
Be honest! Doctors say that if you have a problem with alcohol and keep on drinking, it will get worse — never better. Eventually, you will die, or end up in an institution for the rest of your life. The only hope is to stop drinking.
7. Has your drinking caused trouble at home?
Before we came into A. A., most of us said that it was the people or problems at home that made us drink. We could not see that our drinking just made everything worse. It never solved problems anywhere or anytime.
8. Do you ever try to get “extra” drinks at a party because you do not get enough?
Most of us used to have a “few” before we started out if we thought it was going to be that kind of party. And if drinks were not served fast enough, we would go some place else to get more.
9. Do you tell yourself you can stop drinking any time you want to, even though you keep getting drunk when you don’t mean to?
Many of us kidded ourselves into thinking that we drank because we wanted to. After we came into A. A., we found out that once we started to drink, we couldn’t stop.
10. Have you missed days of work or school because of drinking?
Many of us admit now that we “called in sick” lots of times when the truth was that we were hungover or on a drunk.
11. Do you have “blackouts”?
A “blackout” is when we have been drinking hours or days which we cannot remember. When we came to A.A., we found out that this is a pretty sure sign of alcoholic drinking.
12. Have you ever felt that your life would be better if you did not drink?
Many of us started to drink because drinking made life seem better, at least for a while. By the time we got into A.A., we felt trapped. We were drinking to live and living to drink. We were sick and tired of being sick and tired.