The Traditions recommend that members remain anonymous in public media, altruistically help other alcoholics, and that AA groups avoid official affiliations with other organizations. They also advise against dogma and coercive hierarchies. Subsequent fellowships such as Narcotics Anonymous have adopted and adapted the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions to their respective primary purposes.[4][5]
...more and more, Bill discovered that new adherents could get sober by believing in each other and in the strength of this group. Men [no women were members yet] who had proven over and over again, by extremely painful experience, that they could not get sober on their own had somehow become more powerful when two or three of them worked on their common problem. This, then—whatever it was that occurred among them—was what they could accept as a power greater than themselves. They did not need the Oxford Group.
Alcoholism often reduces a person's life expectancy by around ten years.[22] The most common cause of death in alcoholics is from cardiovascular complications.[155] There is a high rate of suicide in chronic alcoholics, which increases the longer a person drinks. Approximately 3–15 percent of alcoholics commit suicide,[156] and research has found that over 50 percent of all suicides are associated with alcohol or drug dependence. This is believed to be due to alcohol causing physiological distortion of brain chemistry, as well as social isolation. Suicide is also very common in adolescent alcohol abusers, with 25 percent of suicides in adolescents being related to alcohol abuse.[157] Among those with alcohol dependence after one year, some met the criteria for low-risk drinking, even though only 25.5 percent of the group received any treatment, with the breakdown as follows: 25 percent were found to be still dependent, 27.3 percent were in partial remission (some symptoms persist), 11.8 percent asymptomatic drinkers (consumption increases chances of relapse) and 35.9 percent were fully recovered—made up of 17.7 percent low-risk drinkers plus 18.2 percent abstainers.[158] In contrast, however, the results of a long-term (60-year) follow-up of two groups of alcoholic men indicated that "return to controlled drinking rarely persisted for much more than a decade without relapse or evolution into abstinence."[159] There was also "return-to-controlled drinking, as reported in short-term studies, is often a mirage."
As dependence increases, individuals are more likely to experience health and social consequences. The consumption of alcohol in moderation has health benefits for some (e.g. it reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease in older people). On the other hand, excessive alcohol consumption, especially when it is caused by alcohol dependence, is associated with an increased risk of numerous health problems. These include:
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The Twelve Traditions encourage members to practice the spiritual principle of anonymity in the public media and members are also asked to respect each other's confidentiality.[39] This is a group norm,[39] however, and not legally mandated; there are no legal consequences to discourage those attending twelve-step groups from revealing information disclosed during meetings.[40] Statutes on group therapy do not encompass those associations that lack a professional therapist or clergyman to whom confidentiality and privilege might apply. Professionals and paraprofessionals who refer patients to these groups, to avoid both civil liability and licensure problems, have been advised that they should alert their patients that, at any time, their statements made in meetings may be disclosed.[40]

Alcohol use disorder (which includes a level that's sometimes called alcoholism) is a pattern of alcohol use that involves problems controlling your drinking, being preoccupied with alcohol, continuing to use alcohol even when it causes problems, having to drink more to get the same effect, or having withdrawal symptoms when you rapidly decrease or stop drinking.
We have never called alcoholism a disease because, technically speaking, it is not a disease entity. For example, there is no such thing as heart disease. Instead there are many separate heart ailments, or combinations of them. It is something like that with alcoholism. We did not wish to get in wrong with the medical profession by pronouncing alcoholism a disease entity. We always called it an illness, or a malady—a far safer term for us to use.[96]
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), founded in 1935, was the first twelve-step program ever created. The steps, which are very similar to ones already mentioned, were put in place at that time. In 1946, twelve traditions were created that governed how groups functioned and related to each other as membership was quickly growing. Traditions included the practice of anonymity by only using one’s first name and the tradition of “singleness of purpose.” The latter tradition meant that AA would have “but one primary purpose – to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.” As such, this precluded attendance by anyone who did not suffer from alcohol misuse and resulted in the formation of other 12 step programs. is a referral service that provides information about addiction treatment practitioners and facilities. is not a medical provider or treatment facility and does not provide medical advice. does not endorse any treatment facility or guarantee the quality of care provided, or the results to be achieved, by any treatment facility. The information provided by is not a substitute for professional treatment advice.