When and How the Idea of Forming Alcoholics Anonymous Came into Being?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a famous form of addiction therapy that is used worldwide, helping so many individuals kick the habit of drinking and embrace sobriety at a spiritual level. But where did the idea come from? Alcoholics Anonymous has a unique history that was founded by alcoholics who sobered up and decided to share the miracle of sobriety with others who desperately want to have a lasting alcohol addiction treatment. Alcoholics Anonymous was established roughly around 1935.

The Oxford Group was a religious popular movement in the US and Europe in the early 1900′s, which is where the origins of Alcoholics Anonymous can be found. The Oxford Group practiced certain beliefs that would help members improve themselves in life, such as doing “self-inventories,” admitting mistakes, making amends with others, and using meditation and prayer to better understand oneself. These beliefs would be shared with others and later become adopted by those who found Alcoholics Anonymous.

In the 1930s, when Rowland H., who lived in Rhode Island, asked Carl Jung (a well-known psychoanalyst) to help him with his abuse of alcohol, Jung referred him to the Oxford Group to find a “spiritual” solution. Rowland joined the group and became friends with a man nicknamed “Ebby” (Vermonter Edwin). These two men helped each other a few others end their problems with alcohol abuse by following the principles of the Oxford Group, which will later be used as principles in AA known as the 12 Steps.

One of the key members was Bill W., who had been dealing with success as much as with alcoholism in his late 30s. He was suffering from chronic alcoholism while being treated at hospitals in several occasions. When one of his friends finally convinced him to join their fellowship, he was hesitant about it–after all, the idea of a spiritual solution was still not popular or accepted. In 1934, Bill succumbed to this spiritual path and found that it was something that could change his life (and others) forever. It worked. He stopped drinking and he also decided to share these principles with those who were also struggling with the same problem.

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In the end, it was decided that the members of the fellowship did not need the Oxford Group because although they adopted their principles, it was noted by Bill Wilson that alcoholics were getting sober with the help of each other, and believing each other. Their strength was measured by the whole of the group, not the individual strengths. Each individual needed the next person for encouragement, or help and support, or even someone to test their sobriety with. Alcoholics Anonymous sprouted from these ideas, which later became a belief system of its own throughout the century.

We need to understand the importance of the individuality of each and every addict when we are considering addiction treatment options. What works great for one addict may not be the best fit for another person. This is why non-traditional methods of therapy are increasingly becoming popular and are being found as effective alternatives.