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Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.

You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
(847) 498-5611.

Learn how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. series of Recovery books.

What is the Support Group, Alcoholics Anonymous?

ear Dr. Steve:

I need some advice. I am twenty-seven years old and live with my sister and her husband. They think that I’m an alcoholic. They say that whenever I drink that I act strange. They say that I stumble around the house, slur my words, and oftentimes embarrass them in front of their family and friends. They’ve given me an ultimatum—either sober up or get out. I’ve tried to quit in the past but I’ve never had much success. I can’t afford to move out of their house because I’ve never been able to hold a job for very long. I don’t know whether or not I’m an alcoholic but I know I have to do something about my drinking or I’m going to be out on the streets. I am convinced that I can’t quit drinking by myself so maybe there’s my answer there. Where can I go to get some help?

Asking for help is the first step towards abstinence and sanity for you. Although the path ahead of you is long and arduous, you don’t have to travel this journey alone. There are self-help support groups in your community that can provide you with what you need most—support, love, wisdom, and tools to help you achieve and maintain long-term abstinence from alcohol and other drugs.

The name of these support groups is Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.). A.A. is a fellowship of men and women who meet to solve their common problems and help others to recover from alcoholism. The sole focus of A.A. is personal recovery and continued sobriety of alcoholics. A.A.’s aim is to play a role in assisting alcoholics to become abstinent and remain abstinent. The only requirement for membership in A.A. is a desire to stop drinking.

In its simplest form, the program works by a recovering alcoholic sharing their  story of alcohol and other drug abuse, describing their personal journey with getting sober and remaining sober, and inviting a newcomer to join the A.A.

At A.A. meetings people talk about their experiences with alcohol and other drugs, learn from the experiences of other people who have struggled with maintaining and sustaining long-term sobriety, develop coping mechanisms to deal with the potential triggers for relapse, and heal from the love and support of others who struggle with many of the same problems.
The foundation of A.A.’s program of recovery is the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions. Integrating the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions into every area of one’s life is essential for maintaining and sustaining abstinence from all mood-altering substances.

The heart and soul of A.A. are the Twelve Steps:

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

You can contact Alcoholics Anonymous at:

In the U.S./Canada: Look for "Alcoholics Anonymous" in any telephone directory. In most urban areas, a Central A.A. office, or "Intergroup," staffed mainly by volunteer A.A. s, will be happy to answer your questions and/or put you in touch with those who can. Or, you can write to: A.A. World Services, Inc., P.O. Box 459, New York, NY 10163 - (212) 870-3400.

Outside of U.S./Canada, write or call the General Service Office located closest to you.

Learn how to prevent and recover from chemical dependency as well as the aftereffects of chemical dependency on you and your family. Read Dr. Frisch’s, Psy.D. series of Recovery books—From Insanity to Serenity.

Pathfinder’s Checklist

1.) Contact a qualified healthcare provider.
2.) Contact your local chapter of Alcoholics Anonymous.
3.) Read as much as you can about the disease of alcoholism.
4.) Read as much as you can about what Recovery is.
5.) Meet as many people as you can at Alcoholics Anonymous meeting.
6.) Integrate the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous into your life.



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