Alcoholics Anonymous: a Look at Courage

By | December 30, 2021

[December 30, 2021]  The destruction that alcohol can wrought upon the human body and mind is telling from the lives destroyed.  Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship where people come together to solve their drinking problems.1  That’s it … simple mission and a reasonable success rate with a program that works.

A good childhood friend often gives me advice on my leadership blog.  He said it was best not to write about Alcoholics Anonymous because it scares people.  It scares them, he said, because there is a “religious bent” to their program.  For today, I’m ignoring his advice and stepping right into it.

Here’s what I like about AA.  There are no requirements to participate.  Anyone can join who wants to do something about their alcohol problem.  Those involved in AA have the single purpose to help alcoholics achieve sobriety; no hidden agendas, no fees, no games … just people helping people.

Don’t let me mislead the reader.  The AA program is not easy.  In fact, it’s hard, very hard to get off alcohol and stay off.  Many drift back to drinking and do so for many reasons.  The program doesn’t work for everyone.  The claimed success rate is about 75%.

There are 12 steps or set of principles (link here), that when practiced as a way of life, can help the sufferer recover from alcoholism.  The book Alcoholics Anonymous (link here) describes the recovery program through stories written by the co-founders and members who found recovery in AA.  I recommend the book, which is free (or you can purchase a copy).

I would be remiss if I did not note a long-brewing controversy over AA’s faith-based program and debate over AA’s success rate.  Some claim that some of the tenants of the 12-step program have been rejected by science.  True enough, the program does not work for everyone.  An article (link here) at The Atlantic does a good job of describing the controversy.

AA has been helping alcoholics recover for more than 80 years.  As their website says, AA’s recovery program is built on the simple foundation of one alcoholic sharing with another.  If your drinking is out of control, AA can help.




Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” at Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

19 thoughts on “Alcoholics Anonymous: a Look at Courage

  1. Eric Coda

    Found this about the organization. Makes sense. “The Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous make clear the principle that A.A., as such, should never be organized, that there are no bosses and no government in A.A. Yet at the same time, the Traditions recognize the need for some kind of organization to carry the message in ways that are impossible for the local groups – such as publication of uniform literature and public information resources, helping new groups get started, publishing an international magazine, and carrying the message in other languages into other countries.”

    1. Rusty D

      ….. and just to add, I am an alcoholic and I’m free of it now for 2 years, 4 months, and 25 days. Every day counts.

      1. Mr. Savage

        You’ve been a regular here on Gen. Satterfield’s leadership site now for several months. We are happy to have you here as a contributor to the narrative and to help make us think. This is what makes things work for us, helping build better arguments and thinking on important subjects. Hang in there, Rusty D, you da man! 👍👍👍👍

      1. Rusty D

        Thank you guys, soooo much, you don’t know how much better I like this leadership forum now.

  2. Greg Heyman

    AA is a great organization. It is also a very flat organization becuase, ultimately, it is all about the participants sitting there telling their stories and helping others. Nothing else to it. Just a few people helping other people.

      1. Frankie Boy

        Anya, appreciate the link. “With respect to its own affairs, each A.A. group should be responsible to no other authority than its own conscience.” That helps explain what Gen. Satterfield was writing about.

      2. Valkerie

        Thanks Anya!! Dang it, I wanted to get a copy of AA’s original books off eBay but too expensive. What’s up with that?

  3. Harry Donner

    My sister has not had an alcoholic drink in 6 years but she knows that she is an alcoholic for life. That is the result of not being able to control it. She finally got her life together but understands how you can be attracted to something destructive but still have the internal strength to fight it. She joined AA.

    1. Rev. Michael Cain

      Good thing that she found Alcoholics Anonymous. This article by Gen. Satterfield surely has its value in alerting us to the value of AA but also to the fact that some people don’t think it works. Ultimately, it is the person that makes AA work or not, it is not those in AA.

    2. Goalie for Cal State

      Wishing for all the best for your sister, Harry. Thanks for letting us know the story. 😊


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