Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), worldwide organization dedicated to the treatment of alcoholics; founded 1935 by two alcoholics, one a New York broker, the other an Ohio physician. They developed a 12-step program that has made coping with alcoholism possible for countless people. It includes psychological principles that have long been used in the reorganization of personality. The organization functions through local groups that have no constitutions, officers, or dues. Anyone with a drinking problem may become a member. There are presently over 99,000 local groups in the United States; worldwide membership is approximately 2 million. Other groups patterned on AA include Narcotics Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, and Gamblers Anonymous.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.