Media Guide

Introduction

We in A.A. frequently receive requests from the media for information and advice. Journalists and researchers regularly complain that A.A. can be unhelpful because we are not always in a position to accede to media requests. By definition A.A. is a confidential organization and preserving the anonymity of members is central to the ethos of the Fellowship.

The aim of this section is to explain a little about A.A. and to assist media practitioners to understand the work of the Fellowship.

What is A.A.?

A.A. is a voluntary, worldwide Fellowship of men and women which draws its members from all walks of life.  The primary aim of Alcoholics Anonymous is to help members, through mutual support, to achieve and maintain sobriety, and to carry our message to the still suffering Alcoholic.

There are no dues or membership fees. Alcoholics Anonymous is a non-political, non-sectarian organization and does not engage in any controversy, or any campaigns.

How many members?

A.A. does not keep membership records or release information on members. It is estimated that there are over 850 groups and more than 12,000 members in Ireland.

How does it work?

A.A. is a programme of total abstinence from alcohol.  As members we stay away from one drink, one day at a time.  Sobriety is maintained through the sharing of experiences, strength, and hope in mutual support. The Twelve Step programme is the suggested format for recovery from alcoholism.

Why the secrecy?

Journalists often ask why is A.A. “anonymous”. What have we to hide? Anonymity is the foundation stone of Alcoholics Anonymous and is intended to discipline the Fellowship to govern itself by principles rather than personalities.  Our only aim is the attainment and maintenance of sobriety through our programme of recovery and in our experience the strict preservation of anonymity is central to that process.  Any threat to the guaranteed anonymity of Alcoholics Anonymous may deter the suffering alcoholic from taking part in the programme.  Since our priority is the recovery of alcoholics this principle is of overriding importance.

How do you contact A.A.?

A.A. in Ireland is co-ordinated by a Board and we have a General Service Office at Unit 2, Block C, Santry Business Park, Swords Road, Dublin 9 and a Central Service Office at 7 Donegall Street Place, Belfast.  We do not have a press office and do not actively seek publicity for our activities other than our open meetings, public information meetings and conventions.

Do we talk to the media?

Every effort will be made by a Board member to deal with media queries but please remember that,  we can’t break confidentiality.  However we are always willing to talk to the media and are grateful for the opportunity to carry the A.A. message provided it does not compromise the principles of the Fellowship. We are always happy to arrange interviews on the basis of anonymity but will not provide Alcoholics Anonymous speakers to specification.  Some journalists seek “designer alcoholics” to fit in with a proposed feature or programme.  We simply don’t co-operate with such requests.

It is not uncommon for journalists to seek a quote from A.A. on high profile celebrities or on policies relating to problems caused by or relating to alcoholism. However, we don’t comment on specific cases of alleged alcoholism and are not in a position to assist with such enquiries.

How is it funded?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a self-supporting Fellowship. A.A. neither seeks nor accepts contributions from non-members and does not receive financial support from any state agency.  The amount that any member may contribute is strictly limited.

Is A.A. linked to other organisations?

Alcoholics Anonymous is a totally independent Fellowship and is not linked to any other Fellowship.  It has a policy of co-operation but non-affiliation with any organization that shares the aim of dealing with Alcoholism.  A.A. is not affiliated to any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution nor does it engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.

What A.A. does not do

  1. Solicit membership or try to persuade anyone to join A.A. who does not want to
  2. Keep membership records or case histories
  3. Engage in or sponsor research
  4. Join counselling or social agencies, although A.A. members frequently co-operate with them
  5. Make medical or psychological diagnosis or prognosis
  6. Provide drying out or nursing services, hospitalisation, drugs or any medical or psychiatric treatment
  7. Offer spiritual or religious services
  8. Engage in education or propaganda about alcohol
  9. Provide housing, clothes, food, jobs, money or other welfare or social services
  10. Provide domestic counselling
  11. Accept money for its service or any money from Non A.A. Sources