The relationship between young people and Alcoholics Anonymous has become an increasing trend in recent years. Alcoholism is not a disease that only afflicts middle-aged or older people. Significant numbers of people well below the age of 30 are addicted to alcohol or abuse alcohol.
Alcohol is easily accessible. While people below the age of 21 cannot buy alcohol, it isn’t hard to convince others to buy it or give it to them. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that 11 percent of all alcohol consumption in the United States is by people in the 12-20 age range, and binge drinking accounts for almost all of this consumption.1
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that 35 percent of young people will have consumed alcohol before the age of 15. That number rises to 65 percent before kids reach 18.2 Given the extent of teenage drinking, it is unsurprising that many of these young people will develop alcoholism early in their lives.
Alcoholism does not only come from long-term drinking, and those who are addicted to alcohol are not always heavy drinkers. Addiction experts point out that it is not the quantity that people drink that leads to an addiction. Rather, it is the inability to stop drinking even when drinking is adversely affecting them.
Young People and Alcoholics Anonymous
Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in the 1930s to help people who were addicted to alcohol. AA welcomes anyone, regardless of age, and the group is not limited to adults.
AA publishes a list of 12 questions that everyone, including young people, can ask themselves to determine if they are problem drinkers.3 The questions are about drinking habits and the ability to control drinking. AA recommends that any people who answer any of the questions with a “yes” examine how alcohol is affecting them.
The 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous
The principles of the organization’s approach to sobriety are outlined in 12 steps. People who join Alcoholics Anonymous are expected to work their way through these 12 steps.
New members must accept that they are powerless over alcohol, and they must entrust themselves to a higher being. They are encouraged to undergo a moral inventory and to admit their failings to a higher being, to themselves and to another person. They undertake to make amends to people who have been affected by their actions.
New members will be assigned a sponsor. The sponsor is essentially a mentor who is there to help newcomers through the 12 Steps and to offer support and encouragement during any time when the member feels the threat of relapse.
AA members are encouraged to attend regular meetings, but people can attend whenever they want to. At meetings, people share their experiences in sobriety or listen to those of others.
AA meetings take place throughout the nation. If you think AA can help you, check out local organizations to find out about your nearest meeting point.