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Can an AA group focus on other problems too?

At our meeting which is held at a mental health clinic, the group has decided to allow people to speak about alcohol, drugs and mental health. We as a group do everything a group in AA does. Lately we have been told we are not "AA." Are we doing something wrong?
Yes, the group is doing something wrong IF it considers itself an AA group.

AA groups are for helping alcoholics -- those who are powerless over alcohol, whose lives have become unmanageable. AA is not interested in convincing anyone they ought to stop drinking, nor is it interested in specifically dealing with other problems. As soon as your group meeting purposely focused on problems other than alcohol and alcoholism, it stopped being an AA meeting.

AA is guided by The 12 Traditions and those Traditions limit AA's focus to alcoholism. According to AA's Fifth Tradition each AA group ought to be a spiritual entity having but one primary purpose-that of carrying its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Only groups that stick to this singleness of purpose should call themselves an AA group. When a wide range of diseases and problems are discussed in an AA meeting, the focus is lost; newcomers to AA could sit through several meetings without ever learning about AA's perception of the problem and the solution.

For many the solution to their issues may be found in Marijuana Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, Cocaine Anonymous, Nicotine Anonymous, Crystal Meth Anonymous, Schizophrenics Anonymous, Sex Addicts Anonymous and a host of other 12 step fellowships and groups that address many other specific problems. Many alcoholics would like to keep their own focused fellowship which is Alcoholics Anonymous.

Much of the benefit stems from meetings where everyone at the meeting focuses on the problem they share in common. We all have problems. At AA meetings the common problem is alcoholism. At CA meetings, the common problem is an addiction to cocaine. Those without gambling problems have no business in a Gamblers Anonymous meeting unless they go out of curiosity, say nothing and listen to learn. If we don't respect the purpose of the respective fellowships then they will all loose their identity and folks won't be able to find others who really understand their particular problem.

Alcoholics Anonymous developed to help alcoholics; it was never intended to be the all-round solution for all of everyone's problems. (See AA's singleness of purpose.)

There is nothing wrong with having a meeting as the participants want to have it, but out of respect for AA, it would be considerate to drop the use of the AA name unless you are willing to abide by all of AA's Traditions.

There is more on this subject in a different answer which deals with the discussion of drugs within AA at this link.

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