With the founding of Alcoholic’s Anonymous over eighty years ago demonstrating the power and effectiveness of the twelve steps with treating alcoholism, countless other fellowships have since emerged borrowing the same traditional format.
These fellowships extend to several forms of substance addictions, family members of those with substance addictions, eating disorders, and even financial addictions such as debt and gambling. This provides the opportunity for those in recovery with cross-addictions to attend different fellowships as they see fit. Here is an overview of the most popular fellowships (but in no way a comprehensive list!)
Alcoholic’s Anonymous (AA)
AA was founded with the meeting of Bill W. and Dr. Bob on June 10, 1935, and today remains the largest twelve-step group with over 115,000+ groups estimated to exist worldwide. AA provided the basic framework of the twelve steps and traditions that make up most fellowship groups. While the primary purpose of AA is alcohol, countless members with other substance addictions still chose to attend AA due to the size and history of the fellowship.
Narcotics Anonymous (NA)
In 1953, AA authorized Jimmy K. to use the twelve steps and traditions to find a fellowship dealing more generally with drug addictions. In that time, Narcotics Anonymous has developed its own independent literature and grown to be the second largest fellowship existing today.
Al-Anon was founded by Lois W. (wife of Bill W.) in 1951 with the primary purpose of helping the family members and friends of alcoholics, using the same twelve-step format as AA. Al-Anon meetings often occur at the same location and time as AA meetings, allowing couples or family members to their respective groups together. Several splinter groups have formed from Al-Anon, such as Alateen for teenage friends/family affected, and the Narcotics Anonymous version Nar-Anon.
Cocaine Anonymous (CA)
Cocaine Anonymous was founded in 1982 amidst the cocaine epidemic of the time. CA has since expanded to include crack, speed, and other related substances and continues to have a strong following to this day.
Marijuana Anonymous (MA)
Marijuana Anonymous was founded in 1989 to address compulsive marijuana use. It has since expanded to most major cities, and includes its own literature independent from the other fellowships.
Pills Anonymous (PA)
The exact founding of Pills Anonymous traces back to sometime in the 1970’s, and addresses prescription pill abuse. The fellowship began to grow exponentially in the last fifteen years with the ongoing opioid epidemic, to include publishing its own basic text in 2013.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.