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To Be Sober — And to Stay That Way

For those whose lives have become unmanageable as a result of their alcohol use, there is hope.

“If you find that you’re unable to stop — and stay stopped — it may be time to seek help,” said Kelly R., Chair of the Public Information/Cooperation with the Professional Community (PI/CPC) committee at Santa Clara County’s Alcoholics Anonymous.

“As chair, I help run our group’s monthly meetings, and I get involved in outreach activities to share the message of Alcoholics Anonymous,” explained Kelly.

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“As part of our primary purpose to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety, we help the public understand what A.A. is and isn’t — and where to find help for a drinking problem,” said Kelly

The organization takes an active role in the county.

“There are, give or take, about 400 active A.A. meetings (21 are in Sunnyvale), and our fellowship organizes a variety of events,” said Kelly.

“We’re fortunate to have many meetings throughout the county, so it’s really easy to find one almost any time. Plus, there are lots of ways to get involved through service.

“In addition, our Central Office provides extensive resources, from a free 24-hour helpline (408) 374-8511, to books and meeting guides.” (More information is available at aasanjose.org.)

“Both the ‘Meeting Guide’ and the ‘Everything A.A.’ apps are great resources, too,” Kelly continued.

The organization welcomes anyone and everyone from the greater community, with membership spanning all ethnicities, careers and backgrounds.

“A.A. did conduct a membership survey on a national level which, unsurprisingly, revealed that we represent every profession and demographic out there,” Kelly said. “You can see the results of that survey at aa.org/membership-survey-2022.

“Among those stats, we learned that 53% of members were referred to A.A. by a counselor, medical or mental health professional,” said Kelly. “So, if anyone out there reading this works in healthcare, education, and beyond, know that your referrals make a huge difference — and we’re happy to get you acquainted with A.A.!”

According to one study (unaffiliated with A.A.), 42% of participants in Alcoholics Anonymous remain fully sober over the course of a year, compared to 35% of those receiving other treatments.

When asked about the program’s efficacy, Kelly explained that A.A. is simply a program of action that promotes abstinence, one day at a time.

“​​We stick to what we know best — personal recovery and twelfth-step work,” said Kelly. “Peer-to-peer support helps guide new people on how to stay sober. Rather than a teaching experience, it’s a sharing experience: Much of the program is just one alcoholic talking to another.

“We’re not authorities on the field of alcoholism, nor do we have an official definition of alcoholism,” Kelly continued. “While we’ve experienced the illness, we have no profound knowledge of its cause or ‘cure.’

“We’re one solution — we don’t claim to be the only solution, nor are we a substitute for outside help,” said Kelly.

What are the steps for people in Santa Clara and Sunnyvale to find and participate in Alcoholics Anonymous?

“Come to a meeting, and we’ll be more than happy to get you acquainted!” Kelly said.

“All are welcome,” said Kelly. “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking — and there are no dues or fees for A.A. membership. We can’t wait to meet you!”

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