Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) was founded in Akron, Ohio, in 1935 by two alcoholics, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. The organization began as a support group for those struggling with alcohol addiction, based on the principles of spirituality, mutual support, and personal accountability.
Bill Wilson, who had struggled with alcohol addiction for years, had a spiritual experience in 1934 that led him to sobriety. He began working with other alcoholics, sharing his story and offering support. Dr. Bob Smith, a physician who was also struggling with alcohol addiction, met Bill Wilson in 1935, and the two formed a strong bond based on their shared experiences.
Together, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith established the principles of AA, including the 12-step program, which involves admitting powerlessness over alcohol, seeking a higher power, making amends for past wrongs, and helping others achieve sobriety.
The first AA meeting was held on June 10, 1935, in Akron, Ohio, with just two members: Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith. However, the organization quickly grew, and by 1939, there were more than 100 AA groups across the United States.
Today, Alcoholics Anonymous has over 2 million members worldwide, with meetings held in more than 180 countries. AA continues to be a powerful force for those struggling with alcohol addiction, providing a supportive community and a path to sobriety based on personal accountability, spirituality, and mutual support.