The Most Important Homework Assignment


Attending an AA meeting might save someone’s life

Last week my son, a high school senior, completed what might be the most important homework assignment of his life. Not his senior essay. Not his bridge made of newspaper made to withstand the weight of a brick. Not his AP Physics lab report on centripetal force.

He attended a one-hour Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting required for graduation.




Founded in 1935 by Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith, AA is an international mutual aid fellowship whose primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.  The 12-step program of spiritual and character development developed by AA’s founders is credited with helping many alcoholics achieve and maintain sobriety. In 2013, AA had 2,131,534 members worldwide.The AA model has been adapted by a wide range of substance abuse and dependency problems, including Narcotics Anonymous, Gamblers Anonymous, Overeaters Anonymous, Sexual Compulsives Anonymous, Clutterers Anonymous, and Workaholics Anonymous.

The original twelve steps as published by Alcoholics Anonymous2 are:

1. We admit we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives have become unmanageable.

2. We believe that a greater power than ourselves can restore us to sanity.

3. We made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. We made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. We admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. We humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

10. We continued to take personal inventory, and when we were wrong, promptly admitted it.

11. We sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with Godas we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

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