Often when students contact about attending one of our alcohol awareness classes, they want to know the difference between them and Alcoholics Anonymous. The big difference is that Alcoholics Anonymous (or A.A.) is primarily concerned with recovery for alcoholics while alcohol classes are concerned with teaching people about drinking. So really the difference is huge.
A.A. goes about their recovery efforts in a very specific way:
Alcoholics Anonymous® is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism
Basically they focus on supporting one another as the primary method to help get past and recover from alcoholism. And this recovery happens mostly in a group setting.
Alcohol awareness classes are quite different. The focus on these classes is alcohol awareness education. In other words it's about learning about the effects of drinking and drugs and the potential consequences of excessive drinking. Sometimes people who take these classes have just had to deal with these consequences. Maybe they've been required to take the class because of a DUI or maybe they have to take it because they were caught drunk in public. But the point of these class is not recovery from alcoholism but education about it.
The difference is subtle and for some people an alcohol class is a good step on the road to recovery. Just learning about the problem can really help somebody to realize that they actually might have a problem. Then if they need to get involved in recovery, they can look at the different options that are available to them.
A.A. is one such option and it definitely works for some people extremely well. But others may find it not their cup of tea. Perhaps they need support from their church or maybe the need an in-patient treatment program or an out-patient treatment program. It's really up to them to find the best sort of program which is going to meet their needs.
A.A does offer alcohol classes in some areas as well. But usually these classes are best taken by a person who is actually in an A.A. program and attends their groups. This is because their educational materials are focused on their form of treatement. This is in no way bad or good, it's just the A.A. way. And as I've said it works for some people well and others not so well.
Our alcohol awareness classes are educationational in nature and are not biased towards one form of recovery or another. I dare say our classes can help in many situations and it's unlikely that they will hurt.