Alcoholics Anonymous is a congregation of people who meet to share their experiences in the effort to conquer their common problem of alcoholism. In real life, the beginnings of AA came from the Oxford Group in the 1930’s. Bill W. was one of the first success stories.
Alcoholics Anonymous is implemented into Second Life in simple groups anyone can join that meet in certain rooms at different times throughout the week. The two most popular groups are Friends of Bill W. and Serenity Forest Group. Friends of Bill W. was founded by the Second Life avatar Mulch Ennui and meets in Avaria (SLURL). The meeting area is fairly large and is similar to a home library. A table is surrounded by a circle of chairs in the main room. Upon further inspection users may find free information pamphlets on the table. An Alcoholics Anonymous HUD is offered amongst the free pamphlets. Once opened, the HUD prompts the beginning of a 30 minute AA meeting with anyone in the nearby area. It has step by step instructions on how to proceed with the meeting. Included in the instructions are the 12 steps and 12 traditions for AA meetings. These steps and traditions were created to guide the user in their attempts to be free of Alcohol abuse. The steps and traditions are also posted in the meeting room for all to view.
Serenity Forest Group was founded by the Second Life avatar Sly Wiles and meets in Kangaroo (SLURL). The meeting area is located in a brightly lit treetop room with many windows. However, the room is smaller than the one designated for Friends of Bill W. Similarly, the room contains a circle of chairs with a small table in the center. Lying on the table is a large book which contains a link to the AA website. Posters which dictate the 12 steps and 12 traditions can also be found around the room. Another poster which contains all the AA groups offered in SL is also displayed. Lastly, there is a sign which, if clicked, allows the user to sign up for a subscription to AA meetings in SL. With this membership the user will receive reminders about AA meetings in SL.
The development of virtual worlds has allowed groups like AA to move their meetings online for various beneficial reasons. For one thing, the additional convenience might attract people who might not otherwise attend real life meetings anywhere near homes. Furthermore, the added level of anonymity in SL could be seen as a positive for those who wish to be as secretive as possible, but would still like to begin to make steps toward recovery. Finally, a larger social base online would make it possible for people to meet a variety of others in a private setting at any time.