What can I expect at A.A.?

If a judge, school or employer has suggested you attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, they may believe there is evidence that you have a drinking problem. If you have an attendance card to be signed, most A.A. meeting secretaries will be happy to do so. Take a look at a current meeting directory. You’ll see the days, times, and places A.A. meetings are held. Meetings marked with an (O) are open meetings — meaning anyone can attend — while those marked with a (C) are closed meetings — only for people who have a desire to stop drinking.

Do I have to give my name?

When you go to an A.A. meeting you don’t have to give your name. Some groups will invite newcomers to introduce themselves by their first name only. At some meetings a sign-in sheet may be circulated for the chairperson to use during the meeting — no one has to sign it. All participation in A.A. meetings is voluntary.

Will I have to speak?

It’s not necessary to explain why you’re there. If you’re called on and prefer to remain silent, just say, “I’ll pass.” Anyone is free to simply sit and listen at meetings.

What about anonymity?

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all of A.A.’s Traditions. Please respect this custom and treat in confidence who you see and what you hear. Likewise, you can count on others to respect your anonymity.

Is A.A. religious?

Most A.A. members have a program based upon a personal belief in a Higher Power; Alcoholics Anonymous has no religious affiliation. What you believe is up to you. Many meetings begin and end with the Serenity Prayer. Participation is optional.

What does it cost?

There are no dues or fees to attend A.A. Most members freely place money in the basket that goes around in order to pay for the group’s expenses, such as rent, coffee and literature, but there is no obligation.

Can I go to an A.A. meeting drunk?

Yes, people who have been drinking sometimes attend A.A. meetings. They are welcome to attend, but they may be asked not to speak while intoxicated, but to listen instead.

Am I an alcoholic?

We do not like to pronounce any individual as alcoholic. It’s a decision that each drinker has to make for themselves. But if, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic. And A.A. can help!

What is a home group?

Traditionally, most A.A. members through the years have found it important to belong to one group that they call their “home group.” This is the group where they accept service responsibilities and try to sustain friendships. And although all A.A. members are usually welcome at all groups and feel at home at any of these meetings, the concept of the home group has remained the strongest bond between the A.A. member and the Fellowship.

What is a sponsor?

A sponsor is essentially an alcoholic who has made some progress in the A.A. recovery program and shares that experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through A.A. We urge you to not delay in asking someone to be your sponsor. Alcoholics recovered in A.A. want to share what they have learned with other alcoholics. We know from experience that our own sobriety is greatly strengthened when we share the solution.

What is the Big Book?

Published in 1939 under the title “Alcoholics Anonymous,” the Big Book is the basic textbook outlining the program of action for recovery from alcoholism through Alcoholics Anonymous. In addition to describing the disease of alcoholism and the spiritual steps toward recovery, the Big Book contains dozens of personal stories from people who have recovered from alcoholism using the A.A. program.

More information about A.A.

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