What is the process of attending an AA Meeting?
First, there are not fees or membership requirements to attend. Meetings that are listed as “Open’ indicates that anyone can attend the meeting. A “Closed Meeting” means only those who have a desire to stop drinking can attend. Al-anon meetings are for someone who has an alcoholic in their life.
Here you will find a basic overview of AA Meetings:
Choosing the Type of Meeting
Meetings can be specific with a focus on just for men or just for women. Many meetings also designate that they are for beginners. Here are the basic meeting format types: Discussion, Literature, Speaker
Discussion Meeting: an A.A. member serving as “leader” or “chair” opens the meeting, using that group’s format and selects a topic for discussion. Background for many topic meetings derives from A.A. literature, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book), Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, As Bill Sees It, Daily Reflections, and from the A.A. Grapevine.
Literature Meeting: The meeting “chair” will invite the group to read out-loud in turn from A.A. literature such as Living Sober, As Bill Sees It, Came to Believe, Daily Reflections, the A.A. Grapevine and other selections. After the reading, meeting attendees can share on what was read.
Speaker Meeting: One or more members selected beforehand “share,” their experience as the speaker. You will hear what they were like, what happened and what they are like now. After they share their experience, the meeting attendees can comment or “share” their thoughts.
Finding a Meeting
AA is everywhere! If you have a smartphone, you can use the free app called “MEETING GUIDE” to locate a meeting near you, using menus to search for the specific type you are looking for: Open/Closed/Gender Type/Discussion, Literature or Speaker format.
Click here to learn about the app.
Click here to search this website for a local meeting
Each AA meeting is independently run, which means each one is unique. If you don’t like the current meeting that you attended, try a different one! You might find that you enjoy another group more because of the people in it, the person leading it or the way the meeting is run. Sometimes, it does take a few weeks to settle in with a particular group, so be patient.
What to Expect if you are New
Click here for the AA Pamphlet for the Newcomer.
Below are some tips on what you may find happens at a meeting:
The meeting “Chair” typically asks if anyone is new or visiting the meeting for the first time. You can introduce yourself with just your first name.
The group may let you know they have a list of people willing to be a “Sponsor”.. Click here to read more about AA Sponsorship.
Meetings honor the AA 7th Tradition by passing a basket or talking about ways to contribute funds to their group and AA. You are not obligated to contribute; you may see others offer a few dollars into the basket if the meeting is in-person.
The Meeting after the Meeting….when the meeting ends, attendees typically hang around for conversation. It’s a time to connect, possibly get phone numbers of others or find a member willing to be your “Sponsor”
Why Get a Sponsor
AA can be a beneficial part of recovery. By going through the steps, you discover more about yourself and how to lead a life of purpose. A Sponsor is another AA Member who has been through The Steps, done the work, and can share with you their experience. Click here to read more about AA Sponsorship.
Readings and Literature at AA Meetings
Each meeting format will vary on the material they read.
Click below to view some of the most common readings you will hear:
More About Alcoholism (from pg 30 of the Big Book)
A Vision for You: (from pg 164 of the Big Book)
The Promises (pgs 83-84)