the AA Meeting.



Anonymity: a core value.
Premise: Share your "experience, strength and hope."
Common denominator: a desire to stay sober.

Types of meetings: Open, Closed, Speaker, Big Book, Step Meeting.
90/90: consistency and commitment enhance success.
Home Group:time to settle down.
Chairperson:no one special.
Service work:give and you shall receive.
Readings: How It Works, 12 Traditions, Promises.
Chip System:the program works.
Prayers: Serenity, Lord's.
Post Meeting: meeting after the meeting.



Anonymity is a core value of AA. A specific member can tell anyone else they are a member of AA, but they shouldn't tell anyone else they know is in AA. If one does so, it's called "breaking someone's anonymity."

This is the same reason when a member introduces themselves as, for example, "Hi, I'm Mary, I'm an alcoholic." People are not encouraged to use their last names. One for anonymity, but also to strength the bonds of being common group members meeting for a common cause.

It is fine if someone doesn't care who knows they are in AA, but they don't have the right to make that decision for others.

Remember, being an "alcoholic" can carry a heavy stigma with it. One can be unfairly judged by this label. The good news is the AA member in good standing is doing something about their alcoholism, but this doesn't mean outside people understand this.


Share your "experience, strength and hope."

AA is not treatment. Members are merely asked to come to a meeting and share what it's like for them in recovery. For instance, if a person is having a specific job problem, other members aren't there to give specific advice that person's situation, but rather share their experiences with job issues as a recovering person. The bottom line is if the person works the AA program, their situation will get better.


Finding the common denominator, addiction.

If you go to an AA meeting, you may be struck by all the different types of people are in attendance. You may ask yourself how does such a diverse group of people able to meet for an hour and get along so well. It's the common denominator of having a common cause and following a program outside of themselves to guide them.

AA members also will lose their feelings of being terminally unique. By sharing with others, listening to others, they realize everyone has a story, everyone has had problems, they are no better or worse, but there is a solution for everyone.


Types of Meetings

Open: anyone can attend.

Closed: need to identify oneself as an alcoholic or have a drinking problem" during group introductions.

Speaker: "What is was it like. How I got sober. What's it like today."

Big Book: members take turns reading parts of a chapter of the Big Book, then discuss chapter in terms of their experience.

Step Meeting: members take turns reading the 12X12 Book (Twelve Steps & Twelve Traditions), then discuss in terms of their experience.


Home Group

At first, someone may be encouraged to try various meetings for the experience, but there comes a time when the new member needs to settle down and make a commitment. In this case, it's choosing a "home group".

If one just floats around from one AA meeting to another, it's easy to hide and not get the attention one needs to be receiving. A home group keeps a list of names and phone numbers of its members. If a member missing a few consecutive meetings, home group members will notice and follow up to see if everything is alright. Accountability. Responsibility. All positive traits for someone wanting to remain sober.

Think about it. If someone just shows up, attends a meeting, they are already helping someone else just by being there. This is how AA works.



The person who is leading a meeting isn't the leader of AA, or more important than any other group member. They are just a group member providing service. They are in charge of facilitating that particular meeting, that's all. Another level of service.

Some meetings have the same chairperson for a month, some ask before a meeting who would like to lead the meeting. There is a folder which contains a list of what happens, when, during the meeting, plus copies of the readings for the meeting.

Does someone have to chair if asked? No. Remember, it's all on a volunteer basis. At the same an indication of how sober a person is becoming is how much they are willing to participate in AA activities. "When the hand reaches out."


Service work

There is no better way to get to know group members, feel part of a group than doing things for the group. Prepare the coffee before the meeting, come early to meetings to greet people. Hold a position in a group like treasurer, literature provider, etc.

One's problems always become less when doing for others.



How it Works

Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.

Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it- then you are ready to take certain steps.

At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Remember that we deal with alcohol- cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power- that one is God. May you find Him Now!

Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon.

Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a fearless and thorough moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being, the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings 8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people, wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as 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 or affairs.

Many of us exclaimed, "What an order I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.

Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and out personal adventures before and after make clear three personal ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought


The AA Promises

If we are painstaking about this phase of our development, we will be amazed before we are half way through.

1. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
2. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
3. We will comprehend the word serenity.
4. We will know peace.
5. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
6. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
7. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows.
8. Self-seeking will slip away.
9. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change.
10. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
11. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
12. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.

Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will always materialize if we work for them.



White: a desire to stop drinking.
Red: 3 Months.
Yellow: 6 Months.
Green: 9 Months.
Blue: A year or multiple years.

AA acknowledges that recovery is a process of events. One doesn't just stop drinking and they are "cured". The also acknowledge that the first year of sobriety can be the most difficult to achieve, so chips representing incremental times of sobriety are awarded at meetings. It is important to note that a member not only does a member pick up a chip for themselves, but also to let others know in the program, especially new comers, that the program is working for them.

Jellinek Chart



Knowing that the first three months of not taking a drink is especially difficult, it is also suggested that a new member attend 90 meetings in their first 90 days. It will all become a lot clear, quicker. Much quicker.



Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.


Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For Thine is the kingdom,
and the power, and the glory,
for ever and ever.


Post Meeting: meeting after the meeting

Many group members will go someplace after a meeting for coffee, a bite to eat, a time to socialize and have fun. If one doesn't have any fun while getting sober, make new friends, it lessens their chances to remain sober!

This is also a good time for a one on one time between members who were both at the meeting. For instance, meet ones sponsor at a meeting, then go out afterwards to talk more specifically.