Frequently Asked Questions
about A.A. Meetings
Frequently Asked Questions
about A.A. Meetings
Going to an A.A. meeting is simple. You can find where and when there is a meeting convenient for you and you just turn up. That’s it. There’s no signing in, no money to pay, no appointment to make. There are no intrusive questions, no obligations. Your privacy and anonymity will be respected.
You’ll never be met with a demand to come back to any meeting or indeed to A.A. You can go to different meetings as often or as little as you wish.
Many of us had no idea what to expect of our first meeting. For some of us the idea was quite scary, so we were greatly relieved to find that our fears were groundless. A.A. meetings are relaxed, friendly and open.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions (faq) about A.A. meetings.
Here are some issues a lot of us worried about before coming to our first A.A. meeting.
No, it’s not like going to a doctor or a health clinic. A.A. meetings are very informal. Just take a seat and listen to the stories members will tell about their drinking and their recovery. You can talk to people if you want to, or just keep to yourself until you feel more comfortable.
There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership. An A.A. group will usually have a collection during the meeting to cover expenses, such as rent, coffee, etc., and to this all members are free to contribute as much or as little as they wish.
No. A.A. does not keep membership files, or attendance records. You do not have to reveal anything about yourself. No one will bother you if you don’t want to come back.
You also do not have to sign-up at the meeting. If, at some stage you want to join a particular group, you just say so. If you don’t want to join any group, that’s okay too. No one should tell you what to do about your drinking. If you want to keep drinking that’s your business. We just suggest that, if you want to stop drinking, you try doing what we did.
They will be there for the same reason you are there. They will not disclose your identity to outsiders. At A.A. you retain as much anonymity as you wish. That is one of the reasons we call ourselves Alcoholics Anonymous.
The meeting will consist of members telling their stories, but if anyone isn’t in the mood to talk, it’s fine to decline. You may be invited to speak but it’s quite okay if you don’t want to.
No. Quite a few A.A. meetings are held in church halls, but that’s only because they’re convenient and affordable venues. A.A. groups are in no way affiliated with the churches or other organizations whose meeting rooms we rent. The A.A. program is certainly a spiritual one, but what that means is left up to the individual to decide.
The majority of A.A. members believe that we have found the solution to our drinking problem not through individual willpower, but through a power greater than ourselves. However, everyone defines this power as he or she wishes. Many people call it God, others think it is the A.A. group, still others don’t believe in it at all. There is room in A.A. for people of all shades of belief and nonbelief
The purpose of all A.A. group meetings, as the Preamble states, is for A.A. members to “share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.” Toward this end, A.A. groups have both open and closed meetings.
Closed meetings are for A.A. members only, or for those who have a drinking problem and “have a desire to stop drinking.”
Open meetings are available to anyone interested in Alcoholics Anonymous’ program of recovery from alcoholism. Nonalcoholics may attend open meetings as observers.
At both types of meetings, the A.A. chairperson may request that participants confine their discussion to matters pertaining to recovery from alcoholism.
Whether open or closed, A.A. group meetings are conducted by A.A. members who determine the format of their meetings.
Reprinted from The A.A. Group . . . Where It All Begins, p. 13, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.
If you would like to attend an A.A. meeting and are uncertain which type is best for you, please contact us at 302-856-6452.
The format of meeting types vary from area to area. In fact, members are free to start groups with formats and focus that they find most useful in their recovery — thus the many meeting formats. Here are a few.
- Discussion Meetings — include one member (the “chairperson” of that meeting) selecting a topic. Following this the chairperson may suggest a topic for sharing by other attendees.
- Big Book Meetings — use the book Alcoholics Anonymous (published by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services) known to members as the “Big Book”, as a point of discussion. Often members will take turns reading from the book. A passage may inspire a thought related to our recovery.
- Speaker Meetings — A.A. members “tell their stories.” They describe their experiences with alcohol, how they came to A.A., and how their lives have changed as a result of Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Step Meetings — involve discussion of one of the Twelve Steps of AA. Often one step is discussed in each meeting, in numerical order.
Please call us anytime — 302-856-6542 or find us at an A.A. Meeting. It’s confidential and free. You may also find the following pamphlets from A.A. World Services useful.