Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions and answers about A.A. and AA meetings:

  • Can I go to an A.A. meeting if I have been drinking or am drunk?
    Yes, people who have been drinking sometimes attend A.A. meetings and are welcome to attend, but may be asked not to speak while intoxicated but to listen instead.

  • If I go to an A.A. meeting, does that commit me to anything?
    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.

  • What happens if I meet people I know?
    They will be there for the same reason you are there. They will not disclose your identity to others, you retain as much privacy as you wish, thus the name: Alcoholics Anonymous.

  • What happens at an A.A. meeting?
    An A.A. meeting may take one of several forms, but at any meeting you will find alcoholics talking about what drinking did to their lives and personalities, what actions they took to help themselves, and how they are living their lives today.

  • Will I be asked a lot of questions?
    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.

  • How do I join A.A.?
    You are an A.A. member if and when you say so. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking, and many of us were not very wholehearted about that when we first approached A.A.

  • How much does A.A. membership cost?
    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.

  • Do I have to get up and speak in front of people?
    The meeting will consist of members telling their stories but if anyone does not wish to talk, that is fine too. You may be invited to speak but it is okay to pass and just listen.

  • What is the Big Book?
    First published in 1939 under the title "Alcoholics Anonymous," the Big Book is the basic textbook outlining the program of action for recovery from alcoholism. It describes the disease of alcoholism and the steps that lead to recovery via twelve Steps and program of action on which the A.A. recovery program is based. The Big Book contains personal stories of people who have recovered from alcoholism via A.A.

  • Is A.A. a religious organization?
    No. While its formation has Christian links, A.A. is not allied with any sect or religious organization.

  • There’s a lot of talk about God, though, isn’t there?
    The majority of A.A. members believe we have found a solution to our drinking problem not through individual willpower, but through a power greater than ourselves alone. However, everyone defines this power for themself. Many people call this power God, others think of it as the A.A. group, still others do not believe in it at all. There is room in A.A. for people of all shades of belief.

  • What are closed or open meetings?
    Most A.A. meetings are "open" — that is, anyone is welcome to attend. "Closed" meetings are for A.A. members or people who are new to A.A. who want to stop drinking.

  • Can I bring my family to an A.A. meeting?
    Family members or close friends are welcome at "Open" A.A. meetings. Discuss this with your local contact.

  • What if I have a Court Card I need signed?
    If a judge, school, or employer has prompted you to attend an AA meeting, they may believe you have a drinking problem. If you have an attendance card you need signed, most (but not all) A.A. meeting secretaries will assist you. To locate a meeting near you, use one of our meeting lists or use the Meeting Guide app.

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