AA Meeting Information
Anyone may attend open AA meetings. But only those with a drinking problem and a desire to stop drinking may attend closed meetings or become AA members. People with problems other than alcoholism are eligible for AA membership only if they have a drinking problem.
Going to an AA meeting is simple! All you need to do is find a meeting that is convenient for you and you just show 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 AA. 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. AA meetings are relaxed, friendly and open!
Will I be asked a lot of questions?
No. It's not like going to a doctor or a health clinic. AA meetings are very informal. Just take a seat and listen to the stories members will tell about their drinking and their recovery, sharing their experience, strength, and hope. You can talk to people if you want to or just keep to yourself until you feel more comfortable.
Do I have to "sign up"?
No. There's nothing to sign. 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...but if you want to stop that's ours! We just suggest that, if you want to stop drinking, you try doing what we did.
How much will it cost?
Nothing. There is no charge for attending an AA meeting. Usually a collection is taken at the end of each meeting to cover the costs of renting the room and providing refreshments. Only AA members can contribute. There's no obligation but most people put in a dollar or two.
Do I have to get up and speak in front of people?
No. The meeting will consist of members sharing their experience, strength and, hope. If anyone isn't in the mood to talk, it's fine not to do so. You may be invited to speak, but it's quite okay if you don't want to.
Is AA a religious organization?
No. Quite a few AA meetings are held in church locations but that's only because they're convenient and affordable venues. AA groups are in no way affiliated with the church or other organizations whose meeting rooms we rent. The AA program is certainly a spiritual one, but what that means is left up to the individual to decide.
What type of meetings are there?
There are various types of local AA meetings with the most common being the topic meeting. There are also Step meetings where the AA 12-Step program of recovery is discussed in detail. Big Book study meetings where the Big Book is read and studied, and open speaker meetings where a selected speaker will share their personal journey of experience, strength and hope.
What are closed or open meetings?
Most AA meetings are "closed". These meetings are meant for newcomers or AA members that have a desire to stop drinking. In the local area, speaker meetings are "open" meetings which anyone may attend.
How many people are at a meeting?
Local meeting attendance varies where some meetings may have only a handful of attendees and others as many as 40 to 50.
Who goes to AA meetings?
You'll find all sorts of people from all types of different backgrounds at AA meetings...men, women, young, old. Alcoholism does not discriminate!