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Video:What to Expect at a First AA Meeting

with JJ Burkart

Many people struggling with alcohol dependency or abuse seek out Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for support and knowledge on recovery. Learn where to find an AA meeting, and see some typical meeting setups.See Transcript

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Transcript:What to Expect at a First AA Meeting

Many people struggling with alcohol dependency or abuse seek out Alcoholics Anonymous meetings for support and knowledge on recovery. It can be very intimidating to walk into an AA meeting for the first time. In this video, I will explain some common aspects of AA meetings so that someone seeking help will have a basic understanding of what they might expect.

How to Find a AA Meeting

First of all, how does one find a meeting? Most phone books will have a listing for a local information office simple listed under AA. You can also go to aa.org and click on the how to find aa meetings tab for a list of AA offices and phone numbers in your desired area.

AA Meeting Styles

There are several main styles of meeting. While each group is autonomous, many follow similar meeting formats. Meetings often take place in churches, schools and hospitals. Meetings can be specifically for women, men, young people or gay people. Most are open to anyone who feels they may have a problem with alcohol and they all operate on a principle of anonymity which means that those who attend are expected to keep everything that is shared, including names of attendees, to themselves.

AA Speaker Meetings

One common meeting format is the speaker meeting. A speaker meeting features one or more recovering alcoholics speaking about their personal experiences.

The general guideline for AA speakers is to discuss what it was like as an active alcoholic, what happened to change their situation to one of recovery from alcoholism, and what their life is like now that they are sober.

Another common meeting format is the discussion meeting. In this format participants typically sit around in one large group or several smaller groups and go around the circle taking turns discussing a topic. Often the topic of the discussion comes from a short reading at the beginning of the meeting.

Alcoholics Anonymous Big Books

Another common meeting style is the Big Book study group. The Big Book is a common name used by AA members to refer to the foundational text of AA, a blue bound book called Alcoholics Anonymous.

This book explains in great detail the 12-step program of AA and contains many personal first hand accounts of people who recovered using the program. At these meetings, members usually take turns reading from the book, until the group has read a chapter or a part of a chapter. The rest of the meeting is then spent discussing the reading and relating it to personal recovery efforts.

AA Step Meeting

Another common format is the step meeting, where people discuss one of the 12 steps Regardless of format, each group has their own specific ways of conducting meetings. Most meetings offer participants an opportunity to introduce themselves. They will go around the room in a circle with most people identifying themselves by first name and stating that they are an alcoholic.

Many begin with someone reading the AA preamble. This is a short document that describes the AA mission and explains that the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. Following the AA preamble, an AA member may introduce him or herself and read another document called, How it Works.

How it works, is an excerpt from the AA book that explains the 12 steps that make up the core of the AA program. The meeting lead may then read a short reading from one of many daily meditation books related to recovery. Meetings typically last about one hour and end with reciting of the serenity prayer.

Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Frequency

Depending on where you live, there may be dozens of meetings each week. Across, the united States there are AA meetings in every US state and many other countries around the world, frequented by people from of all ages and from all walks of life. Hopefully, this brief overview of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings sheds some light and makes it easier for someone seeking help to walk into their first meeting.

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