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Alcoholics Anonymous operates across the world, united by basic principles embodied in AA’s Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions and Twelve Concepts.



The AA is a Fellowship. It is made up of groups of members who meet each week, in towns and neighbourhoods, up and down the country. Their primary focus is to help alcoholics at all stages of recovery.

The structure of AA works like an upside-down pyramid.

The thousands of groups (and members) from across the UK are at the top.

Within each group, members take on roles, such as secretary and treasurer of that group.

Each group is also encouraged to appoint a representative, who can speak for that group on regional level.

Download a PDF copy of the AA Structure Handbook here.


Group representatives sit on ‘intergroups,’ who look after specific activity, such as the helpline, the AA website, the AA magazines, and archives.


These representatives meet regularly to coordinate resources and initiatives at a regional level; there are 15 regions in the UK.

From this regional level, trustees are nominated (including non-alcoholic interested professionals) to sit on the General Service Board.

General Service Board

The General Service Board looks after the central services of the AA Fellowship.

The AA is not a charity. The General Service Board is.

Its board of trustees each has responsibility for an area of work. It looks after operational issues, such as financial reporting and legal duties.

The board also attends regional meetings, sub-committees, and workshops (they’re kept busy!).

It basically looks after the nuts and bolts of running the Fellowship, ultimately serving the AA’s thousands of members.

Annual Conference

Each year, the Board reports to the annual conference, where delegates from all regions gather.

The conference is the ‘active voice’ and ‘collective conscience’ of the AA.

Here, questions, which have been submitted from members are considered and responses drafted. Any new guidelines, or amendments require a majority vote.

The actions from the conference are then published, and available for all members to read.

More information about the annual conference can be found here.


AA is fully self-supporting. It does not seek, or accept, contributions from non-members.

The amount any individual member can donate is limited to £10,000 per year (the exception being members’ legacies).

Expenses at the group level for rental of meeting places, coffee and refreshments, literature, etc., are met by ‘passing the hat.’

In a majority of groups, an amount is set aside regularly for the support of AA wider services.

All contributions are voluntary. Membership in AA involves no dues or fees.