Find a meeting

Starting a new AA group can be a positive step. It also supports AA’s main purpose – to offer a hand of support to the still suffering alcoholic.

But before you explore starting a new AA group, make sure:

1. The demand is there. 

Check if there are any nearby AA groups, and see what is already on offer in your region to make sure you are not duplicating efforts.

Our Meeting Finder tool can show you all the AA groups within your region.

Try and estimate the numbers your new group might help. Remember AA groups are self-funded, so will rely on group donations to pay for the start-up costs and on-going room hire, refreshments, and any other associated expenses.

2. You are strong enough in your own sobriety.

Is the length and strength of your own sobriety enough to take on the task of running a new AA group? Even with the support of other members? Your recovery is a priority.

As well as your own ability, do you have enough AA members with sufficient sobriety to fill key posts to get the group up and running?

Key positions include a chairperson/secretary, treasurer, and Group Service Representative.

It’s important to know what your group can’t be if it’s to be part of the AA Fellowship.

    • AA meetings are non-restrictive; groups that are not open to ALL alcoholics cannot be registered and listed with the AA’s General Service Office (for example a women-only group will not be registered).
    • A group cannot belong to any individual or be aligned with any outside group, including the hosting venue.
    • You must put common welfare of the AA Fellowship first; if plans concern the welfare of neighbouring groups, they should be consulted.
    • No group can take action that might affect AA as a whole, without consulting the General Service Board.


Other questions to ask

What type of group would it be?

How often will you host meetings? Will these be open, closed or a mixture of both?

When would the group meet?                     

It may be useful to see if there is a gap in timings for meetings in your region. Make sure you check too for any problems around public transport, traffic conditions, hours that the venue is open, overlap with other meetings etc.

Where would the new group’s meeting be held?

Is there a suitable and affordable venue for a meeting in the area and at the time you choose (52 weeks of the year)? Please note that the AA Fellowship cannot accept free accommodation, as it goes against the principle of being self-supporting.

Consider size, easy access to public transport, well-lit parking on site or nearby, with chairs, tables and ideally storage space for any AA material/refreshments. A kitchen and toilet are required. You may need special items, like a hearing loop.

You will also need to agree with the landlord security (securing the room), public liability insurance and safety requirements.

Next steps

Each area has an intergroup that helps co-ordinate and support the activities of local AA groups. Your intergroup may help with practicalities like public liability insurance, as well as list you on their Meeting Finder tool on the AA website.

You will need to:

  • Advise your local intergroup that you are starting a new group.
  • Assign a General Service Representative to attend Intergroup meetings.
  • Let the intergroup know of your proposed timing, venue, and type of group (open/closed).
  • Place information in your local community (local media, notice-boards in shops, surgeries, libraries etc.) so they know the new AA group exists.
  • Open a bank account (in the name of Alcoholics Anonymous) to manage the group pot income (contributions) with at least two signatories. Once you have a reserve, any extra funds ought to be passed on to the intergroup to finance wider activities.

Meeting Materials

Previous groups have bought some of the items below before receiving income from members (to be repaid later).

These might include:

  • The Big Book
  • Starter Packs
  • Anonymity Card and other top table cards
  • The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions
  • The Preamble, Serenity Prayer, and other cards
  • The AA Structure Handbook and AA Service Handbooks for Great Britain
  • Copies of Share and AA Service News
  • Supplies for refreshments

It would be good to have at least some AA literature available at the first meeting, for sale or to gift to newcomers.

The Group Conscience

It is suggested that all groups hold regular Group Conscience meetings. These may be particularly helpful when a group is starting off. The pamphlet AA Business Meetings, the Group Conscience and Group Conscience Meetings provides advice and guidance.


After three months, you should know if there is enough demand for your new group to be self-supporting and sustainable. You can then register using a Pink Form with the General Service Office, and receive a starter pack for the new group.

New groups offer a valuable service to the AA Fellowship, helping to continue our main purpose – hopefully for years to come.