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AA meetings

If you’re new to AA, you likely have fears or reservations. Maybe you’ve seen AA meetings on TV or in films. What’s the reality?

There are no forms to fill in, no fees to pay. Just a warm welcome. In fact, you will probably feel for the first time, you are with people who really understand you.

Many meetings are held in churches or community centres. Some people will say hello, some will keep to themselves. You’ll see men and women of all ages and backgrounds in a friendly, social atmosphere.

You take a seat, and a person – the chairperson on that day – will introduce AA to you, and any other newcomers.

It is strictly anonymous, so members only use their first names. They pledge to treat anything you say as confidential, and between the group.

You don’t have to stand up and say “I’m an alcoholic.” You do not have to speak. You can just come along and listen.

As a newcomer, you will be asked to raise your hand if you want to introduce yourself by your first name. Don’t raise it, if you don’t want to do this. It’s up to you.

Members support each other through example and friendship as they recount how they have managed to stay sober that week. There is no judgement, only knowing smiles.

There may be readings from the Twelve Steps. The chair will ask if anyone wants to share their experiences, strength, or hope relating to the step.

The chairperson will also announce any AA news relevant to the group. A hat is passed for any contributions (to cover running costs of the meeting hall, literature, and incidental expenses).

Most meetings end with the Serenity Prayer. It’s important to say, you do not have to be religious or believe in God. The purpose is to think of a higher power, such as nature, or simply what happens when people come together to help each other.

After the meeting, those who want to informally chat, can do, usually over tea or coffee.

You will be offered a meeting schedule, so you know when the next meeting is, and names and numbers of people you can call if you feel the need to drink and need help.

No one will pester you to hold hands or pray, or demand you sit at the front, or stand up, speak, or even stay until the end of the meeting.

The only ask is for members to show common respect to each other, and have a shared desire to stop drinking

Open Meetings

Open meetings are open to non-alcoholics too, such as family and friends supporting a loved one.

Closed Meetings

These meetings are limited to alcoholics and those who think or know they have a problem with drinking.

Find a meeting near you now.