AA meetings are a gathering of people, who know or may think they have a drinking problem, consisting of two (2) or more alcoholics. Post covid-19, a majority of the meetings are accessible 24/7 online via Zoom (which is an application you can download to your phone, computer or tablet). However, AA meetings are still accessible in person with the requirement of wearing a mask.
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An AA meeting is a place, either online or in person, where alcoholics gather to share their experience, strength, and hope with each other. AA meetings are the core of how alcoholics connect with one another and stay sober. AA is not a cult. When going to an AA meeting, no one is going to force you to do anything. Often times newcomers, being shy and reserved, sit in the back and listen. They are often surprised by how much they have in common with others who speak. Also what is surprising is the laughter and joy felt in the room.
Meetings will last for 1 hour (60 minutes) and are free of charge. The person who is in charge of the meeting, known as charing the meeting, is a fellow alcoholic doing service (for free) to make the meeting happen.
Due to the covid pandemic, there has been a large shift to AA meetings online. Now, at anytime of the day from the ease of your home, anyone can join an AA meeting.
Join an AA Meeting with the following platforms/apps:
How long are AA meetings?
All AA meetings last for one (1) hour. However, meetings are not strictly limited to an hour if the meeting runs on a bit longer than normal.
What is a closed AA meeting?
A closed AA meeting is only available to those who have a drinking problem or think they have an issue. Supporters of an alcoholic or people who are curious about AA are asked to refrain from closed meetings and instead attend what are called open AA meetings which are welcomed to alcoholics and non-alcoholics.
What happens at an AA meeting?
When you go to an AA meeting, there will be chairs available to take a seat. Depending on the meeting, there may be a person there to greet others but more often than not, there isn’t a greeter. Once seated, the meeting will commence with the Serenity Prayer followed by the Preamble, Promises and the 12 Traditions. If it’s a speaker meeting, there will be a person sitting in the front that will share their story (what it was like, what happened, and what things are like now). If it’s a big book or step meeting, a reading will be read and people will have the option to raise their hand and share their thoughts. As the hour nears end, the meeting will end with the Serenity Prayer.
What is an AA meeting like?
Most meeting formats are relatively the same, either being an open or closed meeting. There will be one person (a fellow alcoholic with quality sobriety) who leads the meeting and comes up with a topic to discuss during the meeting. Other types of meetings focus on the 12 steps (step meeting) and others involve a speaker (speaker meeting). This is a good way to learn more about the steps from others perspectives and struggles others have within the step(s). It’s often misunderstood that going to meetings is the program of AA. Although it is a very large part of the program and has its benefits, a combination of going to meetings, obtaining a sponsor, and working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous is where the real miracle happens.
Are AA meetings free?
AA meetings are Free of charge, however because AA meetings are self-supported, a donation of $1 dollar or more is welcomed if you so choose. You will not be asked to give money.
How to find an AA meeting?
AA meetings are very easy to find, whether it’s an online meeting or a meeting in person.
- Online – Almost all meetings online are done using a video application called Zoom which can be viewed online through your web browser, such as Chrome, or you can download the application here. Zoom has a free plan that allows 40 minute sessions with up to 100 participants and you do not need to have a Zoom account to enter online meetings, which makes it very easy. The best way to find a meeting at any hour of the day is to search intergroups of large cities (examples: NYC, LA, Boulder, CO)
- In-person – In person meetings are easy to find. If you are planning to attend a meeting in your current location, the best way is to download the app called Meeting Guide which is the official app created by A.A. World Services, Inc. Once downloaded, you will be able to see a listing of aa meetings available nearest you, ordered by aa meetings that are happening soonest. Otherwise, check your local AA intergroup for meetings nearest you.
How to chair an AA meeting?
The person chairing the meeting is typically an alcoholic that is a regular member of that meeting and by chairing the meeting, they are responsible for making the meeting happen and taking charge during the meeting. When the meeting is supposed to start, the chair person will introduce themselves followed by asking all those participating to stand up and say the serenity prayer.
Basics to Chair a meeting:
- Arrive 10-15 minutes before the meeting starts. Make sure all the chairs are set up, coffee is made and that the meeting start ON-TIME!
- If it’s a speaker meeting, have a speaker chosen before the meeting is to start. If it’s a topic meeting, come prepared with a topic. If it’s a step, know which step you’ll be reading and if it’s a big book, know where (page #) in the big book the meeting last left off.
- Introduce yourself (“Hi I’m ______ and I’m an alcoholic”) and announce the start of the meeting.
- Ask everyone to join you in a moment of silence followed by the serenity prayer.
- Read the Preamble out loud.
- Choose people in the meeting to volunteer to read either “How It Works” or “The 12 Traditions.”
- Ask those new to AA or the meeting to introduce themselves.
How does the court verify AA meetings?
At most A.A. meetings, participants are able to obtain proof of attendance if requested. Because of people who are court-ordered to attend A.A. meetings due to law violations, such as a DUI/DWI, it’s common practice to obtain a proof of attendance from the person chairing the meeting.
Important: AA meetings do not provide proof of attendance cards or forms. The person being court ordered must provide the card or form. The person being court-ordered can also verify their attendance by coordinating with their defense attorney – who then reports the attendance to the court.
Do you get a chip at your first AA meeting?
Every A.A. meeting is different. Some meetings give out chips at the end of every meeting and others only give out chips at selected times during each month.
- If an AA meeting does give out chips at the end, it’s important to raise your hand when they announce a chip for 24 hour sobriety. This is how you get your first chip at an AA meeting.
- If an AA meeting does not give out a chip, after the meeting go up to the member chairing and ask if you could have a 24 hour chip. Most often this is a white chip.
AA Meeting App
The meeting app, also called Meeting Guide, is an essential tool for anyone who is looking to participate in AA meetings. The meeting app is available on both Apple and Android phones. The meeting app was created by A.A. World Services and provides up-to-date information about AA meetings near you. All you need to do is open the app and it will show a list of meetings closest to your current location.
- By using your devises location, the app allows you to see available meetings in your local area.
- Favorite your preferred meetings
- Access the Daily Reflection
How to Use the Meeting App
First go to the App Store or Google Play Store to search for the “Meeting Guide” app.
Step 1 – Search and Find “Meeting Guide”
After going into your app store and searching the term “Meeting Guide”, you will see the app containing a blue icon with a chair in a circle. On the right, click on the cloud button to begin the download.
Step 2 – Find a Meeting
All you need to do is click on the “Meetings” icon to populate the list of AA meetings in your area.