You're not alone...
You're not the first
Many are given the option of attending AA by judges, employers, family members or treatment programs in lieu of other consequences. If you come to A.A. for a similar reason, you probably have some questions. This page may provide some answers.
What can I expect at AA?
If a judge, school or employer has suggested you attend a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous, they may believe there is evidence that you have a drinking problem. If you have an attendance card to be signed, most AA meeting secretaries will be happy to do so. Take a look at a current meeting directory. You'll see the days, times, and places AA meetings are held. Meetings marked with an (O) are Open Meetings -- anyone can attend, while those marked with a (C) are Closed Meetings -- for people who have a desire to stop drinking.
Do I have to give my name?
When you go to an AA meeting you don't have to give your full name. Some groups will ask the newcomers to introduce themselves "by your first name only." At some meetings a sign-in sheet may be circulated for the chairperson to use during the meeting -- you don't have to sign it. All participation at AA is voluntary.
Will I have to speak?
It's not necessary to explain why you're there. Others will share but no one will think it odd if you choose to remain silent. There are many AA members who prefer to sit and listen at meetings.
Will A.A. respect my anonymity?
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all of A.A.'s Traditions. Please respect this custom and treat in confidence who you see and what you hear. You can count on others to respect your anonymity.
What about religion?
Most AA members have a program based upon a personal belief in a Higher Power; there is no religious affiliation. What you believe is up to you. Many meetings open and close with a short prayer; participation is optional.
Are there dues or fees?
The AA groups pay for certain services beyond rent, coffee/tea and literature. If help (so freely given to us) is to be available to every alcoholic on the day he or she asks for help, we must support the national and local General Service Structures and Intergroup. Traditionally, AA groups are self-supporting. If you accept this principle, you will show your gratitude when the basket comes your way.
Only you can decide...
whether you're an alcoholic. Others may point out indications of a problem such as losing control, DUI arrests, lost jobs, broken marriages and relationships, memory blackouts, the shakes, etc. But only you can tell if you are actually an alcoholic.
At A.A. meetings you'll find people of all backgrounds. they all have one thing in common: they are trying to live sober, one day at a time. Meetings usually last an hour to an hour-and a-half. City wide meeting directories are available at most A.A. meetings, or call your local A.A. phone numbers:
- Seattle 206.587.2838
- Bellevue 425.454.9192
- Everett 425.252.2525
- Snohomish 425.672.0987
- Tacoma 253.474.8897
Here's what we say about A.A.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.
The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes.
Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
Copyright by AA Grapevine, Inc.; reprinted with permission.
What A.A. does not do:
- Keep attendance records or case histories
- Provide drying-out or medical service
- Engage in education about alcohol
- Provide professional counseling
- Provide letters of reference
- Offer religious services
- Charge dues or fees
- Solicit members
What A.A. does do:
The primary purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous is to carry our message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking a life free from alcohol.
Other A.A. pamphlets:
- Do You Think You're Different?
- A Newcomer Asks
- AA At A Glance
- Is AA For Me?
- 44 Questions