Alcoholics Anonymous has many A.A. members and service committees who are available to provide professionals with information about Alcoholics Anonymous. A.A. has a long history of cooperating but not affiliating with outside organizations and being available to provide A.A. meetings or information about A.A. upon request. A.A. communicates with professionals such as doctors or other health care professionals, members of the clergy, law enforcement or court officials, educators, social workers, alcoholism counselors, therapists, or others who deal with problem drinkers in the course of their work. For more information, please contact Greater Seattle Intergroup at (206) 587-2838.
Who are non-alcoholic professionals?
- Police officers
- Mental health practioners
- Members of the clergy
When attending meetings
Information for students
It is essential that you attend meetings only designated as “open” (rather than “closed”). “Open” indicates that the members of that meeting have agreed to make that meeting available to any interested party. Therefore, at an open meeting, you should not feel like an outsider, or that you are encroaching on a private event. Anyone is welcome. You can find open meetings by selecting “Open” under “Type” at http://www.seattleaa.org/meetings. To avoid overwhelming the meeting, it is recommended that no more than three students attend at a time any given meeting.
Be an observer
At the beginning of most meetings the secretary will ask if there is anyone attending A.A. for the first time. Observers need not respond to this question. However, in some meetings the secretary will ask if there are any non-alcoholic guests present. In that case, please do identify yourself. In either case, please do not participate in any other way in the meeting.
Our Seventh Tradition
Our Seventh Tradition states that we are self-supporting through our own contributions. During the meeting, a basket is passed for donations. When the basket comes to you, feel free to just pass it on.
At the end of the meeting
Each meeting closes with a prayer, often the Serenity Prayer or the Lord’s Prayer. Each of these prayers has historical significance to A.A. The members usually join hands in a circle and recite the prayer. Participation in any meeting’s closing prayer is voluntary.
After the meeting
After the meeting, it is perfectly appropriate for you to approach someone if you wish, to identify yourself as an observer or student, and to engage in general conversation.
If there are books or pamphlets available, feel free to make a purchase or help yourself to what is freely offered.
Some literature that might be helpful:
- About AA, mewsletter for professionals
- Cooperating with Court, D.W.I. and Similar Programs – MG-5
- This Is A.A. – An introduction to the A.A. recovery program P-1
- Is A.A. for You? P-3
- A.A. Member—Medications and Other Drugs P-11
- A.A. as a Resource for the Health Care Professional P-23
- Members of the Clergy Ask About A.A. P-25
- How A.A. Members Cooperate With Professionals P-29
- Member’s-Eye View of Alcoholics Anonymous P-41
- A Brief Guide to Alcoholics Anonymous P-42
- If You Are a Professional… P-46
- Understanding Anonymity P-47
- A.A. Membership Survey P-48
- Is There a Problem Drinker in the Workplace? P-54
What A.A. does do:
- A.A. members share their experience with anyone seeking help with a drinking problem; they give person-to-person service or “sponsorship” to the alcoholic coming to A.A. from any source.
- The A.A. program, set forth in our Twelve Steps, offers the alcoholic a way to develop a satisfying life without alcohol.
- This program is discussed at A.A. group meetings.
- Open speaker meetings — open to alcoholics and nonalcoholics. (Attendance at an open A.A. meeting is the best way to learn what A.A. is, what it does, and what it does not do.) At speaker meetings, A.A. members “tell their stories.” They describe their experiences with alcohol, how they came to A.A., and how their lives have changed as a result of Alcoholics Anonymous.
- Open discussion meetings — one member speaks briefly about his or her drinking experience, and then leads a discussion on A.A. recovery or any drinking-related problem anyone brings up. (Closed meetings are for A.A.s or anyone who may have a drinking problem.)
- Closed discussion meetings — conducted just as open discussions are, but for alcoholics or prospective A.A.s only.
- Step meetings (usually closed) — discussion of one of the Twelve Steps.
- A.A. members also take meetings into correctional and treatment facilities.
- A.A. members may be asked to conduct the informational meetings about A.A. as a part of A.S.A.P. (Alcohol Safety Action Project) and D.W.I. (Driving While Intoxicated) programs. These meetings about A.A. are not regular A.A. group meetings
What A.A. does not do:
- Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover.
- Solicit members.
- Engage in or sponsor research.
- Keep attendance records or case histories.
- Join “councils” of social agencies (although A.A. members, groups and service offices frequently cooperate with them).
- Follow up or try to control its members.
- Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses.
- Provide detox or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment.
- Offer religious services or host/sponsor retreats.
- Engage in education about alcohol.
- Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money, or any other welfare or social services.
- Provide domestic or vocational counseling.
- Accept any money for its services, or any contributions from non-A.A. sources.
- Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.
Reprinted from F-2 Information on Alcoholics Anonymous, with permission of A.A. World Services, Inc.