What to expect from an AA meeting

Those who have never attended a 12-step meeting have some misconceptions about how the meetings actually work.

Many people who are new to the concept of attending a 12-step meeting, voice fears and reservations surrounding their expectations of what will go on during the meeting. Before attending your first AA meeting, here are some of the thoughts that may go through your head.

Would I be surrounded and generally malled by these so called “helpful” alcoholics?

Would I have to stand up and say, “I am an alcoholic.”?

Would I have to tell all of my secrets surrounding my addiction to alcohol.?

Would I have to participate in group hugs.

Would I have to pray.

Would I be joining a cult.

Would I see people I recognized.

These are some of the most common questions. That fact is that no of these are what you can expect in an AA Meeting. The guiding principle of AA ensures that anonymity and safety are maintained. There is no judgement.

Here are the 12 Traditions of AA:

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one ultimate authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.
  3. The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.
  5. Each group has but one primary purpose — to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
  6. An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
  7. Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, and films.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before personalities.