What is AA?
Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
Meetings are the backbone of AA. We attend meetings on a regular basis to connect with others who are like us and to learn about the program of recovery. Most of us go to several meetings per week, and many of us go every day. You are free to choose your own schedule, but it is recommended that we put at least as much effort into our recovery as we did our drinking, especially in the beginning.
If you’re nervous about going to your first meeting, don’t be. Newcomers are the lifeblood of AA, and the people you’ll meet at meetings are all there to help you. Most importantly, they’ve all been where you are. Stay after the meeting and make some friends.
What is the Big Book?
Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism (generally known as The Big Book) is a 1939 basic text, describing how to recover from alcoholism, primarily written by Bill Wilson, one of the founders of Alcoholics Anonymous. It is the originator of the seminal "twelve-step method" widely used to treat many addictions.
Are You Court-Ordered to Attend AA?
If so, you are welcome to attend any meeting. Alcoholics Anonymous has no affiliation with any courts and no obligation to support their requests, but we honor any person’s desire to stop drinking, regardless of how they find their way to our doors. So most people who lead or chair meetings are happy to sign court papers and to help you get started in AA. If someone doesn’t want to do that for you, simply ask someone else.
Visiting Students and Professionals
Students and counselors who are seeking information about the program are welcome to attend meetings. If you are called upon to speak, it's usually best to pass to allow those who are there seeking recovery to speak. You are also requested to respect the anonymity of those you see at meetings and not use their names in anything you write. If you need additional information on the principle of anonymity, please ask the chairperson after the meeting.