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Intro to A.A.

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A Brief Introduction to Alcoholics Anonymous:

Attend an A.A. Meeting:

Anyone can attend an open A.A. meeting. If you attend a meeting, you will notice that most of us identify ourselves by our first name, and the fact that we are an alcoholic. If you are not an alcoholic, or not sure, feel free to identify yourself as a visitor. We encourage you to introduce yourself to a few folks before or after the meeting. You will find, we believe, that any A.A. member will be happy to answer any questions, no matter how simple, or how personal or difficult. We stay sober by sharing our experience.

Anyone with a desire to stop drinking can attend a closed A.A. meeting. There are no dues or fees for A.A. meetings, and anonymity is a practice and a tradition in A.A. If you are looking for help with your drinking we strongly urge you to talk to someone at the meeting.

If you are concerned about someone else's drinking:

You may want to contact Al-anon. They are a 12-step organization for family and friends of Alcoholics. Al-anon has a website at

Information on Alcoholics Anonymous

This information is both for people who may have a drinking problem and for those in contact with people who have, or are suspected of having, a problem. Most of the information is available in more detail in literature published by A.A. World Services, Inc. Also the Alcoholics Anonymous G.S.O. website: http:// has a variety of pamphlets and information online.

What is 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 or opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety."

What does*

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 non alcoholics. (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 A.A. 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 may also take meetings into correctional and treatment facilities. A.A. members may be asked to conduct informational meetings about A.A. in schools, hospitals, and other public forums. These meetings about A.A. are not regular A.A. group meetings. (See Public Information)

How to find an A.A. Meeting:

We are an anonymous bunch, but you can find A.A. meetings all over Ontariio, and often at a variety of times and locations to suit any schedule. Contacting A.A. in Ontario has the details.

What A.A. does not do:*

  1. Furnish initial motivation for alcoholics to recover
  2. Solicit members
  3. Engage in or sponsor research
  4. Keep attendance records or case histories
  5. Join “councils” of social agencies
  6. Follow up or try to control its members
  7. Make medical or psychological diagnoses or prognoses
  8. Provide drying-out or nursing services, hospitalization, drugs, or any medical or psychiatric treatment
  9. Offer religious services
  10. Engage in education about alcohol
  11. Provide housing, food, clothing, jobs, money, or any other welfare or social services
  12. Provide domestic or vocational counseling
  13. Accept any money for its services, or any contributions from non-A.A. sources
  14. Provide letters of reference to parole boards, lawyers, court officials, social agencies, employers, etc.


The primary purpose of A.A. is to carry our message of recovery to the alcoholic seeking help. Almost every alcoholism treatment tries to help the alcoholic maintain sobriety. Regardless of the road we follow, we all head for the same destination, recovery of the alcoholic person. Together, we can do what none of us could accomplish alone. We can serve as a source of personal experience and be an ongoing support system for recovering alcoholics.

If you think you may have a problem with alcohol and  this hasn't answered your questions, try answering these 20 Questions (and answers!) from AAWS

*From "What is A.A."©Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc. used with permission.

For an A.A. Meeting in Guelph contact: (519) 836-1522


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