Since we all had to attend “our first meeting”, we know from experience the anxiety that can come from going to AA for the first time. Below is a list of common questions and answers that might ease some of that anxiety for you.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does an AA meeting cost?
There are no dues or fees for AA membership. Most meetings will have someone pass a basket to collect voluntary contributions to help offset the costs of items such as rent, coffee and literature. Those in attendance are free to contribute as much or as little as they want.
How do I sign up for AA?
You don’t. AA does not keep membership or attendance records. Our only membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking.
How long do meetings last?
With a few exceptions, the vast majority of meetings in our area last for one hour.
What if I see someone I know?
They will be there for the same reason you are. They will not disclose your identity to outsiders because we retain as much anonymity as you wish. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program.
What are “open” and “closed” meetings?
A “closed” meeting is only for those who have a desire to stop drinking. An “open” meeting is available to anyone interested in the Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery from alcoholism. Even if you do not consider yourself an alcoholic, you may attend an open meeting as an observer.
How do I find a meeting?
There are more than 200 in-person meetings each week in the Oconomowoc/Waukesha area. It is usually not hard to find a meeting you can attend in your area and at a convenient time. Most groups give away free printed meeting directories. However, the most up-to-date listing of meetings can be found on-line by clicking here. There are many virtual options as well. You can attend a virtual AA meeting from our area by clicking here.
Can I get my court paper signed?
Every AA group is autonomous, so each group is free to decide for itself whether or not to sign attendance papers. Most groups in our area do sign court papers for those who respectfully attend their meeting. Those who have a policy against signing papers are noted in our directory list.
Can my family go with me to a meeting?
All who are interested in AA, whether or not they consider themselves an alcoholic, are welcome at an “open” meeting. Your family and friends can attend these meetings with you as observers.
Can I get a ride to a meeting?
Our Intergroup Office does not provide rides to meetings. However, we can often find a meeting you can get to by walking or taking the bus. Once at a meeting do not be afraid to ask someone for a ride to other meetings. Many AA members will give rides if asked politely.
Will I have to talk?
Participation at an AA meeting is always voluntary. With many of us, as we gain more sobriety, we find that sharing our experience, strength and hope with others in attendance helps us stay sober and become more involved in the AA program. If you are attending a discussion meeting and it’s your turn to comment, you may simply say “I pass.”
How many meetings do I have to attend?
There is no set number of meetings AA members have to attend. It is a matter of personal preference and need. Some members attend at least one meeting a week, while others may go to one each night.
What is a home group?
Although AA members are welcome at any group, many find one particular group in which they form a special bond. It is at that group they feel the most responsibility to attend regularly and accept service responsibilities. Home group members have the right to vote on matters that affect the group.
What is a sponsor?
You do not need a sponsor to attend AA meetings. Instead a sponsor is someone who has agreed to share their experience of AA and the Twelve Steps with you on a continuous and individual basis.