New to AA

590 replies [Last post]

Today's A.A. is as religious as any church service I have
attended. And I have been to many including the full
gospel churches. Of course in A.A. meetings we do not
sing. Not Yet,anyway.
Even at the full gospel churches which are God or Christ
centered, the alter call comes near the end of the service.
At most A.A. meetings we tell all and sundry, That One is
God! May you find him now!, right up front.
Reading the first 2 !/2 pages of chapter five and the
24 hr book aloud at meetings has turned our fellowship
into a strange type of religion. Add the chanting and
we have become a strange type of cult. We have changed
A.A. from a fellowship to a Program/Fellowship.
Our preamble still reads fellowship, but that will
also be changed to Fellowship eventually.
Spiritual and religious basically mean the same
thing. Alcoholics Anonymous is religious and spiritual
to its core. What Bill W. warned us about is turning
A.A. into a religion. We have done just that. Bill warned
us about cramming the steps down member's throats.
God, of my understanding, gave us free will. We ought
to offer that freedom to any alcoholic approaching us.
We share what we were like, what happened, and what
we are like now. If they want what we have, they are
welcome to do what we did. Maybe it will work for them.
We have left a path for them to follow. I have found that
alcoholics are rebellious to the core. So we do not give
them any directions or instructions for them to rebel
against or ignore. We simply share our own story. How
can we go wrong? Let the Big Book tell them what to
do. Even the BB is suggestive only. The twelve steps
are but suggestions. A.A. in its true form does work.
61,don't give up on us. ANONYMOUS

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Anonymous

"The twelve stepsare but suggestions. A.A. in its true form does work."
Pure falsehood spread by untreated alcoholics who refuse to take the steps.
The steps are a suggested program of recovery, not a list of suggestions. The Big Book is full of examples stating this fact. Here are a few:
"Rarely have we seen a person fail who has THOROUGHLY followed our path."
"At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not."
"Half measures availed us nothing."
"Here are the steps we took, which are suggested AS A PROGRAM OF RECOVERY."
"Though our decision was a vital and crucial step, it could have little permanent effect unless AT ONCE followed by a strenuous effort to face, and be rid of, the things in ourselves which had been blocking us."
"The best reason first: If we skip this vital step, we may not overcome drinking."
"Having had a spiritual awakening as THE RESULT OF THESE STEPS, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs."
And from the 12 & 12:
A.A.'s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if PRACTICED AS A WAY OF LIFE, can expel the obsession to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole."
"More sobriety brought about by the admission of alcoholism and by attendance at a few meetings is very good indeed, but it is bound to be a far cry from permanent sobriety and a contented, useful life' That is just where THE REMAINING STEPS OF THE A.A. PROGRAM come in."
In other words, if you want what we have you should do what we do.


"Rarely do we seen a person fail who has THOROUGHLY
followed our path." It does not read "who has followed our
directions. Our founders left us a path to follow. There
is no one on that path. God may be there but you probably
will not see Him. Let the book offer the suggestions. They
don't have to come from me. I only share what I was like,
what happened to me, and what my life is like today.
Let the newcomer, and everyone else, in the light of
their own circumstances, decide what they want to do. We
push suffering human beings away from what may be their last
source of help, by prodding and pushing them. Let the
tyrant alcohol be the persuader (or the alcoholics spouse).
The steps are suggestions. Some alcoholics get
sober without formally "working them". Bill often wrote
about "practicing the steps". When I say "My name is Joe,
and I am an alcoholic", that is the first part of the
first step. Keep it simple was Dr. Bob's last advice to
us. Who are we to judge any alcoholic whether he/she is
an untreated alcoholic? I see alcoholics every day who
are undergoing treatment. Many wander aimlessly on the
streets. Many of these men and women have been to our
A.A. meetings on their way down. We have pushed them
away by telling them That One is God!, May you find Him
NOW!. The reading of HIW aloud at meetings must be
stopped. Alcoholics are dying by the thousands every
day because of the damage that reading has caused us.
But we continue to chant, God could and would if he
were sought", while pumping our arms up and down. ANONYMOUS

re-commenting on anonymous

I often hear what you have said in meetings, "In other words, if you want what we have you should do what we do."
I totally disagree with this statement. Not all alcoholics get sober the same way. This statement also adds a fascist flavor to recovery. If this was the path you had chosen more power to you but, it certainly wasn't the path I took. Quoting the the big book does not give one more credibility then say a person who shares their sobriety experience learned outside the book. In my own recovery, I did everything I was told me to do and still relapsed. The suggested things in the book did not work for me at all.
Luckily, I had support from my sponsor and members in my group who provided me the time and space to find myself.
Our group treats everyone with dignity and respect. We do not operate in judgment or chase anyone away with browbeating tactics. Thank goodness the Preamble was written or else I would be dead.

re: non-religious aa groups

I hope you find one - I would think there should be one, or at least a more open-minded and tolerant group, in the Ann Arbor area. Where I am in central Illinois, I have not found a specifically agnostic or atheist AA group, however, I have found those meetings where there are more people like me and you. What I found very helpful early on was a book by Laura S., in which the author described finding that the Buddhist teachings that she had always been drawn to (including the eightfold path) were perfectly consistent with the twelve steps. After reading it, I did not squirm as much when folks started going on about their specific religious beliefs, though even now several years later I make it a point to follow them with my praise of Jimmy B., who likely saved AA from becoming just another Christian temperance movement.

newcomer anonymous learning boundaries

Hi IM a female with 68 days sober. In the first 30 days I met a woman who I just realized is a chronic relapse. Through the time I known her every week or every other week she was relapsing she was drinking or using drugs. She asks me if she can hang out with me a come to my house. I let her into my home yesterday and about 200 ft from my apartment she showed me she had drugs on her. I didn't want to tell her she can't go into my home so I let her in. After she left and while she was there I wAnted to use.
I later felt hurt violated and disrespected. I told my sponsor and she told me to not call or be around her no more. Today I told that girl how I felt and she started crying and crying. I felt really bad. I called a woman with 5 years sober and told her what happened she spoke too me about setting boundaries and about character defects she really helped me.
I am so grateful to be sober and for women who have a lot of time who are willing to share their experience strength hope and help. Thank you.


Sponsorship is important! Whatever your sponsor suggest do it. Unless they ask you to drink or use.

Your Sponsor advised you to:

Not call or be around her no more.

You did this:

Today I told that girl how I felt and she started crying and crying.

Then you did this: I felt bad and did this...
I called a woman with 5 years sober

Try not to spread yourself thin. You are new be new.

I am 25 yrs sober and still follow suggestions. You too can have this thing. Keep Coming Back.


just wondering what I can do. I need a little help. I am on the last drunk everyone talk's about.

Hey Trying.. You can make it

Hey Trying.. You can make it to a meeting online and over the phone as well. I find it helpful and saves on the cost in gas if things are tight with the money. Get a sponsor (if you don't have one yet) and start working on the steps. Most importantly... disregard those old beliefs and be open to taking direction. Do your best and remember one important fact... Take it one day at a time because when you are desperate, that is all you have and all you need to concern yourself with. I hope you're past trying and into DOING, because action is the solution. Have a beautiful day.

Carrie N
Sacramento, CA

re trying

If you are a daily drinker, we suggest seeing a doctor so you don't die going through DTs. If you are a periodic drinker or binge drinker, call your local AA hotline and they will get you in contact with sober members of AA that will try to help you.
get the book "alcoholics anonymous". It is designed to describe our program so you can apply it and become happy, joyous, and free.

Good luck to you and your sobriety,
Corey in MN

Joined: 2012-06-08

Hay Trying, how you doing? Hope you made it thru your last, last, last, drunk !!! How doest it work, it works just fine and has been successful for over 70 years. Perscription----Dont Drink And Go to Meetings every day and as many times a day as you can. Meeting makers make it and thats that. Its a tough time of the year to get sober but you can do it. There are many,many great men and woman who got sober this time of the year. Put as much effort into soberity as you did drinking and you will make it. No one said it will be easy, its not but its very achievable, I did it so can you.
Good Luck

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Trying

Gotta disagree with puravida.
"Perscription----Dont Drink And Go to Meetings every day and as many times a day as you can."
What if Trying's in one of the many locations that don't have multiple daily meetings? And even if he is, he can only hide from booze for so long, then it's going to find him.
"Meeting makers make it and thats that."
Meeting makers make meetings and that's all.
alcoholics Anonymous is known throughout the world as a twelve step program, not a daily meeting program.
The third paragraph in the foreword to the 12 & 12 states, "A.A.'s Twelve Steps are a group of principles, spiritual in their nature, which, if practiced as a way of life, can expel the compulsion to drink and enable the sufferer to become happily and usefully whole.
The Big Book is devoted entirely to identifying the problem, the solution to the problem and what to expect if we follow the suggested program. and it tell what happens to those who refuse to follow the suggestions, who try to do it their own way.
I strongly suggest that Trying go to meetings when he can, get a Big Book (or read it on line) and do what it says to do, not what another untreated alcoholic tells him to do.

re ado10416

well said

34 hours sober

I went to my first meeting yesterday. I'll go to another tonight. I've made it 34 hours without a drink, the longest in more than 20 years.

Yet, my body feels like shit. I'm both wired and tired. Frustrated and lethargic. I got about 2 hours sleep last night -- fall asleep, get up, smoke, want a drink for a few hours. Sleep for another. Do it again.

Don't trust myself to leave the house. I'll end up at a bar, no doubt.

I've never stopped before. Others with experience, is this normal? How long will this go on -- losing my mind.


34hours sober

Keep going! Congratulations. I have just made 48 hours sober myself after over 20 years plus of alcohol use.

34 Hours

Good morning.
Wow that's great that you did not drink. I for one keep it green every day. I felt the same way as you do when I stop drinking I cane into the program also in December. And what was suggested to me and that was do the 90 meetings in 90 days.
I did it one second, min, hour and day at a time. I went to three meetings a day at the same room got to meet everyone. I jumped head on into service cleaning tables and taking out the trash. And I listen to others share.
"Meeting makers make it"
It took me about 90 days for the craving to drink to be lifted. I made the people in the room my higher power until I found mine. I turned to them for help and I learned a lot about he program.
My AA birthday is 12/16/11 I still go to 5 to 6 meetings a week. I work the coffee bar once a week and I welcome the newcomers. Hang tough you can do it just turn everything over to your Higher Power and work your program.

Late at night and realizing

I'm sorry, I didn't read anyone's messages.

I don't know where to go on the site. I'm drunk, sorry. I must stop drinking.

Can someone tell me how to stop? I read the books years ago, but it didn't work for me.

I really need help.

I can't stop alone. Please help.


Late at night and realizing....

you must find a meeting and go. i doesnt even matter if you are drunk when you go into the room, just find one and go. And keep going....we have a saying it is...It Works if You Work it! find a meeting, see the steps and traditions, do the steps and traditions, and keep going back to the meetings. IT WORKS IF YOU WORK IT!!!!! Hope this helped you:)

re late night

Please look in your phone book for you local AA hotline. They will get you in contact with members of AA in your area that will help you.

Good luck!

Joined: 2011-07-29
AA hotline

If you don't have a phone book you can usually type Alcoholics Anonymous and your city and the central office hotline phone number will usually be one of the top search results.

Hope you get a sponsor and take the 12 steps as soon as you can.

My 38 Years of Alcohol Abuse

I am John, just a local guy of 59 years from Crofton,
Who has come to AA from excesive drinking of alcohol way to often;

I started my drinking in college when I was at a very young age,
Never to imagine, that I’d be so effected by alcohol at this late stage;

Throughout most of my 20's, I was stuck in a dead-end job,
I got so depressed, some nights I just wanted to sob;

So to escape reality, on weekends I would engage in binge drinking and get drunk at parties or in a nightclub,
And the next day I would often clear my hangover by sinking myself in a bathtube;

In my 30's and 40's, my personal circumstances improved with a good job and an advancing career.
But to cope with the daily job pressures, I began everynight drinking of some hard liquor and much beer;

Now in order to sleep, many people use drugstore supplements or prescription pills,
However I chose alcohol as my solution for insomnia, and all my other personal ills;

For over twenty years, I lived as a functioning alcoholic, and drank ecessively almost every night,
Although I functioned and even got promoted, I knew what I was doing was physically harmful and not right;

Fortunately I was able to retire a couple of years ago, and just in time in my view,
Before any health issues from my alcohol abuse came under a job performance review.

When I retired, I thought I could stop the vice grip that alcohol had increasingly placed on me.
But instead, my use of alcohol grew and I thought I would never become truly alcohol free;

In March, I got my first DUI at a checkpoint stop in Maryland not far from my house.
There were no damages or injuries, but accounting for this incident has made me feel sometimes just ike a louse;

Alchoholism runs in my family, and my older sister is also an acoholic with an addition to wine,
But she told me about AA, and claimed it had helped quit alcohol and that now she is doing fine.

So in April I went to the Red House in Annapolis and attended my first AA meeting,
Many alcoholics like me showed for this beginners meeting, that had virtually no vacant seating;

I personally commited to the AA program and had my last alcoholic drink at the end of April,
Although new to the AA twelve step program and attending meetings, so far it has worked and for that I’m very grateful.


WOW,This is my story to the tee. I could not have said it better. I will be 55 in Jan. I know I have to do something but fear stopping the things I enjoy. See, Im just trying to justify the slow death of alcohol.

I retired from my job of 25 years now own 4 seperate companies of my own. I use alcohol as a stress reducer (so I think) you know self medicate.

I am now seeing to Dr. for my problems and both say they want treat me until I stop drinking. Gee I wonder why.

Many of the conditions I now suffer from are Alcohol related so I will need to stop to see if there are other conditions i suffer from that they can treat.

I'm just starting the process of wanting to stop and get well.

I am putting off the AA thing until after the holidays so I can drink and enjoy all the holiday spirits.

I do think the Dr. should just treat me for being crazy to start with.

Thanks for you story.

Joined: 2012-11-01

I'm afraid to call anyone late at night for fear of waking them up which seems to me to be rude behavior. Late at night is when I want to drink. How do I reconcile that?

re help

I don't know if you work during the day and have trouble sleeping at night or if you work nights and sleep days or whatever.

when I first got sober, I was afraid of insomnia. I used to drink until I passed out.

If you need to talk to someone, get some numbers of people who say they will take your calls during odd hours of the night. The book alcoholics anonymous was a great help to me. I could read the stories in the back like a speaker meeting. Also sweets are a great help. when you get cravings in the night some chocolate or ice cream seems to do the trick provided you don't have other health issues. finally, you can find an online meeting somewhere around the world where people are awake when you are. the grapvine in print or online also is a great help.

After all that, If you practice the 12 steps of AA as a way of life, it will expell your compulsion to drink and make you happily and usefully whole(forward the the twelve steps and twelve traditions).

God bless you and good luck

New to AA

I am hoping that today, another DAY 1, will be my last DAY 1. I've quit so many time I can't even count. It's fairly easy for me to quit, but I have difficulty staying stopped. Am I an alcoholic? I think so. I've been a nightly wine drinker for years and years. Never over a it's not like I can't stop once I start. No one has ever confronted me on my drinking, I've never gotten a dui, never gotten in trouble, etc. But it definitely has a pull on me and I decided it was time to take action. I went to my first all women's AA meeting today and I was SOOOOOO nervous. Even my hands were sweaty. But I walked up to the front at the end to get my white ship and got a hug. Another woman came over and we exchanged phone numbers and I left feeling like I was doing the right thing. Wish me luck!

New to AA

I have tried AA 3 times over the years and I do know one thing- it makes you accountable for your actions and gives you as much support as you need. I just started again, going to 2 meetings so far and I felt very at home there. I am the same as you, I can also stop when I want to but not always. Sometimes the urge for more is too great.
Whatever you do, stick with AA. Don't give up. I am talking to myself as much as I am you. There are all kinds of alcoholics. Some of us manage to maintain and hide our drinking so it does not become a subject outside our four lonely walls. All I know is that I am pretty sure now that my drinking habits have ruined at least 2 relationships with men and given me nothing but a bad sense of self. I think when it is time to stop, most people know it. Don't give up!

I do wish you good luck

My drink of choice was anything "clear" so it was easy to disguise. Oh, it's diet sprite! And it was every night and then months or weeks or even a year would go by and I'd be fine. But then...tah dah! When I began, I had no way to stop and it was only a bad crash - an embarrassing situation to me and my spouse-that I decided it's time to give it. I can't control it. It's got me. So good luck, fellow, on our journey!

Joined: 2012-08-10
Functionig alcoholic?

I am new to AA. I know that I have a drinking problem. I enjoy having a drink after work. I feel like I "need" it. I crave it. I don't drink until I get sick though. I have only gotten sick three times in my life due to drinking. But I do drink... Pretty much every day. Sometimes I have a glass of wine. Sometimes I have a bottle. The next day, I go to work without a problem. I have never missed a day or have been late because of drinking. So, am I an alcoholic, or not? This is hard.

Am I an alcoholic or not

I you crave alcohol on a every day bases then you might be an alcoholic. If you can say no to a drink then you might be an alcoholic. I had an asignment in one of my class to look up alcohol abuse this may help you to look it up. I found it on the internet.

Functioning alcoholic

I can pretty say "ditto" to your post. I drink (drank) every evening after work. Sometimes a bottle of wine a night. I wondered too if I were alcoholic. I am now 85 days sober. I knew when I started "craving" alcohol something was going on. I started revolving my evenings, weekends around it. I made sure I drank at home because I already had 2 DUI's. So I didn't go out much except to work, to the store to get wine and settle in at night. That got really old too after time. I realized this is not living at all. I fell into a rut. I feel free now to go anywhere, anytime, now that I do not revolve my life around alcohol.

Joined: 2012-05-30
r u an alcoholic

In our book alcoholics anonymous it says if when you honestly want to you cannot quit entirely or when drinking you cannot control the amount you take you are probably alcoholic.
Alcoholics have an obsession of the mind that compels you to drink and a physical alergy of the body that makes you continue to drink once you start.
So here is the test. try some controlled drinking. Drink and stop abruptly, try it more than once.
Also try leaving alcohol alone for a year.
If you can relate to thinking its pk to drink just before you drink regardless of the consequences you may have a problem.
In aa we don't diagnose anyone, we all have to diagnose ourselves. we are all members of aa if we say so.

Good luck

Am I an alcoholic or not

I would say that if you can walk away from it and not crave it then I would say that you don't have a problem. If you can't just stop with one or two drinks and you drink every day then I would say you need to take a hard look at it. I have not had a drink going on for the last 4 months and I don't miss it or crave it. It is not for me to say who is an alcoholic only you can truly answer that question. Either way I hope you find your answer to your question but if you do a gut check you may find your answer. Good luck.

just not a newcomer.... supposedly

I know i've never arrived but i am kinda lost at my new lunch meeting i go to (Bill W.'s luncheon) i just don't feel like sharing about jail experiences self pity is something im praying every morning to be divorced of and here i went but i just don't know if they would understand

working the steps

have heard this several times in meetings what exactly does this mean embarrased to ask

It is new for me, too. What if somebody is just there to gossip

I realize I cannot continue to worry about the roadblocks to my trusting that AA is the only hope I have of becoming free from fear, paranoia, embarassment, gossip. Just focus on the real WE are sharing the desire to stop drinking.

Joined: 2012-01-18
Re: Working the Steps

I take it you mean you don't understand what "working the steps" means?
I'll suggest to you what was suggested to me and has worked for many years: "Use your Big Book."
Notice I said 'use,' not 'read' or 'study' or 'discuss' or 'have someone read it to you. After you've read a certain number of pages you'll understand what "working the steps mean, and you'll find precise instructions on how to work them.

Joined: 2012-07-07
Words of Wisdom

I attended my 10th AA meeting tonight. I had a relapse and drank on my 7th day of sobriety but I had myself back at my meetings the next day. I know that if I had not gone right back that I would not be able to say today that I am sober. In my short ten meetings I have come to care for some of my fellow members very much. I look forward to seeing their faces and I even look forward to the hugs I receive when I walk in (I am not a hugger).

In tonight's meeting Chris (a quiet fellow) said that he was thankful that God had "chosen" him to be sober. I had never looked at it quite this way but from now on I will hear those words whenever I start to feel like I am not "normal" because of my disease. God has CHOSEN me to be sober and I accept this gift with all the love I have in my heart.


Living in hell...

Joined: 2012-09-13
I'm sorry - me too

I'm sorry - me too

Anonymous on the road...

although relapse is not a necessity to become recovered, im a strong believer in sometimes it is on the path to recoverry. sometimes you just havent hit the bottom youve needed to, even if it seems that u can. just come back. pick the book back up. dial the numbers. and get ur ass in that seat that youve earned. even if youre still out, you can always come back in. no judgement. only love.

Type of AA meeting

I have an unusual need/request. I am a nursing student, and one of our requirements is to attend a 12-step meeting. AA or NA are probably some of the most common and probably are the ones that will give me the best information for my assignment, as compared to overeaters anonymous, for example. What kind of meeting should I look for, and how can I contact the group to be sure they're okay with an outsider coming to visit and observe?

open meetings

there are open meetings and closed meetings. as long as its an open meeting, youre mor than welcomed. i would go to a few different ones, find the ones that spea solution. and i, personally, would suggest going to an AA or CA meeting (cocaine anonymous)...NA has there own book. AA and CA go bythe Big Book. the same book thats been working since 1939. ive had some students come to my home group, were always glad to have em.

meeting types

Try fa. They are more focused and structured with lots of success.

vistiting AA meeting

Hi - it is really simple. You do not state what state/community you live in.

But in general - go to your telephone book and look under Alcoholism, AA usually has a number. Or just go to the AA web site. and look up the area where you live. If there is an AA office (or NA), just call them; they are used to graduate/helping profession students attending open meetings.

You might want to read the AA web site to get a better idea of AA history and how members help each other.

Good luck in your studies and profession.

Finding an NA meeting

to Find an NA meeting, go to; click on Find a Meeting, then use one of the two options. Look for a Speaker meeting, or ask the Intergroup office if there is a Speaker Jam coming up - that's a meeting where several speakers share and these usually last for several hours, so you are more likely to hear a lot of Experience, Strength and Hope.

South Jersey

Meetings for non-AA members to attend

To find a meeting in your state, click - then click on your state. It will show you links for areas – click on your local area. You are looking for OPEN meetings – anyone may attend an OPEN meeting (CLOSED meetings are ONLY for people who think they may have a problem with alcohol).

THE BEST MEETING TO LOOK FOR is a Big Book or Step meeting; this is where you'll hear the best info about the Program.

No, it is not an unusual request. One of our local high schools sends students two-by-two throughout the school year to one of our open meetings - that's why the meetings are open - for the purpose of people finding out about AA.

South Jersey

Student Nurse needs AA meeting for assignment.

I am a retired nurse and member of AA.
Google "AA, city" but put in your city and don't use quotes... You are looking for the local meeting schedule which more districts now have online. For instance
Napa Valley has and that Web site has a meeting schedule saying which meetings are Open Meeting or Closed... if it is closed, only AA members can attend... If it doesn't say Closed, it is probably Open, as not all meetings will say open or closed, but the Closed ones will definitly say Closed. If you have to take notes, ask the secretary to ask the group if they are ok with that, since you are a visitor, but don't record names... as that has to remain anonymous and if you know someone who is at the meeting for AA, you cannot reveal that anonymity, leave it at the meeting and don't gossip about it later.

Alanon is a 12-step meeting and can be Googled the same way and ask when you get there if you can stay, if the meeting is open to visitors, or if not, could they give you a meeting schedule..

You can also ask at AA meeting if they have a schedule printed, or if you need to download one online... Googling has always helped me find meetings when I am out of town. is the national site, and might have a "meeting finder" link.

open meetings

Thnak you for your interest in our beloved fellowship, we would suggest you contact your local A.A. "Intergroup" office,you will find them in most white pages, they will give you a list of meetings that are "open" to the public where interested persons may attend as observers. Thanks again and best wishes. Mike

Joined: 2012-06-04

If you feel like drinking wait a short distance. Princess before personality. Meetings makers make it. You lose if you use. and open meatings are open to just you.

Open Meeting

That is not unusual at all. I recommend going to the AA website ( and selecting your state. You want an "Open" rather than closed meeting. There is no need to contact the group, all are welcome to open meetings. If it is a custom of the group to introduce themselves when it comes to be your turn just say "Hi my name is Jane and I'm here for information."
AA is geared toward the newcomer, so you will be welcomed. As was said a speaker meeting would be the best, followed by a big-book meeting. Personally I don't like open-discussion meetings, but that is just me. Hope you enjoy the experience.

Jason M.

Post new comment