AA Meeting Structure
AA MEETING STRUCTURE
1. Meeting needs to be in a quiet uninterupted room at fixed times.
2. Welcome - Chairperson starts the meeting on time by giving a welcome like "I am Bob, an alcoholic. I would like to welcome you to the Monday evening Narcology Centre meeting. We would like to give a special welcome to new attendees and have you introduce yourselves".
3. "Preamble" read by chairperson
4. Chairperson asks that a member or members read the "How It Works" from the "Alcoholics Anonymous" book.
5. The "12 Traditions" are read by a member or members.
6. The AA / SUPPORT GROUP GUIDELINES may be reviewed if new people are present. (The group may refer to a posted chart)
1) KEEP CONFIDENTIALITY - "What you hear here stays here"
2) MAKE "I STATEMENTS" - Avoid using "you" or "we"
3) STAY IN THE "HERE AND NOW" - Share what you are dealing with today or this week.
4) SHARE FEELINGS about your experience, strength, and hope.
5) NO FIXING - NO ADVICE GIVING
6) NO CROSSTALK - No asking of questions or discussion
7. The chairperson may suggest a topic or step to share on at the meeting. Each time someone shares they will begin by first saying " I am Bob, I am an alcoholic". The group will then respond by saying "Hi Bob". After someone finishes sharing the group will respond with "Thanks, Bob". This builds respect.
8. When the time for the meeting to close the chairperson will ask the attendees for someone to chair the next meeting. Then he will ask all to stand and hold hands and say or read the "Serenity Prayer" from the wall:
"God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference"
At the end of the prayer they may say "keep coming back it works if you work it".
9. The meeting is now over. The attendees may stay and have informal discussion or ask questions of one another before leaving.
(Coffee or tea may be available before or after the meeting.)
AA MEETING SCRIPT
1. "Welcome to Alcoholics Anonymous, a worldwide fellowship of men and women who help each other to stay sober. This is a closed meeting,you are welcome to stay if you have a desire to quit drinking. If you have had a drink in the last 24 hours, we ask that you only listen during the meeting."
2. "I will now read the Preamble."
1. "Is there anyone who is here for their first AA meeting? Please introduce yourself by your first name only. We want to welcome you now."
2. "Are there any visitors from another fellowship, city, or country? Welcome!"
3. "We will now introduce ourselves by our first name only, for example,
'I am Bill, an alcoholic.' Group then responds with 'Hi Bill' "
"We will now begin by passing the 'How It Works' from chapter 5 of the Alcoholics Anonymous book. Please read a paragraph or step then pass it to the next person to read until the reading is finished."
"Please remember to keep confidentiality: 'Who you see and what you hear here stays here.' We ask that you limit your sharing to 3-5 minutes, in order that all may have the opportunity to share. There is to be no crosstalk or interruptions. In general, we share our experience, strength, and hope - as we briefly say 'what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now'. Share feelings, using 'I statements' (rather than 'you statements')." "The meeting is now open for discussion on a topic (or readings)."
1. "In keeping with the 7th tradition which states that 'we are fully self supporting' -'We will now pass the box', The money will go for AA expenses like the tea, snacks, literature, chips, etc"
2. "Who would like to read "The Promises"?"
3. "We want to thank ____ for preparing the tea, ______for setting up the room, ______ for displaying the literature."
4. "Are there any AA related announcements?" May announce time and place of other AA meetings.
5. "We thank each one for sharing tonight, if you were not able to share, please share with someone after the meeting."
6. " There is a phone list if you need to talk with someone between meetings."
7. "Is there anyone with at least 6 months of sobriety who is willing to be a sponsor? Please identify yourself now."
8. "We will now close with standing and holding hands and say the 'Serenity Prayer'."
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 A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics,organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
HOW IT WORKS
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those too who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go any length to get it - then you are ready to take certain steps. At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold onto our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely. Remember that we deal with alcohol -- cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power--that One is God. May you find Him now! Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon. Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol--that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people whereever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
12. 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.
Many of us exclaimed, "What an order! I can't go through with it." Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines. The principles we have set down are guides to progress. We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection.
Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic, and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas: (a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives. (b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism. (c) That God could and would if He were sought.
from: ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS(The Big Book) The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered From Alcoholism - Third Edition - New York, 1976. Chapter 5. Page 58 -60.
THE TWELVE TRADITIONS
Our AA experience has taught us that:
1. Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends upon AA 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 AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
4. Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole.
5. Each group has but one primary purpose - to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
6. An AA group ought never endorse, finance, or lend the AA name to any related facility or outside enterprise, less problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.
7. Every AA group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
8. Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
9. AA 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 AA 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.
1. We are going to know a new freedom and a new happiness.
2. We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it.
3. We will comprehend the word serenity and we will know peace.
4. No matter how far down the scale we have gone, we will see how our experience can benefit others.
5. That feeling of uselessness and self-pity will disappear.
6. We will lose interest in selfish things and gain interest in our fellows
7. Self-seeking will slip away.
8. Our whole attitude and outlook upon life will change
9. Fear of people and of economic insecurity will leave us.
10. We will intuitively know how to handle situations which used to baffle us.
11. We will suddenly realize that God is doing for us what we could not do for ourselves.
Are these extravagant promises? We think not. They are being fulfilled among us - sometimes quickly, sometimes slowly. They will materialize if we work for them.
From Alcoholics Anonymous(The Big Book) - The Story of How Many Thousands of Men and Women Have Recovered from Alcoholism Third Edition / New York City, 1976. Page 83-84.
WHAT IS SPONSORSHIP?
A A began with sponsorship. When Bill W. was only a few months sober, he was stricken with a powerful urge to drink. This thought came to him: "You need another alcoholic just as much as he needs you." Bill W. found Dr Bob, who had been trying desperately and unsuccessfully to stop drinking, and out of their common need, A.A. was born. Dr Bob in turn safeguarded his own sobriety by sponsoring countless other alcoholics. In AA the sponsor and sponsored meet as equals, just as Bill & Bob did. The process of sponsoring is this: An alcoholic who has made some progress in the recovery program shares his experience on a continuous, individual basis with another alcoholic who is attempting to attain or maintain sobriety through AA. We need constant & close support as we begin to "live sober" lives.
HOW IS A SPONSOR CHOSEN?
We select an AA member with whom we feel comfortable about sharing our struggles and ask him to be our sponsor. This is generally someone further along in recovery and willing to help others. A good sponsor probably should be at least 6 months away from his last drink - & should be enjoying their sobriety. Our sobriety is greatly strengthened when we give it away. Men should choose men as sponsors & women should choose women.
WHAT DOES A SPONSOR DO? The main activity of a sponsor is to help the newcomer to stay sober. They do this by sharing their own personal experience. They are not doctors or professionals. The sponsor will often suggest that the newcomer begin to work on the 12 steps of AA beginning with seeing that they are "powerless over alcohol" and that their lives are unmanageable. They can not stop drinking by their "own willpower". The sponsor encourages and helps the newcomer to attend many AA meetings and introduces them to other recovering alcoholics. They do not impose their personal views on the alcoholic. They may help the alcoholic understand triggers for their slips.
WHO CAN BE A SPONSOR?
An alcoholic that has remained sober for at least 6 months and has a desire to spend time and help a newcomer get started in AA and recovery. Generally it is someone who has worked through at least the first 5 steps of AA. They are volunteers who are not paid.
HOW DOES A SPONSOR HELP THE ALCOHOLIC?
They get together at least once a week, often before or after an AA meeting for tea and whenever there is a special need. The sponsor shares parts of their own story that will help the newcomer. The sponsor does not demand or control the newcomer. The single purpose is to help alcoholics with their drinking. It is not to develop social friendships and to do social things together. The sponsor does not lend money nor need to help the alcoholic to get a job. The sponsor does not impose their beliefs on the alcoholic.
AA SLOGANS & PRAYERS
ONE DAY AT A TIME
"GOD GRANT ME THE SERENITY
THE LORD'S PRAYER:
"OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN,