A Good AA Meeting

Topics related to AA Meetings - and alcohol addiction recovery
Posts: 310
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:34 am

A Good AA Meeting

Postby Tim » Tue Aug 18, 2009 12:53 am

I'd like to throw this out as a topic for comment and discussion: What characterizes a good AA meeting?

I'll start with a few things I think are important:

(1) Meetings focus on the AA program of recovery and how you have applied the principles of the 12 steps.

(2) Focus on your own recovery, not someone else's.

(3) Talk about how you practiced the 12 Steps in your life--what your actions were and the results of those actions as opposed to a theoretical discussion of the 12 steps or recovery.

(4) Stick to the topic and share using the guidelines of 'what it was like, what happened, and what it's like now.'

(5) Don't discuss outside (non-AA) literature at length at a meeting. Leave that for private, individual discussions outside the meeting.

(6) Listen to others and pay attention to what they have to say, even if you disagree. Don't do things that distract from the meeting: doing word puzzles, knitting, filing your nails (finger or toe) or performing other personal hygiene, wearing clothing promoting alcohol or drugs, engaging in side talk, etc.

That's not a comprehensive list, but it's a good start. Let's hear what you have to say.

In the interest of full disclosure, I've violated most of my own suggestions for a good AA meeting on numerous occasions. Go figure!

Posts: 150
Joined: Tue Jun 09, 2009 4:46 pm

Postby angel143 » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:13 am

I like this....if you would have asked me a week ago, I wouldnt have been able to answer.

I did get the opportunity to go to a round-up a week and a half ago, and I thought it was an amazing experience. I didnt want anything but speaker meetings after that. There arent a whole lot of those.

While at the round-up I met some really great people, one lady, I asked to be my sponsor. She agreed. Last night I went to her home group and sat through that meeting.

Now, the meetings out by me...I would have been happy with not going back to. But the meeting at her group. WOW!!!!!

It was organized. Got a ticket when you walked in...if it was called, you had the opportunity to share. The handing out of chips was organized. People got there early to help organize and set up, and stayed late to help clean up. People were nice. Very polite, and caring. SOOO many people came up to me after and introduced themselves...I was totally caught off about that.

I cant exactly explain what made it so good. But it seemed like the people in this meeting, really "do" the program, not just exist in the program. Almost every person in the meeting...I saw at the round-up. It was so nice.

The meeting topic was gratitude. The man who got his 35 yr chip got to pick the topic. (he passed his chip around...NICE...cant wait for mine, only 34 yrs 9 mos and 14 days...no problem, I can wait!)

Gratitude...that was a great topic. I was expecting some crappy sharing, just what I was use to. NOPE, it was all so good. Kept it to AA and how the steps and AA has helped them and they have gratitude related to that.

I could go on and on...but I will spare you. :lol:

It was just a great meeting, and I will be going back to that one!


Site Admin
Posts: 4830
Joined: Thu Jul 28, 2005 9:05 pm

Postby Dallas » Tue Aug 18, 2009 8:23 am

I think you have an excellent list.

My only comment would be #6. And, I get this goofed up from time to time, probably because I hear it so often...

page 58 BB wrote:
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to
be like
, -- what happened, -- and what we are like now. (little dashy marks mine... for emphasis)

a. "what we used to be like" (not what it was like)
b. "what happened" (describes me taking the 12 Steps)
b. "what we are like now"... (not what it is like now).

When referring to what it was like... instead of what we were like: This is probably one of the big stumbling blocks for new people... they are listening to someone describe "it."

It goes off into drunk-a-logs, jails, divorces, fights, car wrecks, arrests... and whatever.... and a new person may say "well... that excludes me..." so we follow it up with a "yet" as it "hasn't happened yet"... and they don't think it will happen so they go on experimenting many years longer than is necessary.

"What it is like now... they may not identify with it either... "Found God, got the kid back, wife back, job back, car back, out on bail, on parole, yada yada yada yada.... Again, harder to identify with.

When we talk about "what we used to be like"... we're talking about "our self"... our thinking, our feelings... and nearly every alcoholic will identify with the thinking and feelings.

When we talk about "what we are like now"... those in recovery can identify... with our thinking and feelings... and the things that are about our self, that we can describe. More secure. Self-confident. Discipline. Structure. Happy, joyous and free. Serene. Etceteras.

That's my take on it. When I talk to a group of newcomers ... if I got into my drunk-a-log, many might say "well... I didn't drink like that!" so I don't need this... because I'm not as bad off as he was. We are not going to scare them into sobriety with "keep drinking and you'll end up like me!" :lol:

However, if I talk about how uncomfortable I felt, inadequate, something missing, different, unique, scared, fear, terror, guilt, remorse, less than, separate, angry, let down, pain, loneliness, trying so hard to do right but it ends up wrong ... alone even in a crowded room, etceteras, my experience has been that they will more than likely identify.... and won't get hung up on the "its".

When I talk about "what happened"... explaining "how I took the 12 Steps"... it focuses on our plan of recovery... the 12 Steps, help from someone or many in the Fellowship... and my experiences with them.

For me, this helps me to stick with sharing my self and my experience of my self.

What say you?


Posts: 310
Joined: Fri Aug 05, 2005 2:34 am

Postby Tim » Tue Aug 18, 2009 11:10 am

Thanks for making this important and helpful distinction, Dallas.

Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:09 am

Postby ROBERT » Tue Aug 18, 2009 1:57 pm

:lol: .............MY ATTITUDE......... :lol:

garden variety
Posts: 750
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2006 7:39 pm

Postby garden variety » Thu Aug 20, 2009 3:23 pm

Dallas wrote:a. "what we used to be like" (not what it was like)
b. "what happened" (describes me taking the 12 Steps)
c. "what we are like now"... (not what it is like now)

You said it brother! That's probably the first thing I talk about in a speaker lead. I want to share with you a priveledge that came my way last night. My buddy Mike and have been going to the "King School" meeting. This meeting is in Akron off Copley Road, and it's Dr. Bob's home group. It's where our fellowship all began. What a treat it was to be at the their anniversary meeting, where a relative of Clarence Snyder was chairman.

Last night, one of the home group members walked up to me, shook my hand, then he said to me:

"I like your comments. I'm chairing next month, and I'd like to ask you if you could lead for me. Can you?"

My God! What a priviledge. I was asked to share my story at a speaker's meeting where our fellowship first began. Words can't really express my feelings. I'll be speaking to the same group of alcoholics that Dr. Bob, our co-founder, started back in the 1935. It was first called the "Alcoholic Squad" of the Oxford Movement - at least that's what I've been told by the long-timers there. Here is the official link: http://www.akronaa.org/Archives/map/king_school.html

I'm thinking of Debbie V and Dallas, and the group she started just recently out there in Colorado. Debbie - don't take this lightly! What you're doing is the very same thing that Dr. Bob did up here in Akron. I'm proud of you. This is exactly what "charactarizes a good AA meeting" Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson became the first "we" of AA - the first one in history. Debbie V and the alcoholics she gathered together in her town became the first "we" of AA in her home town in their history. Thank you Debbie!

If there is anything I can say about the "we" of our fellowship and program it's this. My life, the life I love and live one-day-at-a time, came to me through the constructive actions started by Dr. Bob and Bill Wilson. If there is anything I speak about or post here that is good and meaningful, it is because I stand on the shoulders of GIANTS.

If any of you are in Akron on Wednesday, September 9, please join us when I'll have the priviledge to walk in the shadows of the men and women who started this miracle known as Alcoholics Anonymous.

King School Group #1
First Grace United Church of Christ
350 S. Portage Path (Copley Road Exit Interstate 77- off of Copley Road)
Akron, Ohio 44302

Wednesday Evening (September 9) @ 8:00 P.M.

Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 3:28 pm

First Time speaking / Sharing

Postby Mitchell25418 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:10 am

Morning All - I'm John and I'm an alcoholic. I been in the program about 4 months. Taking all the sugestions and working my step - at step 3 now. My sponsor "sugeested" I speak at a beginners meeting. Any suggestions for a good first time?

Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:09 am

Postby ROBERT » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:31 am

Mitchell25418, welcome to the best site on this planet...yea for a good first time....Have one! :D

Posts: 272
Joined: Sun Feb 08, 2009 1:09 am

Postby ROBERT » Wed Nov 11, 2009 8:42 am

Recently a fellow AA was complaining that most of the meetings she was attending did not have any quality sobriety and was a bit baffled by this and asked some questions....mostly complaining type....that these meetings did not add to HER quality of sobriety...imagine that! So it was suggested to her to BRING some quality TO these seemingly boring meetings. Giving rather than taking will add quality to our lives. :shock:

Posts: 141
Joined: Sun Jul 05, 2009 1:51 pm

Postby gunner48 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 10:33 am

Hi John
If you speak of what your life has been the past 4 months you will do fine. Let your heart do the talking and your mouth will follow. Remember everyone already knows how to drink, someone needs to hear how you have made it the past 4 months.

Peace and Love Gunner

Return to “A. A. Meeting Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests