You’re not alone and you’re not the first.
Many of us were sent to our first A.A. meeting by judges as a result of being arrested for drunk driving, family disputes or some other problem involving alcohol. Some of us were sent here by our employers. If you’re come to AA for any of these reasons, you problem have some questions. We hope this article answers some of them.
Here’s what AA has to say about AA.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope. Millions of people have found recovery through AA, including many who were sent by the courts or their employers. There are meetings in virtually every country in the world from Australia to Zambia.
While some who are sent to AA attend the required meetings and never come back, others keep coming back because they find that AA helps them live without alcohol.
AA is not part of the court system. We do not work for the courts or the police department. We do not ask the courts to send people to us. And when people do show up with court cards, we are not responsible for making sure they are sober.
If a judge, court, school or employer has sent you to an AA meeting, it is because they believe there is evidence that you may have a drinking problem. We had nothing to do with their decision, but AA does provide information ab out recovery from alcoholism to interested parties. If you attend AA meetings… here are a few good points to remember:
- You are a welcomed guest.
- After the meeting is over, ask the chairperson to sign your card or form. While most meetings will sign court cards, some will not. It’s up to each individual meeting to decide. Since AA is not allied with the court system, AA is not responsible for documenting your attendance, nor does AA provide the card or form you might need.
- If a meeting chairperson or group member offers to sign your court card, they will problem just sign their first name or initials. We are personally anonymous. We are not court employees.
- Many meetings are “open” where anyone is welcome to attend. Some meetings are “closed” which means it is for those who have a desire to stop drinking or alcoholics only. Ask for a Where & When, the directory listing where and when all the meetings are – it’s free.
- If you have any questions, please ask them before the meeting starts, during a break or when the meeting is over. You can always find someone willing to talk about AA and answer your questions.
- The men and women who voluntarily attend AA meetings are most likely alcoholics. They come from all walks of life. They learn to treat each other with respect.
- In AA we honor all members’ anonymity. While you are free to take, talk about or use any ideas that you hear at a meeting, please do not ever identify anyone you heard or saw here.
- 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 voluntary contributions. We pass the basket at every meeting to pay our rent and expenses.
- Nobody in AA can tell you that you are an alcoholic. Some people may point out indications that you have symptoms of a drinking problem – loss of control, drunk driving, arrests, lost jobs, broken marriages or relationships. Blackouts, the shakes and so forth. But only you can decide if you are actually an alcoholic. If you determine that you are an alcoholic, we invite you to keep coming back.
We are here to help anyone, regardless of how they got here, to achieve sobriety. It is a part of what we call our “Twelfth Step” work in AA. If you have decided you want what we have, just keep coming back.
By District 29, North Florida Area 14 and distributed by Akron Intergroup