A.A. FAQs

Questions Answers
I really want to stop drinking.

What should I do?

Is there a specific “recipe” for sobriety?

Many A.A.’s have found success via the following “formula”:
1. Get a sponsor
2. Work the 12 Steps with your sponsor through the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous
3. Become a member of a home group
4. Get a service commitment within that home group.
5. Sponsor newcomers (i.e. practice Step 12 after you have completed the previous Steps with your sponsor).

Short version:
Trust God
Clean House
Help Others

“It never fails, if you go about it with one half the zeal you have been in the habit of showing when you were getting another drink.” Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 181

What is a home group? This is the meeting an A.A. member attends regularly, accepts service responsibilities and works to build and sustain friendships.
What is a sponsor? The role of the Big Book Sponsor is to teach the newcomer how to work the Twelve Steps and show them how teach other newcomers to do the same.
How do I find a sponsor? Find an A.A. member that has worked the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and has what you want, whatever that may be.

When you find such a person, walk up to them and ask them “Will you be my sponsor?”
This isn’t rocket science. :)

How do I find a “good” sponsor? While you may receive many different opinions in A.A. about what makes a good sponsor, many at The Firing Line would agree that these six characteristics make for an effective sponsor:
1. A good sponsor is a sober member of my own sex.
2. A good sponsor has worked the 12 Steps.
3. A good sponsor has a sponsor herself/himself.
4. A good sponsor will tell me the truth I don’t want to hear.
5. A good sponsor is active in service work.
6. A good sponsor laughs a lot, enjoys life and is not a complainer.
How long do I need to be in A.A. before I find a sponsor? About twelve nanoseconds.
What is a service commitment? In short, a service commitment is a ‘job’ in your A.A. home group. Service commitments may include: greeter, meeting set-up and take-down, cleaning coffee cups, secretary, treasurer, librarian, GSR, etc.
What is the difference between open and closed A.A. meetings? Closed meetings are for A.A. members only, or for those who have a drinking problem and have a desire to stop drinking.
Open meetings are available to anyone interested in the Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery from alcoholism.
Can I attend an A.A. meeting if I’m still drinking—even if I’m still drunk? YES. “The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.” Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. xiv

Should you attend a meeting while intoxicated, we ask that you not share, but simply listen to the experience, strength and hope shared by our members who have recovered by working the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous.

While we also ask that you not drink during the meeting, we understand. Do what you gotta do.
We’re just glad you’re here! :)

Why meetings? “We meet frequently so that newcomers may find the fellowship they seek.” Alcoholics Anonymous, pp. 15

Most members of The Firing Line would agree that the purpose of meetings is to provide the newcomer a place to find other alcoholics that are sober, and to learn how those sober members of A.A. achieved their sobriety.

Hence, “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 Alcoholics Anonymous Preamble

What is a business meeting? An A.A. business meeting is a meeting that is separate from the regular A.A. meeting. Attended by home group members only, the business meeting is where decisions are made that affect the operation and adhere to the primary purpose of the regular A.A. meeting.

All decisions are made by group conscience. There are no leaders—only Trusted Servants.

Answers to more questions may be found in A.A.’s pamphlet Frequently Asked Questions About A.A., formerly known as 44 Questions.