Newcommer Information

Since we all had to attend "our first meeting", we know from experience the anxiety that can come from going to AA for the first time. Below is a list of common questions and answers that might ease some of that anxiety for you.

How much does an AA meeting cost?

There are no dues or fees for AA membership. Most meetings will have someone pass a basket to collect voluntary contributions to help offset the costs of items such as rent, coffee and literature. Those in attendance are free to contribute as much or as little as they want.

How do I sign up for AA?

You don't. AA does not keep membership or attendance records. Our only membership requirement is a desire to stop drinking.

How long do meetings last?

With a few exceptions, the vast majority of meetings in our area last for one hour.

What if I see someone I know?

They will be there for the same reason you are. They will not disclose your identity to outsiders because we retain as much anonymity as you wish. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program.

What are "open" and "closed" meetings?

A closed meeting, designated in our directory with a "C" are only for those who have a desire to stop drinking. An open meeting, designated in our directory with an "O" are available to anyone interested in Alcoholics Anonymous' program of recovery from alcoholism. Even if you do not consider yourself an alcoholic, you may attend an open meeting as an observer.

How do I find a meeting?

There are more than 400 meetings each week in the Akron area. It is usually not hard to find a meeting you can attend in your area and at a convenient time. Most groups give away free printed meeting directories. However, the most up-to-date listing of meetings can be found on-line click here

Can I get my court paper signed?

Every AA group is autonomous, so each group is free to decide for itself whether or not to sign attendance papers. Most groups in our area do sign court papers for those who respectfully attend their meeting. Those who have a policy against signing papers are designated in our directory with "NCP."

Can my family go with me to a meeting?

Anyone interested in AA, whether or not they consider themselves an alcoholic, is welcome at an open meeting, designated in our directory with an "O." Your family and friends can attend these meetings with you as observers.

Can I get a ride to a meeting?

Our Intergroup Office does not provide rides to meetings. However, with more than 400 meetings in the area each week, we can often find a meeting you can get to by walking or taking the bus. Once at a meeting do not be afraid to ask someone for a ride to other meetings. Many AA members will give rides if asked politely.

Will I have to talk?

Participation at an AA meeting is always voluntary. With many of us, as we gain more sobriety, we find that sharing our experience, strength and hope with others in attendance helps us stay sober and become more involved in the AA program.

How many meetings do I have to attend?

There is no set number of meetings AA members have to attend. It is a matter of personal preference and need. Some members attend at least one meeting a week, while others may go to one each night.

What is a home group?

Although AA members are welcome at any group, many find one particular group in which they form a special bond. It is at that group they feel the most responsibility to attend regularly and accept service responsibilities. Home group members have the right to vote on matters that affect the group.

What is a sponsor?

You do not need a sponsor to attend AA meetings. Instead a sponsor is someone who has agreed to share their experience of AA and the Twelve Steps with you on a continuous and individual basis.

Tradition One

Our common welfare should come first, personal recovery depends upon A.A. unity.

Tradition Two

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.

Tradition Three

The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.

Tradition Four

Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

Tradition Five

Each group has but one primary purpose—to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Tradition Six

An A.A. group ought never endorse, finance or lend the A.A. name to any related facility or outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary purpose.

Tradition Seven

Every A.A. group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

Tradition Eight

Alcoholics Anonymous should remain forever nonprofessional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

Tradition Nine

A.A., as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

Tradition Ten

Alcoholics Anonymous has no opinion on outside issues; hence, the A.A. name ought never be drawn into public controversy.

Tradition Eleven

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.

Tradition Twelve

Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles before Personalities.

Concept One

Final responsibility and ultimate authority for A.A. world services should always reside in the collective conscience of our whole Fellowship.

Concept Two

The General Service Conference of A.A. has become, for nearly every practical purpose, the active voice and the effective conscience of our whole society in its world affairs.

Concept Three

To insure effective leadership, we should endow each element of A.A.—the Conference, the General Service Board and its service corporations, staffs, committees, and executives—with a traditional "Right of Decision."

Concept Four

At all responsible levels, we ought to maintain a traditional "Right of Participation," allowing a voting representation in reasonable proportion to the responsibility that each must discharge.

Concept Five

Throughout our structure, a traditional "Right of Appeal" ought to prevail, so that minority opinion will be heard and personal grievances receive careful consideration.

Concept Six

The Conference recognizes that the chief initiative and active responsibility in most world service matters should be exercised by the trustee members of the Conference acting as the General Service Board.

Concept Seven

The Charter and Bylaws of the General Service Board are legal instruments, empowering the trustees to manage and conduct world service affairs. The Conference Charter is not a legal document; it relies upon tradition and the A.A. purse for final effectiveness.

Concept Eight

The trustees are the principal planners and administrators of over-all policy and finance. They have custodial oversight of the separately incorporated and constantly active services, exercising this through their ability to elect all the directors of these entities.

Concept Nine

Good service leadership at all levels is indispensable for our future functioning and safety. Primary world service leadership, once exercised by the founders, must necessarily be assumed by the trustees.

Concept Ten

Every service responsibility should be matched by an equal service authority, with the scope of such authority well defined.

Concept Eleven

The trustees should always have the best possible committees, corporate service directors, executives, staffs, and consultants. Composition, qualifications, induction procedures, and rights and duties will always be matters of serious concern.

Concept Twelve

The Conference shall observe the spirit of A.A. tradition, taking care that it never becomes the seat of perilous wealth or power; that sufficient operating funds and reserve be its prudent financial principle; that everyone has access to guaranteed loans, that it place none of its members in a position of unqualified authority over others; that it reach all important decisions by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, substantial unanimity; that its actions never be personally punitive nor an incitement to public controversy; that it never perform acts of government; that, like the Society it serves, it will always remain democratic in thought and action.

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 the desire to stop drinking.
  • There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self supporting through our own contributions. 
  • AA 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. 

 Copyright © by The A.A. Grapevine, Inc.

Step One

We admitted we were powerless over alcohol - that our lives had become unmanageable.

Step Two

Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Step Three

Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Step Four

Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Step Five

Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

Step Six

Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

Step Seven

Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Step Eight

Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

Step Nine

Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Step Ten

Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

Step Eleven

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.

Step Twelve

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.

Nobody in A.A. is able to answer this question definitively.

The only person who is truly able to determine this is you.

What we can say, concerning this very personal decision, is that we were all faced with one, if not both, of the following two conditions:

  • “If, when you honestly want to, you find you cannot quit entirely, or 
  • if when drinking, you have little control over the amount you take, you are probably alcoholic.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, Chapter 4, Page 44

“Most of us have been unwilling to admit we were real alcoholics. No person likes to think he is bodily and mentally different from his fellows. Therefore, it is not surprising that our drinking careers have been characterized by countless vain attempts to prove we could drink like other people. The idea that somehow, someday he will control and enjoy his drinking is the great obsession of every abnormal drinker. The persistence of this illusion is astonishing. Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death.

We learned that we had to fully concede to our innermost selves that we were alcoholics. This is the first step in recovery. The delusion that we are like other people, or presently may be, has to be smashed.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, Chapter 3, Page 30

If you have said to yourself: “Yes, I'm one of those people who are powerless over alcohol. My life has become unmanageable. I can't stop drinking and I want help”, you have made a good start on Step One and discovered, as it says in the Big Book, “We are unable, at certain times, to bring into our consciousness with sufficient force the memory of the suffering and humiliation of even a week or a month ago. We are without defense against the first drink.”

Alcoholics Anonymous, Chapter 2, Page 24

First, know this: You never have to be alone again.

Recovery for each of us began only when we were able to reach out and ask others for help. In almost every case, this was most difficult at first but, over time, has become an essential component of our continuing recovery.

There are countless others in the area who are willing to help. All one has to do is ask.

Go to meetings: Every day of the year, early morning, afternoon, evenings and even late at night, there is help in the form of meetings for you and for every alcoholic who wants help.

Use this website's meeting database (or the print version obtainable on meeting literature tables) to find meetings in the area.

Go to as many meetings as you can.

Call us at 330-253-8181 if you'd like to talk to someone.

A.A. does not promise to solve your life's problems. But we can show you how we are learning to live without drinking "one day at a time."