New to AA?

Am I an alcoholic?

If you repeatedly drink more than you intend or want to, or if you get into trouble or have memory lapses when you drink, you may be an alcoholic. Only you can decide. It is often suggested, to attend six meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous and listen for the similarities in the stories of others.

What is Alcoholics Anonymous?

We are a Fellowship of men and women who have lost the ability to control our drinking and have found ourselves in various kinds of trouble as a result of drinking. We attempt, most of us successfully, to create a satisfying way of life without alcohol. For this we find we need the help and support of other alcoholics in AA.

What happens if I meet people I know?

They will be there for the same reason you are there. Our Traditions tell us to not disclose our identities to outsiders. You retain as much anonymity as you wish. That is one of the reasons we call ourselves Alcoholics Anonymous.

How can this help me with my drinking problem?

We in AA know what it is like to be addicted to alcohol, and to be unable to keep promises made to others and ourselves that we will stop drinking. We are not professional therapists. Our only qualification for helping others to recover from alcoholism is that we have stopped drinking ourselves. And seeing we’ve done it is surety that it is possible.

How do I join AA?

You are an AA member if and when you say you are. The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking (and many of us were not very wholehearted about that when we first approached AA).

Is AA a religious organization?

No. Nor is it allied with any religious organization.

Can I bring my family to an AA meeting?

Family members or close friends are welcome at Open AA meetings. Discuss this with your local contact.

How can I contact AA?

If you are in the Capital Region of New York, and the Glens Falls region call the Capital District Central Office at (518) 463-0906 and a volunteer will answer your questions and help you find a meeting. If you aren’t, look for Alcoholics Anonymous in your local telephone directory. These telephones are answered by AA volunteers who will be happy to answer your questions, or put you in touch with those who can. If there is no AA telephone service close to you, write or phone the A.A General Service Office. AA Literature published by AA is a resource for the recovering alcoholic and for anyone who wants to find out about Alcoholics Anonymous, its history and how it works.

What can I do if I am worried about my drinking?

Seek help. Alcoholics Anonymous can help. AA is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism.

If I go to an AA meeting, does that commit me to anything?

No. AA does not keep membership files, or attendance records. You do not have to reveal anything about yourself. You are always welcome, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. We are here when you are ready for help.

What happens at an AA meeting?

An AA meeting may take one of several forms, but at any meeting you will find alcoholics talking about what drinking did to their lives and personalities, what actions they took to help themselves, and how they are living their lives today.

Why do AAs keep on going to meetings after they are cured?

We in AA believe there is no such thing as a cure for alcoholism. We can never return to normal drinking, and our ability to stay away from alcohol depends on maintaining our physical, mental, and spiritual health. This we can achieve by going to meetings regularly and putting into practice what we learn there. In addition, we find it helps us to stay sober if we help other alcoholics, this is our Step 12.

How much does AA membership cost?

There are no dues or fees for AA membership. An AA group will usually have a collection during the meeting to cover expenses, such as rent, coffee, etc., and to this all members are free to contribute as much or as little as they wish, or nothing at all.

There’s a lot of talk about God, though, isn’t there?

The majority of AA members believe that we have found the solution to our drinking problem not through individual willpower, but through a power greater than ourselves. However, everyone defines this power as he or she wishes. Many people call it God, others think it is the AA group, still others don’t believe in it at all. There is room in AA for people of all shades of belief and non-belief.

What advice do you give new members?

In our experience, the people who recover in AA are those who:

  • Stay away from the first drink
  • Attend AA meetings regularly
  • Seek out the people in AA who have successfully stayed sober for some time
  • Try to put into practice the AA program of recovery
  • Obtain and read the Big Book, Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Call us at (518) 463-0906
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