Frequently Asked Questions about AA Meetings

One of the first recommendations many people entering recovery receive is to “go to a meeting”. What does this mean? A meeting refers to a self help group that meets periodically to support its members. One of the most well known and oldest self help groups is Alcoholics Anonymous. We have compiled a list of some of the most frequently asked questions about Alcoholics Anonymous.


It is important to note that Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center is not associated in anyway with Alcoholics Anonymous nor any other support group for that matter. Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center supports all pathways to recovery. This article is for informational and educational purposes only. Alcoholics Anonymous’ official site is a great resource as well.

What is an AA Meeting

An AA meeting is a formal gathering where members of Alcoholics Anonymous gather to support each other. There are various meeting formats which we will discuss later.

How Long are AA Meetings

While there is no official standard meeting length, the most common meeting length is 1 hour.

What’s a Big Book AA Meeting

A big book meeting is a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous in which the members of the group typically read a passage from the big book and then discuss it amongst themselves. The big book is the book upon which the program of Alcoholics Anonymous is based.

What is a Closed AA Meeting

A closed meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous is a meeting that is only for members of Alcoholics Anonymous. Membership is self determined and only requires a desire to stop drinking.

What is an Open AA Meeting

An open meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous is a meeting that is open to anyone who may be interested.


Are AA Meetings Free

Yes AA meetings are free and you can attend as many as you would like without paying anyone anything. That being said AA is a self supporting fellowship, meaning that their members voluntarily contribute money to cover the costs. It is customary for a meeting to pass around a basket where members can contribute a dollar or two if they can afford it.

How to Find an AA Meeting

You can find an AA meeting a variety of ways but the most common way is online. Their website provides a list of AA meetings near you. There are many websites that provide this information as well, but Alcoholics Anonymous will always have the most up-to-date information (such as new meetings or meetings that are closed).

How to Attend an Online AA Meeting

Similar to finding an in person meeting, the most common way to locate virtual meetings is online. AA’s website provides a worldwide list of virtual Alcoholics Anonymous meetings which anyone can attend.

How Many AA Meetings are There in the World

As of February 2021, there are reportedly over 115,000 AA groups worldwide.

Can you attend an AA meeting drunk

While attending an AA meeting drunk is not ideal, if you are wanting to quit drinking- you are welcome at an AA meeting in any condition. As stated in their traditions, the only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.

Do Probation Officers Check AA Meetings

No they do not typically physically check AA meetings but they may require you to verify your attendance by getting a sheet signed in certain cases.

How Often Should You Attend AA Meetings

AA recommends you attend a meeting everyday for the first 90 days. This is usually referred to as a “90 and 90”. If that is not feasible, you should attend as much as you are able early on. People with many years of sobriety typically make 3 to 5 meetings every week.

Do You Have to Talk in AA Meetings

Sharing is encouraged but not required. Many people go just to listen and others find a benefit with sharing, even if you don’t want to.

What Types of AA Meetings are There

There are many types of alcoholic anonymous meetings. Below are the most popular ones you’ll find.

●      Big Book Meetings

  • The book used in Alcoholic Anonymous (also referred to as the Big Book) is the foundation of these meetings. If you don’t Own a Big Book, most AA groups will give you one free of charge. The Big Book provides instructions that helped many people achieve long term sobriety. The purpose of these meetings is to study and learn what has worked for people in the past.

●      Discussion Meeting

  • A topic is usually chosen for the group to share their experience on. The topic is usually chosen by the chairperson, the group, or based on a reading.

●      Speaker Meeting

  • AA members are asked to share their experience, strength, and hope with with The speaker may share for the entire meeting, or may only speak for half to allow the group to share as well.

●      Step Meeting

  • Commonly based on another book called “Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions” known as “The 12 and 12” by people in AA. It serves as a additional to the instructions found in the Big Book. Depending on group conscience, a new step is read and discussed each week. Alternately, participants read and discuss individual paragraphs with each week building on the prior weeks work.

●      Tradition Meeting

  • The second half of the “12 and 12” focuses on the 12 traditions of AA and is discussed in these meetings.

●      Round Robin Meeting

  • These meetings aim to give everyone in the meeting a chance to share. The people who don’t want to share just say pass when it;s their turn.

Are There AA Meetings on Holidays

Yes! While there may be less options, there are meetings 365 days a year.


Can Anyone go to an AA Meeting

Anyone can attend an open AA meeting, however a closed meeting is limited to self proclaimed  members of AA who have identified as alcoholics and have a desire to stop drinking.


We hope you have found this FAQ informative and helpful. As always if you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol use or substance, we are here to help. For a free, no obligation consultation with a treatment specialist please call us at 855-698-3554 or directly at 201-663-2914. If you prefer to communicate with us via email please submit an inquiry here and we will respond as quickly as possible.