A.A. Meeting Format
1. Introduce yourself and welcome members to the meeting.
Hello and welcome to the _____ Meeting of the Basel English-speaking fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous. My name is _____ and I’m an alcoholic.
2. This is a literature and solution based discussion meeting believing in the primary purpose of AA to carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. Pass It On!
3. Read the Preamble
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people 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 a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are selfsupporting through our own contributions. A.A. 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.
4. Request that mobile phones should be silenced.
5. Ask for a volunteer to read Chapter 5 – How it Works, from the Big Book (pages 58-60)
How It Works
Rarely have we seen a person fail who has thoroughly followed our path. Those who do not recover are people who cannot or will not completely give themselves to this simple program, usually men and women who are constitutionally incapable of being honest with themselves. There are such unfortunates. They are not at fault; they seem to have been born that way. They are naturally incapable of grasping and developing a manner of living which demands rigorous honesty. Their chances are less than average. There are those, too, who suffer from grave emotional and mental disorders, but many of them do recover if they have the capacity to be honest.
Our stories disclose in a general way what we used to be like, what happened, and what we are like now. If you have decided you want what we have and are willing to go to any length to get it – then you are ready to take certain steps.
At some of these we balked. We thought we could find an easier, softer way. But we could not. With all the earnestness at our command, we beg of you to be fearless and thorough from the very start. Some of us have tried to hold on to our old ideas and the result was nil until we let go absolutely.
Remember that we deal with alcohol – cunning, baffling, powerful! Without help it is too much for us. But there is One who has all power – that One is God. May you find Him now!
Half measures availed us nothing. We stood at the turning point. We asked His protection and care with complete abandon. Here are the steps we took, which are suggested as a program of recovery:
The Twelve Steps
1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol, that our lives had become unmanageable.
2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects character.
7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
11. 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.
12. 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.
Many of us exclaimed, “What an order! I can’t go through with it.” Do not be discouraged. No one among us has been able to maintain anything like perfect adherence to these principles. We are not saints. The point is, that we are willing to grow along spiritual lines.
The principles we have set down are guides to progress.
We claim spiritual progress rather than spiritual perfection. Our description of the alcoholic, the chapter to the agnostic and our personal adventures before and after make clear three pertinent ideas:
(a) That we were alcoholic and could not manage our own lives.
(b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.
(c) That God could and would if He were sought.
6. Ask if there are:
a. Visitors or guests who would like to introduce themselves?
b. Anyone attending A.A. for the first time?
c. Any A.A. Birthdays or Anniversaries?
d. If there is a newcomer, go round the table asking each person to introduce themselves.
7. Ask whether there is a burning issue which needs to be discussed.
If not, we read from ‘Daily Reflections’ for the day. Ask for a volunteer to read ‘Daily Reflections’. ( Last Friday of the month we now ask the speaker to share their experience, strength and hope. )
8. Before opening the meeting for sharing request:
a. That there should be no crosstalk ( judgemental comments on other shares ) or chatter during the meeting.
b. That sharing should be on the Daily Reflection in question or the common issue of alcoholism.
c. Ask attendees to please be mindful of time allowing, allowing others adequate time to share. The chairperson will limit the time for sharing if necessary and will promptly intervene if a share goes
( Note: this can be done as follows: First remind and tell the person to get back on topic. If that does not work, then simply say ‘Thank you for sharing ( person’s name ). Would somebody else like to share’? )
In this meeting, we speak about our own experience, strength and hope. We accept without comment what others say because it is true for them, and we work towards taking responsibility in our own lives, rather than giving advice to others. In keeping with our primary purpose to help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety, please share on alcoholism and recovery. The Meeting is now open for sharing
9. Five minutes before the meeting closes, ask if there are any AA announcements.
10. Pass the collection box while reading, ‘In Accordance with our 7th tradition, there are no dues or fees for A.A. membership, but we have expenses such as rent for the room and supplies: Newcomers and visitors need not contribute.’
11. Ask someone to read one of the following:
a. ‘A Vision for You’,
b. ‘The Ninth Step Promises’,
c. ‘Acceptance is the Answer’
d. ‘Keys to the Kingdom’
12. Close the meeting with ‘Remember, who you see here, what you hear here, when you leave here let it stay here’.
13. End with a moment of silence for the alcoholics suffering both inside and outside these rooms, followed by the serenity prayer.
14. Keep coming back.