The AA Newcomer: What to Expect

The Unexpected Nature of AA Meetings

The saying “you never know what you will hear at an AA meeting” is a well-worn recovery cliché. As a newcomer, you are likely to encounter a wide variety of meeting formats and content. This unpredictability has been part of the appeal of AA meetings for over eighty years.

However, the unknown can sometimes be intimidating. Going into a meeting without any idea of what to expect can be off-putting. This is unfortunate, as despite its numerous shortcomings, AA remains the most successful recovery program according to a recent literature review conducted by Stanford University.

Tips and Advice for Attending AA Meetings

Broadly, our best advice for newcomers is to arrive early at the meeting and pay close attention to the proceedings and discussions. Foster an attitude of curiosity and keep an open mind to what you hear. The experiences and opinions shared during these meetings are individualistic and not necessarily the “gospel” of the AA program.

The best practice is to refrain from making any decisions about the fit of the program for you until after you have attended a dozen or so meetings. This will allow you to absorb as much information and context as possible.

Comprehensive Guides for AA Newcomers

Embarking on your AA journey to sobriety can be a significant step, and to assist you, we’ve prepared several comprehensive guides. Just click on any of the four images to the right. We trust they will provide valuable support and insights to help you navigate this new chapter.

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