All about A.A. and N.A.

About A.A. and N.A.

By David Joel Miller.

AA big book

Alcoholics Anonymous big book.

Questions about 12 step meetings?

There have been a lot of counselorssoapbox.com posts about 12 step meetings, A.A. in particular.

As a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor and a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, I work with a lot of people who have substance use issues and mental health issues. We refer to people with both problems as having a “Dual Diagnosis” or more recently as having “Co-occurring disorders.”

People with substance use problems are encouraged to attend 12 step meetings. I wish there were more meeting and support groups for people with mental health issues and dual diagnoses issues.

Mostly, people with multiple problems end up attending 12 step groups. To try to help them feel more comfortable, I have written a number of posts about what they should expect at a meeting. To make these posts easier to find I decided that I should list them all in one place.

Here then are the posts about 12 step groups. If I missed any feel free to remind me and if you have other questions about how A.A. or other 12 step groups work feel free to contact me.

What will you have to do if you go to an A.A. meeting?

What is an Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meeting like?

Is A.A. a religious group?

How do you become a member of A.A.?

What does carrying a court card mean?

What goes on at an A. A. meeting?

What is hitting bottom?

The posts I write about A.A. are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of A.A. World Services. For more on A.A. and their program of recovery check out the “A.A. Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact A.A. World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism, recovery this is the book that started off the whole 12 step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the Kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No Kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader.

http://www.aa.org

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

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What does carrying a court card mean?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

What is a “Court Card” and where do you get one?

Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A. Meetings) and the court or treatment facilities are not related.

A. A. has a policy of declining outside money so that they can stay independent and focus on helping the next alcoholic.

So why do so many judges, courts and rehab programs recommend that people go to A.A? And how do you get a form for the court telling the judge that you went to a meeting if everyone who attends is anonymous?

The simplest solution to this dilemma is the “court card.”

Some courts or probation departments have specific forms they want you to carry and have signed. Others will simply tell you to get a “court card” signed. Programs that require the client to turn in “meeting slips” may also have their own form they want people to use.

In these cases get the form from the person who told you to go to A.A., not from the A.A. meeting.

For practical purposes, most people use any small pieces of paper with their name at the top and a place for the secretary of the meeting to record the date, the name of the meeting and a place for the secretary to sign.

A.A. meetings are all volunteer so they do not have offices, write letters and because of anonymity, they do not keep records of who attends. For those reasons make sure you are nice to the person you ask to sign your paper.

Also, remember to get the court card in before the meeting starts and pick it up after the meeting is over. Take care of your responsibility to get it signed.

Remember if you lose this one there is no going back and getting it signed later. Lose that “court card” and you get to do some more meetings and get a new card or paper signed.

The posts I write about A.A. are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of A.A. World Services. For more on A.A. and their program of recovery check out the “A.A. Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact A.A. World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism and recovery, this is the book that started off the whole 12 step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the Kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No Kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader.

http://www.aa.org

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What will you have to do if you go to an A.A. meeting?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

AA big book

Alcoholics Anonymous big book.

A. A. etiquette, Does and Don’ts.

You need to go to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, maybe you have decided you have a drinking problem or maybe the judge or probation has told you that you will have to attend a certain number of meetings. Most rehab programs will require meeting attendance also.

What should you expect the first time you go? What will they ask you to do and say? What should you not do? Are they going to grill you about your private business?

When I teach Substance abuse counseling I encourage students who are not regular attendees of A. A. meetings to go to a meeting and have that experience of walking through the door the first time.

Here are some of the things that you might experience that first time at A. A.

For this description, I will assume that you have checked a schedule and are attending an “open” meeting so you will not be asked to qualify as an Alcoholic. I will describe a “typical” meeting, though things may happen differently in various areas and meeting are free to set up their own procedures as long as those procedures do not violate the 12 steps or the 12 traditions.

A. A. Members practice a policy called Anonymity. This is different from what counselors observe when we say most things we talk about in counseling are “confidential.”

When you introduce yourself, in order to protect your “anonymity” you will introduce yourself as let’s say “Mark A.” You are not expected to use your last name. You could use a middle name, an alias or any name you chose. No one is going to check your I. D.

Just remember if you introduce yourself by an alias or a nickname that it will be embarrassing later when you know these people to have to say – oh and by the way my name is really Bob.

There may be a sign in sheet that goes around. This is to help the secretary or meeting chair know who to call on. These sheets are not kept and are not used to prove you were there. They are destroyed after the meeting is over. You do not need to sign in if you chose not to.

If you have a “court card” or another document that you need to be signed to prove you are there get there before the meeting starts and give that paper to the person conduction the meeting. This person is customarily called the “secretary.

I will talk more about court cards in an upcoming post.

If this is a book study people will take turns reading. They may go around the table or the Secretary may call for volunteers or may call on people. If you do not feel like reading it is fine to just tell them you pass.

During the discussion part of the meeting or if this is an all discussion meeting, then anytime, you may get called on. Either by the name you signed in with or by something abstract like – “how about the man in the blue shirt over there, would you like to share?”

If you do not want to share it is perfectly permissible to say something to the effect of “I just want to listen.” At that point, the secretary or chairman will move on to someone else.

You will never be required to talk or answer questions, though some members may be interested in you and at breaks, before or after the meeting, they will come up to you and introduce themselves. At that point, they may ask you a question about yourself as a way of starting a conversation.

It is acceptable to just say you wanted to see what happens at an A. A. meeting or to ask the person who introduced themselves to tell you about their experiences in A. A.

At some point in the meeting, they will practice the “seventh tradition.”

This means that they will pass a basket and people put in what they can. If you are a member (want to stop drinking) put something in if you can.

A. A. does not accept money from outside sources so the money put in the basket pays for the room and the coffee. If there is food, someone bought it and donated it.

If you decide to share, talk about your problems with alcohol and staying sober. If you have other problems or issues, you may mention them in passing but stick to the topic which is mostly staying sober.

A. A. members understand that the people who come to meetings may well have many problems. There are now over 200 twelve-step groups patterned after A. A. Not all of those groups have meetings all over all the time the way A. A. does, so people may turn up at an A. A. meeting who do not think they have a problem with alcohol.

Most of those people who come in thinking that their main problem is something other than alcohol say depression or anxiety, may be surprised as they listen to learn how much their alcohol consumption is impacting those other problems.

Beyond those simple things, sit back and listen. Hang around after the meeting and talk to the people who are there. You just might make some new clean and sober friends and discover that going to meetings is something you enjoy doing rather than something forced on you by the court or a rehab program.

Next time let’s talk about “Carrying Court card.”

The posts I write about AA are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of AA World Services. For more on AA and their program of recovery check out the “AA Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact AA World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism, recovery this is the book that started off the whole 12 step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the Kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No Kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader.

http://www.aa.org

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Three David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

SasquatchWandering through a hole in time, they encounter Sasquatch. Can they survive? The guests had come to Meditation Mountain to find themselves. Trapped in the Menhirs during a sudden desert storm, two guests move through a porthole in time and encounter long extinct monsters. They want to get back to their own time, but the Sasquatch intends to kill them.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Author Page – David Joel Miller

Books are now available on Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and many other online stores.

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What goes on at an A. A. meeting?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

AA big book

Alcoholics Anonymous big book.

What happens at an A. A. Meeting?

Last time, about a week ago I talked about the various kinds of A. A. meetings. The actual activates taking place could vary depending on whether this is a speaker meeting or a book study, still, every meeting will have a lot of similarities. If you are expecting to, or are expected to attend some other 12 step group, translate the rest of this as needed.

I refer a lot of clients to A. A. and I believe they need to know what to expect. Here are some of the things they need to be aware of in my area. Things may be slightly different in your town, but not very different.

Every sandwich comes on bread and probably has a spread on it, but the meat may be different, so may the garnish. Think of A. A. meetings in that manner. Various meetings will be slightly different so just some basic similarities first.

There are certain things that I can very much assure you will not happen at a meeting. This is not a networking group. Though you may make friends as time passes. There should be no political or commercial pitches. You will not be asked or required to sign up for anything or to contribute any amount of money. They will pass the hat or basket but putting something in it is up to you.

No pressure or requirement to do much of anything except listen if that is what you chose to do. They also ask that you stay on topic.

What is the topic at an A. A. meeting? – Not drinking.

The meeting will be called to order by the secretary or chairman. The Secretary usually serves for a period of time, say 6 months more or less. That person also will customarily have been sober for a period of time. Each group sets their own rules. If lots of people want to be secretary then the suggested sober period gets longer.

There may be a chairperson that changes from, week to week; less sobriety is required to chair a meeting than to be the secretary.

They may have passed around a sign-in sheet first, or they may pass it around now. As I mentioned before people sign in by first name last initial only (that confidentiality thing) and you do not have to sign in if you chose not to. No one keeps these sign-in sheets, not that I know of, so there is no way to prove you were there unless you get something signed at the time of the meeting.

The meeting will likely start with a moment of silence and the recitation of the “serenity prayer.” Many groups will have the serenity prayer, the twelve steps, and the twelve traditions as well as some sayings, posted on the wall.

There may also be a picture three men and a bed. This refers to the very first meeting where two sober members went to visit a man in the hospital. The idea of A. A. all started with the understanding that to stay sober you need to get out of self and start doing for others. (They refer to that ideal as the 12th step.)

Court cards are an “outside issue.” A. A. does not get paid for this; they do it as a courtesy. If you ask the secretary for a signature to prove you were there, be nice about it. Get there on time, put your card in the basket or ask the person up front where it goes and stays until the end to get your card back.

Meetings often start with some readings, the Secretary may hand out some things to read or they may read from a page in the book. You do not have to read if you do not want to.

Once the meeting starts they will follow the format for that particular meeting. They may take turns reading and sharing or they may just share.

The 7th Tradition.

At some time during the meeting, they will pause to “practice the 7th tradition.” This means they will pass the basket. People who are members put in what they can. If you are not a member you are not expected to contribute.

You are a member if you have a desire to stop drinking. You do not have to say you are an alcoholic, though most people do because they define their problems as alcoholism. You do not go to Cancer treatment place for diabetes and presumably, no one goes of their own free will to an A. A. meeting if they do not have a problem with alcohol.

If you are there for some other reason, make sure you are attending an open meeting (most are) and confine what you share about to problems related to alcohol. If you are a student required to attend or do not have a problem related to alcohol you simply tell them that you would like to listen.

At the end many meetings, but not all, they will hold hands and recite a prayer. Often this is called the “Lord’s Prayer, or Our Father.”

This is usually announced as “we will say this prayer for those who care to join us.” If this is not part of your religious or spiritual tradition you are not obligated to say the prayer. If you have problems with the hand holding thing – do not do it.

The best part of most meetings is the meetings before and after the meeting. This is the time when members and visitors sit around or stand outside and talk. This conversation is often accompanied by drinking coffee or smoking. Many meetings, but not all, have gone nonsmoking. Check the schedule or ask about this if this is a concern for you.

Aside from your own fears or embarrassments, attending or visiting a meeting is a pretty easy thing to do. You will find most people there willing to talk with you and shake your hand whether you think you are an alcoholic or not. They are likely to welcome you as long as you are not trying to sell them something or change them in some way.

Go with the flow and you will be surprised how enjoyable attending meetings can be and how much you will be welcomed and accepted.

Many people tell me that A. A. was the first place in their life they were accepted for themselves and not because they were drinking or paid for that acceptance.

The posts I write about AA are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of AA World Services. For more on AA and their program of recovery check out the “AA Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact AA World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism recovery, this is the book that started off the whole 12 step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the Kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No Kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader. For more information on A.A.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

What is an Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meeting like?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

AA big book

Alcoholics Anonymous big book.

What happens at an A. A. Meeting?

This should be an easy question. It’s not. Let me explain what an A. A. meeting is and how very different these meetings can be.

While most people think of Alcoholics Anonymous as meetings you go to, it all started with a book titled aptly enough “Alcoholics Anonymous.” Back then there were few A. A. meetings. Most people learned about Alcoholics Anonymous from buying and reading the book.

Reading the book “Alcoholics Anonymous.”

I continue to recommend that people read the book whether or not they elect to attend meetings.

Over time more and more meetings have sprung up, mostly meetings of people who had read the book and wanted to learn more or get help in participating in the A. A. program of recovery.

With all these groups starting up, they each had to develop their own set of rules. There got to be so many rules that at one point Bill W. one of the two co-founders, said if they followed all those rules, even he could not be a member. The result was that each group or meeting could figure out their own way of doing things as long as their rules did not conflict with the 12 Steps and the Twelve Traditions.

Today there are a whole lot of very different A. A. meetings. Most groups have their meeting times listed and included in schedules and you can find those schedules online or in print form.

Meetings can be categorized by what the program for a meeting will be, who is able to attend, where the meeting is held and so on. There are also designations for rules for particular meetings.

Types of A. A. meetings.

They can also be categorized by what is on the program at that particular meeting. First the rule types and then the program types.

Smoking and non-smoking meetings.

In the old days, most meetings were smoking allowed. Back then you could tell a good meeting by the full ashtrays. Nowadays more meetings are non-smoking. They may be held in a place that does not allow smoking or the members may have decided to make their meeting a non-smoking one.

Open and closed meetings

There used to be more prejudice about people admitting they had a drinking problem, let alone saying they were alcoholics, so some meetings became closed meetings, meaning that they asked that only alcoholics attend those meetings.

The majority of meetings, especially the large ones, are open meetings that anyone who wants to go can attend. They do ask that if you share, you only talk about alcohol problems and your recovery from alcoholism. Sorry, no commercial pitches or religious and political solicitations are part of this program.

Men’s only or Women’s only meetings

I recommend to female clients that whenever possible they attend a few women’s only meetings. The point of meetings is to work on your recovery not to find a new partner.

Meetings and fellowships

Meetings customarily meet once per week at a particular time and place. They may use any room available; say a church meeting hall, a room at a school or business. The meeting rents the room from the place and then has their own meeting. The A. A. group may meet at say the Methodist church on Friday night, but it is an A.A. meeting, not a Methodist meeting, so any faith, or those with no faith, are welcome to attend.

A fellowship is a group of meetings that goes in together and rents a room so that there are primarily A. A. meetings in that place. A fellowship might have a morning meeting each day, a noon meeting each day and one or more evening meetings each day all in the same place.

Go to a fellowship a few weeks and you will develop a group of clean and sober friends. I encourage clients to try out a fellowship as soon as possible. I also encourage them to try a number of meetings till they find the one that is right for them.

Different A. A. meetings will have different formats.

Speaker meetings

At a speaker meeting, one or a couple of people will get up and talk about their experiences in recovery.

Book studies

At a book study, a portion of the book is read and they people discuss what this means and how they might apply it to their recovery. Books would include the A. A. Big Book, 12 and 12; As Bill sees it and so on. These meetings do not include reading from any religious books like the Bible or the Koran as that would make the meeting a religious meeting not an A. A. meeting.

Open participation meetings

At this meeting members, (remember you are a member if you decide you want to stop drinking) are encouraged to talk about what is on their mind as it applies to drinking, not drinking, and their recovery from alcoholism.

Meetings, by the way, are not therapy sessions. Sometimes it is hard to tell the difference but the focus of the meeting should be on your problems with alcohol and your efforts to not drink.

The Big Book suggests that people share “in a general way,” what they used to be like, what happened and what they are like now.

So there you have the types of meetings that you might choose to attend, but what will actually happen if you chose to go to an A. A. meeting? If you need to or want to attend a meeting, consider which meeting type you might like to attend or try out several and see what is best for you.

In a future post, I want to describe what the experience of attending an A. A. meeting might be like.

The posts I write about AA are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of A.A. World Services. For more on A.A. and their program of recovery check out the “A.A. Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact AA World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism, recovery this is the book that started off the whole 12 step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the Kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No Kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader.

http://www.aa.org

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

Is A.A. a religious group?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

AA big book

Alcoholics Anonymous big book.

A.A. describes itself in its literature as a spiritual program, not a religious one.

Members of A.A. are free to practice or not practice any religion they chose. Among the members of A.A., you will find Christians of most all the denominations. You will also find Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, Pagans and both agnostics and atheists.

How it possible to be a member of a spiritual group and not believe in a specific deity?

The A.A. literature says “God as you understand him.” No particular understanding is prescribed. Clearly, some members are more emphatic about their particular faith and its role in their recovery than others.

“Him” here is in the English language tradition of not having gender-neutral pronouns. Using “They or Them” for God did not work also. So I think that there should be no objection if your understanding of God or your higher power were a she, them or it.

What does matter is that this “higher power” has some ability to help you live your life on a more spiritual basis.

One member, who described themselves as an atheist reported that they understood their higher power as god, as opposed to GOD. Them their higher power was a formula for making better more spiritual decisions.

g = Good

O = orderly

d = direction

Some members in early recovery find that simply checking out decisions with their sponsor or the group can improve the quality of those decisions and help them stay sober. For the time being the group can function as a “higher power.”

There is one other description of this process of making progress in A.A. that might help explain why the program does not insist on any particular religious belief.

If you are on the path to recovery, keep looking, you just might find a higher power.

The posts I write about A.A. are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of A.A. World Services. For more on A.A. and their program of recovery check out the “A.A. Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact A.A. World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism, recovery this is the book that started off the whole 12 step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

Want the latest blog posts as they publish? Subscribe to this blog.

Want the latest on news from recoveryland, the field of counseling, my writing projects, speaking and teaching? Please sign up for my newsletter at – Newsletter. I promise not to share your email or to send you spam, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.

How do you become a member of A.A.?

By David Joel Miller, MS, Licensed Therapist & Licensed Counselor.

AA big book

Alcoholics Anonymous big book.

Is A.A. membership expensive?

What do you have to do to get accepted into membership?

A.A. is one of the more unusual organizations when it comes to becoming a member.

They do not charge a membership fee. There are no monthly or annual dues to pay. They do pass a basket and the money people donate is used to defray the expenses. No one is ever pressured to put something in the basket.

Unlike other groups who have frequent solicitations for funds, A.A. asks that only members contribute. Members are never required to contribute, but most give something, even if it is just the small change in their pocket.

There are no creeds to agree to. No catechisms to learn or memorize. They do read some things, but only those who want to read. There are no membership committees and no application forms to fill out.

You do not even need to be an alcoholic or agree to take the twelve steps to become a member. The twelve steps in A.A. are, like most everything else in the program, “suggestions” not requirements.

You do not need to agree to believe in a particular religion or worship any particular deity. In fact, you do not even need to believe in a God to be a member.

There is in fact only one requirement for membership in A.A.

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

If you can honestly say that you want to stop drinking, then you have qualified for membership.

Having become a member there is a suggestion that you get a book and read it, come to some meetings and find a sponsor to help you work your steps. None of those things are however requirements, they are suggestions.

Essentially, you are a member if you say you are a member.

With membership does come some duties. You, as a new member, will be asked to respect other member’s anonymity. You will also be asked to refrain from making public statements on behalf of A.A. Beyond that not much will be asked of you unless you chose to participate in your recovery.

All in all, A.A. is an easy group to join. So ask yourself “Do I want to stop drinking?” If so, head for a meeting because you have already qualified to become a member whether you knew it or not.

The posts I write about A.A. are from my perspective as a therapist and clinical counselor and do not necessarily reflect the views of A.A. World Services or A.A. members. For more on A.A. and their program of recovery check out the “A.A. Big Book” titled Alcoholics Anonymous at the links below or contact A.A. World Services at their website.

The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous

The classic text on Alcoholism recovery this is the book that started off the whole 12-step phenomenon.

Alcoholics Anonymous from The Anonymous Press

One of the Kindle editions – At 99 cents this is such a bargain. This edition needed a separate listing. No Kindle reader? No Problem, if you have a computer you can download a free Kindle reader.

Staying connected with David Joel Miller

Two David Joel Miller Books are available now!

Bumps on the Road of Life. Whether you struggle with anxiety, depression, low motivation, or addiction, you can recover. Bumps on the Road of Life is the story of how people get off track and how to get your life out of the ditch.

Casino Robbery is a novel about a man with PTSD who must cope with his symptoms to solve a mystery and create a new life.

For these and my upcoming books; please visit my Amazon Author Page – David Joel Miller

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For more about David Joel Miller and my work in the areas of mental health, substance abuse, and Co-occurring disorders see my Facebook author’s page, davidjoelmillerwriter. A list of books I have read and can recommend is over at Recommended Books. If you are in the Fresno California area, information about my private practice is at counselorfresno.com.