AA Meeting Topics For Beginners
AA meetings or discussion meetings are a critical part of Alcoholics Anonymous. The sole purpose of these sessions is to share the experiences to reinforce sobriety and help others recover within the parameters of the 12 Principles of AA. The moderation of meetings can either contribute to or detract from this goal. One of the biggest mistakes an moderator can make is to declare that the meeting will center around a very basic and broad AA meeting topics, like “relationships” or “honesty.” Selecting a more specific subject for your next group meeting will increase participation, deeper discussion, and more remarkable growth.
What kind of AA meeting topic for beginners work best? Many kinds have worked well. They range from small, unplanned, informal discussions, with beginners doing most of the talking and a different leader each time, to extensive sessions, prearranged in a series, with one continuing leader giving prepared talks on specific AA subjects. A mixture of these two types seems to work best. Groups have found that beginners’ chances of recovery are higher if they can actively participate in AA discussions as soon as possible—and they also need someone with AA experience to tell them the fundamental facts about alcoholism and the recovery program.
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What is a Good General Outline for the Moderator?
What are beginners’ meetings? These meetings are led by group members familiar with the recovery journey and are often structured in a question-and-answer format to help those new to AA get a feel for the meetings. Beginner meetings often focus on Steps One, Two, and Three of the Twelve Steps. Many experienced moderators of AA beginners meetings say that their opening remarks generally cover these points:
- Welcome to newcomers. (Newcomers are essential to AA’s health and growth. In the first
few weeks, they will discover that their fresh experiences make them vital links in reaching
other suffering alcoholics.)
- Assurance that newcomers’ anonymity will be respected.
- An explanation that everything the moderator/leader or any other member says is only the individual’s
opinion that no one can speak on behalf of the entire worldwide Fellowship (or, indeed, of
- A brief statement of the Fellowship’s size and scope.
- Brief sharing of the leader’s own experience, including in condensed form the familiar elements of an AA talk: identification as an alcoholic (not necessarily events while drinking,
but feelings); how the leader came to AA; recovery in the program; knowledge gained
- Comments on any particular AA meeting topics that newcomers need or want to
- Know about the moderator’s opinion. (There are suggestions on the following pages.)
- Information about other local meetings.
- Recommendation of the AA message in print—so that newcomers may take it with them
after the meeting in the form of AA books, pamphlets, or the Grapevine.
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Suggested AA Meeting Topics for Beginners
How to Stay Away from One Drink One Day at a Time
When members first came to A.A., many did not realize that the first drink triggered the compulsion to drink more and more; it deluded us into thinking we could drink another safely, then another, and another.
The threat seems obvious now, but many of today’s beginners are just as confused as old members. So the moderator usually explains the significance of the first drink – and how to avoid just that one for at least one day or hour.
Alcoholism, the Disease
Alcoholics usually have to confront the medical facts of the disease and the present unmanageability of their own lives before they can accept help. This seems true even for beginners who may be forced by pressure from others to come to AA for the first time.
The medical perspective on alcoholism helped to bring about the birth of AA. Many good descriptions of the disease are used by A.A. members, such as: “threefold illness,” “progressive disease,” “compulsion plus obsession,” etc.
Many newcomers have also been helped by discussing various definitions of alcoholism, the symptoms of the disease, the uselessness of misdirected willpower in combating alcoholism, and the futility of insisting on an intellectual understanding of the condition before becoming willing to practice the AA program.
The Twelve Traditions: What We Learn from A.A. Mistakes
The 12 traditions of AA explain much of the seemingly contradictory behavior that confuses newcomers when they first encounter a fellowship that functions with so little obvious organization: “anonymity” – and yet the occasional use of full names at meetings; “no dues or fees” – and then the basket is passed.
How It Works: The Twelve Steps Suggested as a Program of Recovery
The men and women responsible for the Steps realized they could never reach many alcoholics who wanted their help in person. So they knew they had to be especially careful to use the words that would describe most honestly and completely the road they had taken.
Leaders of beginners generally agree that newcomers are rarely helped by ponderous sermonizing about the Twelve Steps or complicated interpretations. The Steps speak plainly for themselves, and all newcomers are free to interpret and use them as they individually choose.
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AA Topics for Discussion
AA meeting topics are usually selected from the Big Book, Twelve Steps, or Twelve Traditions and are designed to encourage abstinence from alcohol. AA meeting topics suggested for discussion by the organization include:
- A. Acceptance, Amends, Anonymity, Anger
- B. Behavior, Belonging, Blackouts
- C. Conscience, Complacency, Complex
- D. Desire, Decisions, Depression
- E. Easy-Does-It, Emotions, Ego
- F. Faith, Fear, Fellowship, Fatigue
- G. Gratitude, God, Gossip
- H. Humility, Hope, Honesty, Happiness
- I. Illness, Inferiority, Immaturity
- J. Jealousy, Joy, Judging
- M. Meetings, Morals, Meditation
- N. New Life, Non-active, Newcomers
- O. One Day At A Time, Obligations
- P. Prayer, Principles, Personalities
- Q. Quiet Time, Quality vs. Quantity
- R. Resentments, Recovery, Remorse
- S. Surrender, Serenity, Spirituality
- T. Temper, Tolerance, Truth, Today
- U. Usefulness, Unity, Understanding
- V. Vanity, Values, Virtues, Vulgarity
- W. Worry, Way of Life, Willingness
- X-Y-Z. Yesterday, Youth, Zeal
These AA meeting topics were taken from two primary sources—the official website of the AA General Service office in New York and miscellaneous sources on the Web. Of course, this isn’t a comprehensive list. Indeed, other AA meeting topics suggestions can be added.
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Al Anon Meeting Topics List
Al-Anon members are worried about their loved one’s drinking problems. An Al-Anon family group is a fellowship of family members and friends of individuals with alcohol addiction who share similar experiences to solve their common problems. Download you Free Al-Anon 12 Steps Worksheets PDF here.
Suggested Alanon Topics for Beginners
Al Anon group meetings mainly involve Alanon topics discussion based on the personal experiences of someone living with a family member or friend with the problem of alcoholism. The person in charge of the group meeting will sometimes ask for suggestions on meeting topics from the Al-Anon members in the beginner’s meetings. Once the group members have agreed upon a topic, those in the meeting share their personal experiences, strength, and hope.
Below are some of the Alanon topics for Alanon meeting.
How have you learned to tell the difference between things you can change and those you can’t regarding living with an alcoholic? Discuss what accepting that you are powerless over alcohol means to you.
Alcoholism as a Disease
Accepting alcoholism as a disease can aid you in understanding how the alcoholic goes through cycle after cycle of cutting out alcohol but returning to the same routine days later.
Dealing With Anger
You may get mixed messages about anger in your household. For example, are you told to control your anger but others in the family are allowed to explode violently? At Al-Anon, you learn that anger is a normal and natural emotion. Being angry is okay. It’s what you do with the anger that makes a difference.
Do you have control issues? If you step in and try to solve problems for others, you deprive them of the dignity of being able to make their own mistakes and learn from them. Are you learning to “let go and let God?”
Remember that you have choices. You have to accept the things you cannot change. You do not have to accept unacceptable behavior. You have the right to make decisions that are in your best interest—to decide not to be around alcoholic behavior and to walk away from arguments and fights. And to choose to no longer participate in the insanity of others. Have you discovered the courage to make those kinds of decisions?
Are you disheartened by the blatant denial of a loved one with an alcohol use disorder who won’t admit that their behavior is causing pain, damaging, and destroying others? Have you learned that it isn’t your job to persuade that person they are in denial, turning that over to a power greater than yourself?
Learning how to detach can be challenging. When a person with an alcohol use disorder gets into a crisis, do you want to rush in and save the day? This can be the exact opposite of what you should do to get that person to reach out for help.
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AA Step 8 Explained
What is Step 8 of AA? [We made] a list of all persons we had harmed and became willing to make amends to them all.” The 8th Step leads you to the knowledge that there are things you can and can’t change by identifying who you’ve harmed and how you’ve harmed them and then making a list. Now is the time to be open and honest. Think about any instances of greed, selfishness, dishonesty, negligence, and so on, regardless of whether or not you intended to cause harm at the time.
Starting the list is the terrifying part of Step 8 of AA, which is why it’s so important to do it. Don’t delay because you’re afraid of confronting it. You may feel uneasy and worry about whether you can make amends, but forget about this for the moment.
As you approach the 8th Step of AA, you need to take a moment to recognize just how far you have come since your very first AA meeting. Completing seven AA steps is an impressive accomplishment. Take comfort in knowing that the first seven steps of the program have prepared you for this step.
If you struggle with Step 8, remember that you have the help and support of your sponsor and the AA fellowship. Your sponsor was once in the same position you are in now. Your sponsor likely felt similar to the way you feel now when he or she was approaching Alcoholics Anonymous Step 8.
What Are The Three C’s of Al-Anon
The three C’s of Alanon are reminders that help loved ones realize they are not the cause of the addiction that their friend or family member is struggling with. Al-Anon teaches these three Cs and how to apply them to everyday life.
I didn’t Cause It
The first C of Al-Anon talks about step one of the program. Step one states, “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol and that our lives had become unmanageable.” This first C shows the family member that they didn’t cause their loved one’s addiction because they don’t have the power to do so.
Addiction acts on its own because it is a chronic disease. There is nothing a person can say or do to stop their loved one from using or drinking. This is particularly important and can relieve the person of grief and misplaced responsibility.
I Can’t Control It
The second C explains this through the use of step two in Al-Anon. Step two states, “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” This is important because the family member or friend realizes there is nothing they can do to control the addiction. Instead, they can leave it in the hands of a higher power or anything that gives them hope, which can be extremely reassuring.
I Can’t Cure It
The third C of Al-Anon is explained through step three, which states, “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” After the family member or friend realizes there is nothing they can do to control the addiction, they can take on the step of turning it over to their higher power.
This is usually when the individual accepts that addiction is a chronic disease and, therefore cannot be cured. This can be hard to accept, but it usually helps the individual become more understanding and in a better place to help their loved one.
Search Florida Rehab Centers & Other Resources
 AA.org – https://www.aa.org/pages/en_US/information-for-professionals
 National Center for Biotechnology Information – 12-Step Interventions and Mutual Support Programs for Substance Use Disorders: An Overview – AA Topics for Discussion
 Alcoholics Anonymous Support Groups – We Level Up NJ Rehab Detox Center
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