Beginners Guide to AA


You have made a decision. You've taken Step One and said to yourself, "Yes, I am one of those people who is powerless over alcohol. My life has become unmanageable.  I can't stop drinking and I want help". You have discovered, as it says in the Big Book, that alcohol is "cunning, baffling and powerful"

In order to stop drinking and stay stopped, there are a few simple principles that you will need to apply in your life. These principles are A.A.'s program of recovery (The 12 Steps). They can work for you as effectively as they have worked for others. Following are some suggestions which we feel will be helpful to you on your path to recovery.


Alcoholics Anonymous is a "One day at a time" way of living. We try to break life into small pieces we can handle. We stay sober one day at a time, or when necessary, one hour at a time. We solve our problems one problem at a time. We clean up our past, one mess at a time. We conscientiously try to turn our lives and our will over to the care of a Higher Power as we understand Him.

In learning to apply the A.A. principles to our lives, we ask for help from other A.A. members, from our sponsors, and from our Higher Power, whom most of us come to depend on for our recovery.


Use the Meeting Guide page where you can find the most up to date information on meeting places and times around Indiana County. Bookmark it and then take in as many meetings as you can. As one member says, "The Big Book is your road map, the meetings are your filling stations".


 A few members may tell you that they got sober without the aid of a sponsor, and they may be telling the truth. However, our A.A. experience tells us that you will have a much better chance with a sponsor then without one. In A.A. you will probably find that your sponsor is a vital part of your program of recovery.

Your sponsor will listen too you and give you suggestions; tell you what works for them; point out trouble spots and help you decide what to do about them. In other words, your sponsor helps you to understand the A.A. program and guides you along the path of recovery.

Though sponsors can't solve all you problems they help you face up to them with honesty and courage, and find a way to solve them using the A.A. program. You can usually count on sponsors to do their part, and encourage you to do yours.


When some of us were introduced to A.A. through a particular group, we thought we had been assigned to that group and should go to no other meetings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Feel free to visit various groups. But sooner or later you should settle down to a regular meeting that you want to call your "home group".

However, having a home group should not keep you from going to other meetings. Attend as many meetings as you feel the need for, and then a couple more. There are many different types of groups available. The home group you choose should be one in which you can get sober, stay sober and feel that you are a part of.

Your home group ought to be the place you are challenged to keep growing and where you feel you have so many friends you can't afford to stay away.


As soon as you can, we suggest that you read these important books which explain the A.A. program of recovery, our history and Traditions.  Some of these are free to read or listen to at these links:

These books are A.A. General Service Conference Approved literature. We suggest that you read them… and reread them. They can be a constant source of inspiration and understanding. Many of us begin our "Quite Times" by reading a paragraph or chapter from one of them. They are the basic source of our program of recovery.

There are also excellent periodicals that most of us read. One is the A.A. Grapevine which is published in New York and is filled with helpful articles for the alcoholic who wants to get well and stay that way.

You can arrange to have these helpful publications mailed to you regularly. Ask your group secretary.


It is said that the average practicing alcoholic affects the lives of at LEAST five other people and that alcoholism is a family illness. We find that the family that gets sick together can often recover together. The best way to do this is to share your program of recovery with them. Following are some A.A. activities you can share with your family.

OPEN MEETINGS: Take your spouse, other members of your family and interested friends to hear the stories of A.A. speakers, and to share in the fellowship of other A.A. families. Open meetings are listed in the Area 60 meeting list.

SOCIAL EVENTS: Special suppers, dances, picnics and other social activities are regularly sponsored by groups for A.A. members and their families.

A.A. CONFERENCES: Weekend conferences at resorts and hotels are held throughout the year and offer activities for A.A. members and their families. Often Al-Anon and Ala-teen meetings are held at the same time. the Grapevine publishes notices of these conferences.

The Al-Anon Family Groups, designed for the members of the alcoholic family, they hold closed meetings just as A.A. groups do. They use A.A.'s "Twelve Steps" of recovery to help them understand the alcoholic and to adjust and improve their own lives. Al-Anon membership is available to the spouse of the alcoholic or other concerned persons. The Al-Anon Family Groups have their own organization, separate from A.A..


If you need some A.A. literature and can't find it, ask your group secretary. If you are moving or visiting another area and need to locate a new A.A. group, or if you need a Big Book, A.A. pamphlets or the phone number of another group member, ask your secretary. Much like your sponsor, group secretaries will help you in every way they can.


Just as you found friends in meetings everywhere in your area, you will also find helpful members in almost every city and town in the United States and most parts of the world. Whenever you travel, take A.A. with you. Download this app from Apple or Google. The apps contain meeting details so you can get to a meeting when you are away from home. 

Look in the phone book in most cities under Alcoholics Anonymous and you will find either an answering service or a Central Office that will help you make an A.A. contact. You are never very far away from an A.A. meeting.


So now that you've made a start and if you are like most of us, we think you will find these suggestions to be of help on your journey to a comfortable happy sobriety.

Remember that you never have to be alone if you use the tools that A.A. has to offer you. The Program of Alcoholics Anonymous wants to provide support and guidance to all who reach out for help. Our very survival requires that we must carry the message to the alcoholic who still suffers. We need you. Join us, participate, and become a part of our program of recovery.