What is an A.A. group?

Any gathering of two or more alcoholics who wish to recover and have no other affiliation may call themselves an A.A. group. Membership at the group level is open to all who have a desire to recover from alcoholism. There are no dues, fees, requirements or restrictions of any kind. There’s no formal application to join a group.

What’s the purpose of A.A. groups? All groups exist to help those who suffer from the disease of alcoholism.

The A.A. Group Handbook

The Group Handbook contains a variety of resources that many groups find helpful. New groups receive a physical copy of the  handbook when they list themselves with the General Service Office.

Contents of The A.A. Group Handbook

The Final Voice of the Fellowship

Excerpts from The A.A. Group… Where it all begins Pamphlet

“Alcoholics Anonymous has been called an upside down organization because the ultimate responsibility and final authority for world services resides with the groups — rather than with the trustees, the General Service Board or the General Service Office in New York.” – Twelve Concepts For World Service Illustrated

The entire structure of A.A. depends upon the participation and conscience of the individual groups, and how each of these groups conducts its
affairs has a ripple effect on A.A. everywhere. Thus, we are ever individually conscious of our responsibility for our own sobriety and, as a group, for carrying the A.A. message to the suffering alcoholic who reaches out to us for help.

A.A. has no central authority, minimal organization, and a handful of Traditions instead of laws. As co-founder Bill W. noted in 1960, “We obey [the
Twelve Traditions] willingly because we ought to and because we want to. Perhaps the secret of their power lies in the fact that these life-giving communications spring out of living experience and are rooted in love.”

A.A. is shaped by the collective voice of its local groups and their representatives to the General Service Conference, which works toward unanimity on matters vital to the Fellowship. Each group functions independently, except in matters affecting other groups or A.A. as a whole.

This means that we function as a democracy, with all plans for group action approved by the majority voice. No single individual is appointed to act for the group or for Alcoholics Anonymous as a whole.

Participation in General Service

Most A.A. groups are considered voting groups when they follow the long form of our Third Tradition.

A group has a vote in the decision making process of A.A. as a whole.

To share your group’s voice and vote, please send your General Service Representative to the next Area 55 General Service Assembly to share the group conscience and vote on matters affecting the local area.