Starting Your Own AA Meeting or AA Group
If you don’t have an AA meeting in your community for agnostics, atheists and freethinkers, you may want to consider starting a new AA meeting or even forming a new AA group. It’s not at all difficult and there are plenty of resources here and on other sites that you may find helpful.
There is a difference between a meeting and a group, the primary difference being that an AA group exists outside of the meeting, and is an integral part of the AA General Service Structure that makes Twelfth Step work possible. All AA groups are encouraged to register with the General Service Office.
An AA meeting on the other hand, is simply a gathering of AA members at a set time and place. Meetings may be listed in local meeting directories, but they don’t participate in the General Service Structure. If you want to start a meeting, you can do that on your own. Simply find a time and place and announce your meeting at groups you attend, or you can mail out flyers. Often, your Intergroup or Central Office will mail flyers to the groups in your community. In time, your meeting may become a group.
If you want to start a group, you will need at least one other person to join you. Any two or three alcoholics who gather together for sobriety may call themselves an AA group provided they do not have any other affiliation. Starting a new AA group, may very well turn out to become one of the most rewarding experiences in your recovery. You will meet new friends, watch people find recovery, and if you participate in the General Service Structure, you will have a renewed appreciation for Alcoholics Anonymous. If you have an opportunity to start a new AA group, it’s definitely worthwhile. It will be especially gratifying to serve the agnostics and atheists, many of whom will not find sobriety at other meetings.
Are Agnostic Groups Really AA?
AA is an incredibly open and flexible organization (though organization is never the right word to use for AA), and it’s the tradition of group autonomy that gives AA its rich flavor and diversity. AA makes room for special purpose groups, such as groups for gays and lesbians, or agnostics and atheists. Provided that we welcome anyone with a desire to stop drinking at our meetings, and we don’t effect other groups, we are are following the traditions and we are as real as any other AA group. We are the real deal!
Each group is as unique as a thumbprint, and approaches to carrying the message of sobriety vary not just from group to group but from region to region. Acting autonomously, each group charts its own course. The better informed the members, the stronger and more cohesive the group—and the greater the assurance that when a newcomer reaches out for help, the hand of A.A. always will be there. (The AA Group Where It All Begins, AAWS, p. 11)
Start with a Coffee Pot
There is a Google Group we recommend if you are interested in starting an Agnostic AA Group. The Start with a Coffee Pot Google Group is an excellent resource. Here, you will meet other agnostics, atheists and freethinkers who have started or are interested in starting new AA groups. You can sign up to join the group and receive emails or you can simply take advantage of the information posted on their site. We especially recommend the excellent article by Deirdre S. “Forming A Meeting”.
We have made available for download a collection of meeting scripts, flyers and pamphlets to help get you started. Good luck, have fun and please give us a call or send us an email if you have any questions at all.