Are there any Alcoholics Anonymous Audio Books?

soberAudio recordings and audio books of Alcoholics Anonymous conventions, speaker talks and AA literature have been around for a considerable time, and have grown significantly in the age of the internet. There are numerous ways to access these recordings that are both playable online, and often downloadable as podcasts.

AA Audio Books

Audio books of AA conference approved literature are available from USA GSO, which is the central clearing office for Alcoholics Anonymous. Although based in North America, anyone, anywhere in the world can listen to it online.

USA GSO also produces some DVDs of AA literature which are available with American sign language.

The UK based GSO produces audio books of AA literature which are available to buy as CDs and DVDs. Some of the DVDs also include British sign language.

These are officially sanctioned audio books of Alcoholics Anonymous by their respective country clearing offices. They should not be confused with other audio recordings such as Audible, which may be available to buy or stream on commercial sites such as Amazon.

AA recordings of conventions

From its earliest days, AA held large gatherings, often referred to as conventions or conferences. The distinction was that conventions tended to be meetings where members of AA , most notably the co-founders and trustees, talk about their experience, strength and hope of getting and staying sober.

Conferences tended to develop slightly later in AA’s history, and tended to be more business focused, but also often included talks by people who influenced the growth and development of Alcoholics Anonymous.

AA talks online.

As conventions have grown, so have the recordings of people who speak at some. There are numerous sites online, which contain audio recordings of talks given by AA members throughout North America and the rest of the world, often spanning some 50 or 60 years.

These talks have somewhat of a cult following, in the sense that people like to listen to certain speakers, often referred to as circuit speakers in North America.

Other people like the fact that there is a historical element to talks by evil such as Bill Wilson, Dr Bob, Sister Ignatia, Father Ed Dowling etc. These talks were often recorded in the 1950s and 60s, and the quality is not always great, even with today’s audio enhancement available.

However, they are listenable to and provide a valuable insight into the tradition and history of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is highly relevant in today’s world.

These talks are normally available to listen to online or to download as podcasts. It should be flagged up that some sites where there are downloadable have had real problems in terms of malware, and people should pay special attention to any site with a download any MP3, however safe the site may look.

Audio recording at AA meetings

Some AA meetings record their speakers, and make these talks available as MP3s to download. These are normally known as speaker meetings, and it is billed in advance that they will be recorded. This is especially important for people who may be concerned about their anonymity, and find the idea of meetings being recorded somewhat strange.

Audio Zoom meetings

Zoom meetings have flourished largely as a result of the pandemic. Whilst most have not been recorded, there is an option on zoom for the meeting or individual speakers to be recorded, normally at the discretion of the host.

Whilst for many this is a downside of zoom, the upside is that these meetings can be listened to in real-time, and they are pretty continuous throughout the world on a 24 seven basis. This means that it is possible to access and listen to a live zoom meeting pretty much any time of day or night wherever someone lives.

Audio YouTube talks

There are also a huge number of video recordings on You Tube, Vimeo and other video platforms online, where individual AA members give talks on recovery and sobriety.

There are some concerns that this breaks people anonymity, but the fact remains that these are available online and people can listen to them as well as watch them in order to access AA speakers talking about their experience, strength and hope of being sober.