Finding an AA meeting close to where someone lives or works is a fairly crucial part of most people’s recovery, and thankfully most meetings are relatively easy to find.
The easiest way for people to find a local meeting is simply to put in the name of the area plus AA meeting into Google or some other search engine, and several links will appear giving details of where the nearest local meetings are.
Within these results, the meeting list will detail the time and place of the meeting, what day it is on, what type of meeting it is, how long it lasts and quite possibly some local contact phone numbers as well, if someone wants a bit more information.
Lists of local AA meetings can also be found in many other places, such as local newspapers, in local grocery stores, in local police stations and local drug and alcohol service offices
Finding AA meetings close to where you live.
For many people, this is the easiest and most accessible route for them to go to a meeting. Other people, especially newcomers, may be more wary of going to meetings in their locality, or close to where they work, because they may be slightly scared of bumping into people they know.
This is a perfectly legitimate concern, and one of the advantages of all meetings, is that no one really cares where you live or where you’re from.
The other benefit of going to meetings outside someone’s local area is hearing different people share, and hearing different experiences and methods of recovery.
This can be of real benefit to someone’s recovery in that it broadens and deepens their experience of AA, and gives them a wider perspective of how AA meetings can affect someone’s life.
Different types of local AA meetings
Any list of AA meetings can seem a bit daunting. This is normally because there will be specific types of meeting listed, which it may be helpful just to clarify.
Meetings will often be classified as open or closed. An open meeting is a normal AA meeting which is open to people who are not alcoholics, but are interested in how AA works, such as professionals i.e. social workers, probation officers etc.
A closed meeting is really just a normal AA meeting for people who are members, and newcomers who may or may not be aware they have a drink problem, but in some way are looking for help.
Meetings can also be categorised as being open to women only, men only, lgbt friendly, agnostic etc. The type of meeting will also be listed, that it focuses on the 12 step program of AA, that it is a discussion meeting or that it is a speaker meeting.
Online AA Meetings
Even before the pandemic, there were a number of online AA meetings, but since covid there are now a huge number of online meetings all over the world, virtually all of which can be accessible to anyone, all of which are in effect local meetings.
Zoom is relatively easy to use, either with a computer or a smartphone. Some meetings will let a user access without a web cam, others will want a web cam to be on all the time. Some meetings will let users access but will want a web cam on at the very start so that they can see who the person is, and then let them turn it off afterwards.
Some meetings have tighter access restrictions, most commonly that someone needs to register via e-mail before the meeting starts, often 24 hours, after which they will receive login details.
Online meetings have taken AA into everyone’s home, at the same time this does present real challenges in terms of anonymity and online disruption. Many meetings have experienced difficulty with what is named as Zoom bombing, mainly people who are not AA members logging on to cause trouble.