Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) about AA

Introduction: Before we begin, most questions you may have about AA are best answered by the preamble to AA's Grapevine magazine ("Our Meeting in Print"), reprinted below:


A.A. Preamble: Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.

The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for AA membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.

AA is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.


Q: My husband/wife/son/daughter/brother/sister/etc. can't control their drinking - what do I do?

A: There is no strict rule or answer here, as opinions vary throughout the program. It is generally agreed that you can do nothing to truly control or stop the alcoholic from drinking, until they are ready to commit to a program of recovery. How they arrive at that willingness is not an easy answer, although it usually is hastened by their lack of resources, options, or avenues for continuing as they are.

For yourself, we know the challenges are great and it's nearly impossible to arrive at all the right answers on your own. For this reason, we recommend seeking out a recovery group for yourself, such as Al-Anon, where many spouses, siblings and friends of alcoholics have found strength and hope over the years to deal with just what you're going through.

This is a link to Al-Anon Family Groups

Q: How do I get into your Classes?

A: Alcoholics Anonymous is not a class, but rather a community of recovering alcoholics who attend meetings for fellowship, step-work, and to share in the experience, strength and hope of others. These meetings are available several times a day, each day of the week, all over the Roanoke Valley - and beyond. Check our online calendar of meetings on this website for a location and time that works for you.

Q: How much does it cost?

A: It does not cost anything to attend an AA meeting, although we are self-supporting by our own contributions (the Seventh Tradition), so we pass the basket at each meeting. Groups often encourage a $1-$2 donation, which is for coffee, rent, and other expenses. However, this is strictly a voluntary contribution, and no person is denied access to AA based on their ability to pay.

Q: How do I know if I'm an alcoholic?

A: We generally believe that the only person who can make this determination is the individual. If you are having questions or doubts about your possible alcoholism, we recommend that you attend a meeting or two, and perhaps read the book "Alcoholics Anonymous" which is available at the Intergroup Office and at groups around the valley. Through these meetings, and from this book, you will hear from recovering alcoholics personally, as they share their experience, strength and hope. With this information, you can make a better decision.  A quick test, designed by the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions may also be an indicator. (20 Questions)


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