A group of men stand in an AA meeting with alcohol near them

Despite being a simple program, many of us who are first introduced to Alcoholics Anonymous can be quite perplexed how it works. The reality is, many of the aspects of the program can be quit foreign to those of us just coming off a run.

The truth is, however, Alcoholics Anonymous has stuck around for so long for good reason: it works if you work it.

Since being founding in 1935, Alcoholics Anonymous has spread to approximately 180 countries around the world, helping countless alcoholics in the process. The 2017 estimate for active worldwide membership was over two million recovering alcoholics. (1)

Here we give a small breakdown of how AA works for those who may be new or considering joining the fellowship.

What are the requirements for AA membership?

The only requirement for membership to Alcoholics Anonymous is a The Alcoholics Anonymous triangle with a group meeting happening behind itdesire to stop drinking. This tradition was set to make sure the fellowship could include anyone who wanted help with his or her drinking problem. There also are no dues or fees required to join AA.

So what do I do first to join Alcoholics Anonymous?

To join Alcoholics Anonymous, simply find a meeting (this can be done easily online) and attend it! At the start of almost any meeting, the chairperson will ask if it is anyone’s first meeting. The group should provide you with a meeting list, a list of phone numbers, and possibly some AA-related literature.

What is a 90-in-90?

A great starting place for your new life in recovery is to commit to doing what is called a “90-in-90”. This refers to attending 90 meetings in 90 days. Meetings are where we can listen to others experience, strength, and hope, and seek guidance in our new way of life. Meetings are also where we can develop a support group, and find an AA sponsor.

What is an AA sponsor?

An Alcoholics Anonymous sponsor is someone who has been in the program long enough to start really helping newcomers and guiding them in their new way of life. The requirements vary between groups, but a sponsor typically will have at least one year of continuous sobriety and have been through the 12-steps.

We typically will stay in touch with our sponsor on a very regular basis for guidance, and to take us through the 12-steps.

What are the 12-steps?

The 12-steps are the foundation of the Alcoholics Anonymous program. They are often summed up as trusting a power greater than yourself, cleaning house, and helping others.

True Recovery

The 12-steps can be difficult to wrap your head around when first reading them, but fortunately for us this is why we have sponsors to take us through them. The 12-steps not only relieves us of our obsession to use and drink, but it also clears up the wreckage of our past. The end result is a new way of life free from the bondage of alcohol.

How to find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near you

Looking to get started with Alcoholics Anonymous? Click here to find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting in your local area. Chances are, you can find a meeting in your area that works with your schedule.

Final Note

This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.


  1. https://www.aa.org/assets/en_US/smf-132_en.pdf