Your First Meeting?

If you’d like to attend an AA meeting for the first time, to find out if AA is for you, here’s what to do:

Choose a meeting time and location

  • Online: The most current listing for all Greater Vancouver and area AA meetings is found here.
  • By phone: Call us at 604-434-3933, day or night, and a sober member of AA will be happy to recommend a first-time meeting close to where you live. If you wish, you can be connected with another member of AA who lives in your area and who can either meet you at the meeting or pick you up and take you there. You don’t need to go alone if you don’t want to!

Just show up!

Meetings start promptly at the time specified and generally last one hour. We suggest for your first meeting to arrive a little bit early. Sometimes there might be people gathered outside. If you are unsure if you have the right place, just ask one of them if this is where the AA meeting is. If it is, then you could tell them this is your first meeting and ask them where to go.They will be happy to help you out. Inside the meeting room, there will be people milling about, setting up coffee and putting out literature. Help yourself to a coffee and find a seat.

What happens during an AA meeting:

Meetings often begin with a moment of silence, followed by a few short readings. The chairperson (a volunteer) might ask if there are any “newcomers” in the room for their first, second or third AA meeting, and if so would they care to identify themselves with their first name only. This is NOT done to point you out or embarrass you. It’s done because as a newcomer you will get the support you need. An envelope of information called a Newcomer Package will be given to you at the end of the meeting (if the group has them on hand), which contains a few pamphlets about AA plus the Greater Vancouver Meeting Directory. This envelope is passed around the room before being given to you, and members will put their name and phone number on the back of the envelope. If you have questions after you get home, please call any of the people who gave you their phone number. You will not be “intruding”… we WANT to help.

You do not have to talk

AA meetings can take one of several forms (Step discussion, Topic discussion, Speaker, etc.). At any AA meeting you will find alcoholics talking about what drinking did to their lives and personalities, what actions they took to help themselves, and how they are living their lives today. The chairperson might ask if you wish to speak, but you do not have to say anything if you don’t want to. You can simply say “pass” or “I prefer to just listen, thanks.”

Passing the basket…

AA meetings require no dues or fees from its members, but we do have expenses for room rent, coffee and literature. At some point during the meeting, a basket will be passed around to allow the members the opportunity to contribute to the support of their meeting or group. This is for members only. As a newcomer to AA, please consider yourself our guest.