There Are No Rules in AA But…..

There is only one rule in AA and it appears in Traditions Four. It is Rule 62 and states: “Don’t take yourself to damn seriously!”

But there are many suggestions: Many of the suggestions concerning behavior at AA meetings have evolved over the years and are passed down to us from the earliest days of AA. They basically deal with the concept of respecting the program and respecting each other and teach us to keep the rooms of AA safe and comfortable for all who wish to recover. Some generally accepted suggestions include:

1) Arrive at meetings early and stay late. Engage in the fellowship before and after meetings.

2) Be attentive and respectful to those who are speaking.

3) Be in your seat before the start of the meeting and stay in your seat unless there is an emergency. Try to limit coffee runs and bathroom breaks to the meeting break or after the meeting.

4) Do not engage in conversation during the meeting.

5) Turn off cell phone or better yet leave it at home or in the car.

6) Texting, computers, headphones, reading newspapers or other books are all disrespectful to the meeting process.

7) “Sit up front and listen” has always been an unofficial slogan. The old timers call the back of the room the “denial aisle”.

8) At speaker meetings always thank the speakers. You will really understand this one when you get to speak at a speakers meeting.

9) At closed meetings it is a good idea to identify as “Joe an alcoholic” or “Joe and I have a desire to stop drinking”. “Joe an addict” is not forbidden as there are no rules, however in order to be respectful of the house you are in it is thoughtful of others if you identify in one of the two ways suggested.

10) Clean up after yourself and help put chairs away and with other closing chores. I always say “this group has a clean up committee and you are all on it.”

11) Put something in the basket. AA has no dues or fees but needs to pay its expenses and we are the guests of the group hosting the meeting so we can help them continue to provide it to us.

12) AA is not group therapy. Sharing of experience strength and hope as it relates to alcoholism is the focus of all AA meetings. Intimate details of one’s life and problems are best left to sponsors and/or professionals.

13. Finally remember always that “love and tolerance is our code” which means that we should always treat others as we would like to be treated and in so doing miraculous events can and will occur.

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