This information is for anyone who is interested in A.A., whether for yourself or for a friend, parent, spouse, or other loved one. You probably have a lot of questions that led you to this website. Welcome, and hopefully reading this helps you as you go forward. Since its founding in 1935, Alcoholics’ Anonymous has helped over 2 million alcoholics reach and maintain sobriety. 

What is AA?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship encouraging and supporting members in reaching and maintaining sobriety. AA Meetings in Tampa 

How AA Works & What Happens 

How AA WorksAt your first meeting you may expect to have to explain your story to the group, as commonly depicted in media. In fact, you may have a lot of ideas about how a meeting will look based on popular movies and TV shows. Many members say they expected to see people looking like they were “drying out,” but in reality, they found a diverse range of people, which shows that anyone can be affected by alcoholism. 

It is very common for people to come to their first meeting either anxiously, aggressively, or defensively. Or they might be relieved. Everyone works through their addiction at their own rate. Some new people come in and judge others in meetings because it makes them feel better, or can serve as a justification, in their mind, for why they shouldn’t have to be there, thus further displacing their emotions on another. Even if it takes months, they eventually become less defensive, and start opening up It is much better to have someone slowly but surely move toward sobriety than not come at all. It’s part of the process. 

In fact, a lot of members started off not fully ready to quit, but aware that they had a problem, and they thought that going to meetings would help. Or they were mandated by the courts to attend meetings. Through the compassion of other members, they’ve been given the space to come to sobriety at their own pace. 

The general flow of the meetings is as follows:

  • Greeting at the door, usually. This can be a simple hello even if you see others hugging.
  • General announcements
  • A reading of both the 12 Steps and the 12 Traditions 
  • Sharing of one or multiple people’s story of recovery and sobriety

How To Get Into AA Meetings

It’s simple. You have to want to quit drinking. This is the primary focus and the only focus. If you have a drinking problem and want to quit, then you are welcome here.

There are two types of meetings: open and closed meetings.

  • Open meetings: These are open to the public. You do not have to be a member to attend any of these meetings. Sometimes people go as a first step before being ready to commit to membership.
  • Closed meetings: these are for members only. Members are not excluded if they are struggling with other substances as well, but they must have a drinking problem.

It is generally assumed that if you find a schedule on a website that the meetings are closed unless they explicitly state that they are open. 

AA does not provide transportation to meetings. 

If you’re a family member of an alcoholic or someone struggling with a chemical dependency, then you may find the support you need in Al-Anon Family Groups or Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings. These are not meetings for people struggling with alcohol abuse. Overcoming alcoholism can become a family concern, but there is support for everyone.

What AA Does

The primary goal is to support the alcoholic seeking help as they move to their destination of total sobriety. All alcoholism treatment is pursuant to this. Alone the addiction is overwhelming, but together we create an environment to help each other maintain sobriety.

It’s important to also understand what AA does not do, such as:

  • Advertise or participate in recruitment activities
  • Provide motivation for alcoholics to work toward sobriety
  • Provide any medical, psychological, or psychiatric diagnoses or treatment
  • Provide letters of reference to attorneys, employers, educational institutions, parole boards, etc.
  • Attendance records
  • Accept dues or any money from members



It’s very common to have a lot of questions. If you had additional ones, you can feel free to email or call us, and we will be happy to help.

What is alcoholism?

Most members accept the definition that alcoholism is a progressive illness where one is compelled to drink, and one in one is never cured of, but instead must manage throughout their lifetime. Most members also agree that beating alcoholism cannot be done through willpower alone and that a community of supportive people encouraging sobriety is key to reaching that goal.

Is AA Tampa associated with any religious groups?

AA as an organization has no association with any religious sect or denomination, political party, nor private or public institutions of any sort. A.A. neither endorses nor opposes any causes. You can come as you are. A.A. is not a place for controversy or debate, or even local Tampa politics.

Will this group save my marriage?

It’s important to go in with the right expectations, which is that nothing is guaranteed. A lot of questions have an underlying anxiety and fear to them. For a lot of people, this is their last hope. We encourage you to come to meetings, listen to others, and return for more. Progress can be slow, but it’s still progress. It is imperative to consider groups for yourself if you are a spouse or loved one of an alcoholic. It is also important to respect the choice of your spouse when they attend closed meetings. Keep an open mind. AA has helped millions of people, but they do not provide fixes or remedies. AA, or another group for family members, can help ease the stress alcoholism has on the family, which may lead to improved relationships, or it might not. But it’s worth trying.

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