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If you are new to AA, you are in the right place!

On this page we will answer some of your questions about attending an AA meeting.
Our meetings are an integral part of our recovery program, and there are
over 300 of them each week in the Greater Richmond area. You are not alone!
Many of us were nervous about going to our first AA meeting because we
did not know what to expect. Below are a few of the questions that we had.

How can I find a meeting?

The most updated list of our area's meetings can be found on the Meetings page here.
Put in your zip code and click Find Meetings to get an overview of what is nearby.
Keep it simple on your initial search; you can refine your choices on the next search.
You may also call us at 804 355-1212 if you need help locating a meeting.

Do I need to sign up in advance or pay a registration fee?

No, and no. We are an anonymous fellowship, so we do not keep a list of names.
There are no dues or fees to attend our meetings. Just select a meeting, show
up on time & take a seat.

How long will the meeting last?

AA meetings are one hour long, unless otherwise noted in the meeting listing.

Do I have to say anything at a meeting?

Not at all; in fact, you may want to simply observe & listen to get an idea of
what we do & how we recover from alcoholism. Some meetings ask if there is anyone
attending their first AA meeting, and it would be nice if you would introduce yourself
with your first name, but this is not a requirement. We want you to be as comfortable as
possible at your first meeting.

Why are so many meetings in churches?

AA does not own property. Our meetings are located in various places throughout your
community, such as churches, community centers, municipal buildings, and hospitals - in
other words, spaces large enough to hold a meeting - but we are not affiliated 
or aligned with these hosting locations.

If I go to a meeting and don't like it, what should I do?

Try a different meeting! Each group is autonomous, so each has its own way of
conducting a meeting.

What if I see someone I know at a meeting?

If you see someone you know at a meeting, remember that this is an anonymous program.
You should afford them the same level of privacy and confidentiality that you would expect from them.

If I need to have proof that I attended a meeting, how is that handled?

Since we do not keep attendance records because we are anonymous, if you require proof
that you attended an AA meeting you must bring paperwork with you that can be signed or
initialed by the person who led the meeting discussion. This will be done for you at the
end of the meeting. Also, you will want to search for "Open" meetings under Type
of Meeting. "Closed" meetings do not sign this paperwork as a general rule.

If there are no membership dues or registration fees, why do AA members
want new people to come to AA?

The short answer is because we are selfish! Helping the newcomer helps us stay sober.
It's truly that simple. When you look around at your first meeting, consider that every
person you see had to walk into their first meeting when they were getting started.
We know exactly how you feel, and we had the help of people who were already AA members before we
got here.

How do AA groups pay for things like coffee and other supplies if there are
no dues or fees? What's the catch?

We are self-supporting, meaning we exist & operate solely on our own funds through the
voluntary contributions of our members. You will see a collection basket passed around at
meetings. When you attend your first meeting, it is not expected that you will contribute.
If you decide to start attending our meetings, a couple of dollars in the basket will
help us be there for the next person seeking help.

If I have questions after I go to a meeting, what should I do?

The simplest thing to do is simply ask the person seated next to you, or approach the
person who chaired the meeting. If questions occur to you later, you may call our hotline
at 804 355-1212.

You will find basic information about our fellowship on the About AA page
of this website. You may also visit aa.org for more information.
We would also welcome your call if you have additional questions,
and you may reach us at 804 355-1212.

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