What Is A Big Book AA Meeting?

May 2, 2023

AA, or Alcoholics Anonymous, is the world’s largest substance abuse support group. Its 12-Step process and 12 Traditions are based on the belief that recovery is possible through a higher power.

The Big Book is the primary text used to explain the program and to help people in AA find recovery. It contains personal stories from recovering alcoholics and other important information about the program.

AA Meeting Formats

AA meetings are often held in-person, but they can also be online or over the phone. The members of each group decide when and where they meet, and they determine the format of their meetings.

A meeting usually opens with a chairperson, secretary, or both reading the AA Preamble and prayers before opening up the meeting to discussion. Some chairs will also include a reading of the Big Book or conference approved literature.

Then, a member will read from their own personal stories about alcoholism and how they were helped by AA. This helps establish trust and intimacy between members.

Some AA groups also conduct speaker meetings where they ask members to share their personal story and what sobriety has meant to them. These meetings are upbeat and typically have a lot of laughter and applause.

The Big Book

The Big Book is the main text of Alcoholics Anonymous, the world’s largest alcohol recovery program. Since its first publication in 1939, it has helped millions of men and women find sobriety.

The personal stories in the Big Book detail the experiences of people who have recovered from alcohol addiction using the AA 12-Step program. These accounts provide alcoholics with hope that they too can find sobriety.

A typical AA meeting is led by a chairperson or secretary who opens the group with the Serenity Prayer, and then goes on to read from conference-approved literature such as “How It Works” from the Big Book and one or more of the 12 Traditions.

After the reading, members discuss what they learned and share their experience. Depending on the group’s format, these meetings may also include other types of readings, discussions, speakers, and more.

Personal Stories

AA meetings, and especially the Big Book, are packed with inspiring stories of people who have overcome addiction and found lasting sobriety. They offer hope and guidance to others in similar situations, providing a sense of belonging and motivation.

In the AA meetings, sponsors often use personal stories of their own recovery to illustrate how they overcame their addictions. They may talk about how the 12-Steps helped them achieve long-term sobriety and give their readers a sense of encouragement to follow these principles.

One of the most popular personal stories comes from a doctor who was both an alcoholic and an addict of prescription pills. He told the story of how he was able to get sober by living life on his terms and accepting things as they were.

It is important to remember that a personal narrative should be written in a way that shows, not tells. It should contain key lessons and takeaways that the reader can apply to their own lives.


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