(freedom from alcohol)
through the teaching and practice of the Twelve Steps,
is the sole purpose of an AA group.
Groups have repeatedly tried other activities and they have always failed.
by Bill W. -- A.A. Grapevine, February, 1958

AA meetings...
A difference of format, purpose, and value.

Original source of article below:

Originally, AA meetings consisted of several AAs meeting in a member's home, oftentimes in the company of their mates (there was no Al-anon yet). The meetings had two purposes:

One was to show newcomers (alcoholics and their spouses) that others who suffered from alcoholism had taken the Steps to recovery and they had actually recovered from an otherwise chronic, progressive, and fatal disease.

The other purpose of the meeting was to exchange information and ideas that would help members of the group help newcomers.
In time, some groups grew too large to meet in somebody's living room or parlor; the Akron group moved into a local schoolroom.
Around 1940, the First Edition of the basic text of Alcoholics Anonymous was available, newspapers and national magazines published articles about the "new cure," AAs 12-Step Program of Recovery, and thousands of newcomers overwhelmed the fledgling fellowship; AA meetings became a means of organizing teams of AAs to help the newcomers take all the steps in less than a month. New men found themselves 12-stepping others immediately after attending their first AA meeting -- they were in a car with other AAs on their way to help a drunk after the meeting. Read Clarence Snyder's story.

Fifteen years later, a series of essays written by Bill W. were published in the "Twelve and Twelve" -- intended to clarify AA doctrine, some people found it easier to read the essays than the Basic 164-page text preceded by the critically-important "Doctor's Opinion." As a result, newcomers to AA began to missed some very important points that other AAs assumed everyone knew. After the mid-50's, AA's legendary 75% recovery rate began to decline. by 1965, it was down to 50%.

Almost fifteen years after the "12&12" hit the street, the Grapevine Magazine published an article advocating "discussion meetings." Discussion of the contents of the Big Book was a worthy goal, but somehow, the message was distorted. As a result, discussions ranged widely; they were not focused on the doctrine developed by the co-founders of AA, the First 100, or the people they sponsored. As Bill feared, without clear, concise, written instructions, "The Message" began to change as it was passed from member to member by word of mouth.

About that time, the health care industry began developing "treatment" and "treatment centers" to help alcoholics and drug addicts recover from their various afflictions. Their multi-disciplinary approach attempted to fix all of their patients' physical, mental, and emotional problems. Until then, AA had focused solely on overcoming the "spiritual malady," thereby causing a profound psychic change that revolutionized the alcoholic's thinking and behavior. By 1980, only one-third of the newcomers flocking to now-popular AA recovered and stayed active in the fellowship.

With the passage of time and a reduction of focus on the Basic Text, AA's central office last reported that fewer than 5% of newcomers to AA recovered and remained active in the fellowship. Treatment centers experienced similar poor success rates, patients who relapsed repeatedly, returning to out-patient and residential treatment three, five, or more times before they recovered permanently - if they ever recovered. AA groups experienced the same phenomenon as they put more emphasis on discussion meetings and focused less and less on twelfth-step work (after all, the courts and the treatment centers were now dealing with the still-suffering alcoholic and almost certainly, they referred all the newcomers to AA sooner or later).

By the year 2000, sixty years after a highly-effective solution became popular, the Fellowship of AA has become ineffective. (note)
Few AA meetings focus on the Basic Text or the Twelve-Step Program of recovery so clearly expressed in the Big Book. Open Discussion meetings, attended by large numbers of people who have not studied the Basic Text, tend to create forums for wide-ranging discussions that have little in common with the 12-Step program of AA. Many of them seem identical to the "group therapy" meetings held in treatment centers where virtually everything except overcoming the spiritual malady is discussed.


Alcoholics Anonymous - Page 17: The tremendous fact for everyone of us is that we have discovered a common solution. We have a way out on which we can absolutely agree, and upon which we can join in brotherly and harmonious action. This is the great news this book carries to those who suffer from alcoholism.

'' is dedicated to providing internet exposure for FL Big Book based meetings that focus on the 'Solution' found in the first 164 pages of the basic text. This site does not represent the views of Alcoholics Anonymous, the AA General Service Office, AA World Services, The AA Grapevine, any central office, AA group or meeting. For information about AA and AA meetings or literature, please reference the official AA (GSO) Web Site or check other resources online or in your phone book.

Note: Any Member of the AA Fellowship is welcome at any meeting.

Questions about

Home | What is 164FL? | Where are the meetings?
Links to AA related stuff | AA in Florida | AA in the Tampa Area
Links to AA Audio | Link to 164 Speaks Audio files
Link to request 164 Group membership |
Need a Sponsor? | Need a Sponsee?

164 Group - AA Tampa FL
164@ 301 House - AA Tampa, FL

164 USF - AA Tampa, FL
164 Wesley Chapel - AA Wesley Chapel, FL

Mad Dogs - AA Temple Terrace, FL
How We Have Recovered Group, Z-Hills, FL
Alcoholics Anonymous