A Guide for the Newcomer
Make a Start
• You have made a decision. You’ve taken Step One and said to yourself, “Yes, l’m one of those people who are powerless over alcohol. My life has become unmanageable. I can’t stop drinking and l want help.” You have discovered, as it says in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, that alcohol is “cunning, baffling and powerful.”
• In order to stop drinking, and stay stopped, there are a few simple principles that you will need to apply to your life.
• These principles are AA’s program of recovery. They can work for you as effectively as they have worked for others. Following are some suggestions which we feel will be of help to you on your path to recovery.
Live One Day at a Time
• Alcoholics Anonymous is a “one day at a time” way of living. We try to break life into small pieces we can handle. We stay sober one day at a time, or when necessary, one hour at a time. We do our jobs one task at a time. We solve our problems one problem at a time. We clean up our past one mess at a time.
• And we conscientiously try to turn our lives and our will over to the care of a power greater than ourselves. In learning to apply the AA principles to our lives, we ask for help from other AA members, from our sponsors and from our Higher Power who most of us come to depend upon for our recovery.
Go to Meetings
• All over Australia every day of the year, early morning, afternoon and evening there is help in the form of meetings for you and for every alcoholic who wants help.
• Use the handy meeting lists produced by AA Victoria Central Service Office (CSO), AA NSW Central Service Office (CSO) and Tasmania Northern Districts which you can get from most of the literature tables at meetings or go online to our mobile friendly websites;
• The websites (referred to) lists meetings from all over Australia as well as events. Every member of AA should have a copy of a current meetings list for your State. Go to as many meetings as you can.
• You will also find a list of AA meetings in AA;s Monthly Magazines, such as “The AA News” (Melbourne, Victoria and the “AA Reviver” (Sydney,NSW).
Get a Sponsor
• A few members may tell you that they got sober without the aid of a sponsor and they may be telling the truth. However, our AA experience tells us that you will have a much better chance with a sponsor than without one. In AA you will probably find that your sponsor is a vital part of your recovery.
• Your sponsor will listen to you and give you suggestions; share experience of what works; point out trouble spots and help you decide what to do about them. In other words, your sponsor helps you to understand the AA program and guides you along the path of recovery.
• Though sponsors can’t solve your problems, they help you to address them with honesty, courage and to find solutions using the AA program.
• You can usually count on sponsors to do their part and encourage you to do yours.
Get a Home Group
• When some of us were introduced to AA through a particular group, we thought we had been assigned to that group and should not go to other meetings. Nothing could be further from the truth. Please visit many groups, this will assist you in finding a home group. You are also encouraged to get as many phone numbers as you can. These will prove helpful in tough times.
• There are many different types of groups available. Most AA members have found it important to belong to one group which they call their “Home Group”. This is the group where you accept responsibilities, are challenged to keep growing and where you feel you have so many real friends you can’t afford to stay away. The home group you choose should be one where you can get sober, stay sober and feel a part of.
• Over the years, the home group has remained the strongest bond between the AA member and the Fellowship. This home group will be your solid foundation and your introduction to the exciting world of Alcoholics Anonymous.
Read these Books
• As soon as you can, we suggest that you read these important books (often referred to as AA literature) which explain the AA program of recovery, our history, and our Traditions. Some of these books are:
• We suggest that you read them, and reread them. They can be a constant source of inspiration and understanding. Many of us begin our “Quiet Time” by reading a paragraph or chapter from one of them. They are the basic source of our program of recovery. Other AA literature is available and can be found on the literature tables at most AA meetings.
• A huge range of literature is available at your CSO.
We feel it is helpful as you travel the road to happy sobriety.
• There are excellent state based AA magazines that most of us read such as “The AA News” and the “AA Reviver” which is published monthly and is filled with helpful articles for the alcoholic who wants to get well and stay that way. It helps you to stay in the loop. They can also be found at the state based Australian Central Service Offices of Alcoholics Anonymous.
• The CSO also has CD’s available which include the book Alcoholics Anonymous and Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions and others.
Include the Family
• It is said that the average practicing alcoholic affects the lives of at least five other people and that alcoholism is a family disease. We find that the family that gets sick together can often recover together. The best way to do this is to share your program of recovery with them. The following are some of the AA activities you can share with your family.
• Take your spouse, other family members and interested friends to hear the stories of AA speakers and to share in the Fellowship of other AA families. Open AA meetings are listed with AA Central Service Offices around Australia: meeting lists are found in booklets, the monthly AA Magazines and online at AA Central Service Office websites and social media pages.
• Group Anniversaries, Dances, Weekends, Founders Day Celebrations, Mini Conventions and other social events are available for AA members and their families.
• Often at these events, Al-Anon and Alateen meetings are held at the same time.
• Keep up with latest AA Events from Central Service Offices Mail outs, and their mobile friendly websites AA Victoria Central Service Office (CSO), AA NSW Central Service Office (CSO)
• Follow the offices’ social media pages
• The Al-Anon Family Groups designed for members of the alcoholic’s family, hold “closed” meetings just as AA groups do. They use AA’s Twelve Steps of recovery to help them understand the alcoholic and to adjust and improve their own lives. If you would like to know more about Al-Anon Family Groups either contact the CSO or call Al-Anon.
Ask your Group Secretary or CSO Office
• Your AA Central Service Office is a valuable resource for you. The members at the offices would enjoy a visit or call from you for any reason.
• If you need some AA literature and can’t find it ask your group secretary. Much like your sponsor, group secretaries will help you in any way they can, or you can call your Central Service Office on 1300 AA HOPE (1300 22 4673) 24/7 365 days a year.
• Our offices are your offices. Feel free to drop in and have a coffee or tea or soft drink and view the archives which trace back to the early beginnings of Alcoholics Anonymous in Australia.
• You can also volunteer to help out with a variety of day to day tasks that are done by a small army of volunteers keeping the offices doing their jobs of helping the still sick and suffering alcoholic.
When you Travel
• You will find helpful members in almost every city and town in Australia and most parts of the free world. It is suggested that you take your Big Book for quick reference when needed.
• Whenever you travel around Australia, take your AA meetings lists with you as well as interstate contact details.
• Look in the phone book in most cities under “Alcoholics Anonymous” and you will find either an answering service or an AA Central Office that will help you make an AA contact. You are never very far from an AA meeting.