AA Lingo

Speaking AA

As a newcomer to AA, and maybe even as a someone with months or years of involvement in the fellowship, you might encounter unfamiliar terms in literature and at AA meetings and events. Below are definitions for some of the most common ones. If you would like to propose additions or changes to these definitions, please send an email to aacharlottesville@gmail.com.

Acronyms and Abbreviations


  • Al-Anon — A sister organization to AA, along with Alateen, offering support for family members and friends concerned about a loved one’s drinking problem. More information.
  • Big Book — AA’s basic text, dating from the earlier years of the program, describing the program of recovery, and offering stories of members who have recovered from alcoholism. More information.
  • Closed Meeting — Closed meetings are for A.A. members only or for those who have a drinking problem and “have a desire to stop drinking. Find a closed meeting.
  • District Committee Member (DCM) — A District Committee Member, or DCM, represents the AA district at the level of the GSO
  • General Service Conference — The body representing the collective group conscience of a AA home groups in the U.S. and Canada, made up of delegates elected by area committees, the AA General Service Board, conference committees, and trustees’ committees. Holds a yearly meeting, usually in April, at which discussion and votes occur on matters concerning AA as a whole.
  • General Service Office (GSO) — The General Service Office serves as a hub of communication for AA groups in the U.S. and Canada and as an exchange point for AA experience accumulated over the years. GSO staff coordinate a wide array of activities and services. Also located at GSO is Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc., which oversees the publication, translation and distribution of AA literature. More information.
  • General Service Representative (GSR) — A group member elected to connect your homegroup to AA as a whole.
  • Grapevine — Our monthly magazine, a meeting in print, and now available online via an app.
  • Heart of Virginia District — District number 9 of the Virginia Area of AA in the United States. Located in central Virginia, including Charlottesville and surrounding counties.
  • Home Group — An AA group where you become an active member and participate in group conscience or “business” meetings.
  • Intergroup — AA service office that coordinates local services.
  • Open Meeting — Open meetings are available to anyone interested in Alcoholics Anonymous’s program of recovery from alcoholism. Nonalcoholics may attend open meetings as observers.
  • Twelve Steps — The basic program of recovery followed by AA members, developed by AA founders and described in the Big Book and other AA literature.
  • Twelve Traditions — The suggested principles to insure survival and growth and promote unity of the fellowship.
  • Virginia Area Committee (VAC) — Consists of GSRs, DCMs, Officers, Committee Chairs, Special Assignment Coordinators, Delegate, and Alternate Delegate. Holds two Assemblies yearly to conduct the “business” of the Area and follow the model of the General Service Conference.
  • Virginia Area Delegate — An elected member for a 2-year term to represent our Area at the annual General Service Conference.