New to AA?

Getting Started

If you are thinking of attending an AA meeting, or are still new to the program, here are a few recommended things to do as you begin your journey to sobriety:

  • If you are uncertain whether you are an alcoholic, read Is AA for You? and take a self-assessment
  • Contact Heart of Virginia through their phone hotline, (434) 293-6565, or email, for assistance
  • Read about what AA is, and how it works
  • Also take a bit of time to review AA’s many pamphlets for newcomers
  • Read What to Expect at an AA Meeting
  • Locate a meeting and attend
  • Introduce yourself as a newcomer at your first few meetings (it can be intimidating, but very worth it)
  • Ask for names and phone numbers of meeting attendees (most will want you to call if you need help)
  • Ask about how to get a copy of the Big Book, our central piece of AA literature, and Living Sober, a wonderful guide to navigating a new life of sobriety
  • Pick up a white chip (most meetings will offer one), if you feel ready to commit to AA’s program of maintaining continuous sobriety
  • Attend 90 meetings in 90 days, if possible
  • If AA lingo has you wondering what everyone is talking about, read our AA Lingo page
  • Pay attention at meetings to identify members willing to sponsor
  • When you are ready, approach a would-be sponsor about beginning sponsorship and working the 12 Steps, as these constitute the core of the AA program

Growing as Member of AA

After some time attending meetings, we recommend getting involved in the fellowship and service aspects of AA for all the benefits they bring to help keep you sober long-term.

Fellowship takes many forms, from deciding to join a home group (a meeting group with which you wish to become more involved), to attending special group and intergroup events, to socializing with other AA members outside of meetings and AA events. The Heart of Virginia District is fortunate to have a wealth of home groups and events for you to experience the gifts of connecting with other alcoholics. Take advantage!

Service also takes many forms in AA, such as helping out during meetings, assisting individual AA members as much as possible, becoming a sponsor, taking on a position in a committee, and volunteering for Intergroup and District service, and even representing AA at the levels of the Virginia area and the General Service Conference. Detailed information about service in AA can be found on our Service Opportunities page.