Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength, and hope that they may solve their common problem and help others recover from alcoholism. A homegroup is a group of people who are working on the same program. Members of this group typically meet in each other’s homes or in an AA meeting hall to work with one another on their sobriety.
A “Homegroup” in Alcoholics Anonymous is one of the many structures AA members use to help maintain sobriety. The idea is that when someone relapses, they can go back to their home group for support and accountability. Sometimes people will create their own homegroups with other recovering addicts they meet in rehab. Still, it’s becoming more common for people to create homegroups with other members of their AA community.
“Homegroup” In AA
People looking into Alcoholics Anonymous often ask about the “committee” or the “homegroup.” These questions typically stem from confusion (many people think some official committee makes decisions for all groups) or the belief that AA meetings mean meetings where people sit around and complain about their problems. The truth is much different.
Homegroups are an integral part of helping recovering alcoholics stay sober. A group of alcoholics (usually between 5-15) band together to provide support, encouragement, and accountability. All members share a common purpose: to maintain piety by working the 12 steps of the program together. Homegroups are one of the cornerstones of Alcoholics Anonymous, and new members are expected to find a homegroup within their first year or so of sobriety. Homegroups typically meet weekly. They usually have an “open” format where people just show up whenever they want.
Sometimes there is a designated topic for each meeting, but more often than not, it’s simply about sharing experience, strength, and hope with one another. Members simply share their stories, tell who helped them this week, talk about how they handled temptation or what else has been going on in their lives since the last time everyone gathered together. There are no dues or fees associated with being part of AA. There is no vetting process to become a member or to become a part of the group.
There is no central committee in charge (there are, however, state delegates that assist groups if they get into real trouble). The “committee” simply consists of people coming together just like you at their home group meetings. People looking for help often ask if there’s some kind of “secret handshake.” There isn’t one. Once you find an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near your home, go check it out. You do not have to stay sober or even be interested in staying sober after you go.
Just show up at one of the meetings and listen to what people have to say – the chances are good that you’ll be able to identify with at least some of what people talk about. After a while, you’ll be able to introduce yourself and say a few words if you feel comfortable. You don’t have to give your entire life story the first time you go – people understand that this is a process. AA meetings are not intimidating. The only requirement for membership in Alcoholics Anonymous is a desire to stop drinking. If you think that might be something that you’d like to do, then take it one day at a time and start going to some meetings near where you live.
A home group can take various forms depending upon local tradition, the makeup of the group, etc. In general, however, there’s very little bureaucracy associated with homegroups beyond what each individual member wants to put into place themselves. AA is a non-profit, volunteer organization. Each homegroup fits into the local community and operates independently from other groups – just like any other business or club in your area. It’s up to each group (and its members) how it does things – there are no rules about what can or cannot be done within an AA meeting.
At Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, you’ll hear stories of recovery and talk with people who’ve lived through experiences similar to yours. You will find people who understand what you’re going through and want to support you while working toward recovery. There is no dues or fees for attending these meetings – only the requirement that everyone works the 12 steps as part of their own recovery.
Many people who come back after relapsing find their homegroup has been patiently waiting for them to return. If you’ve lost hope and are now ready to put the bottle down forever, then we encourage you to seek out an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting near your home or the place where you spend most of your time. Many meetings have telephone helplines that can put you in touch with a nearby meeting. Call us today at 833-680-0165, and we’ll tell you everything we know about AA meetings in your area.