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Were You Court-Ordered to Attend A.A. Meetings?

You’re not alone…and you’re not the first!

Many of us were sent to our first A.A. meetings by judges as a result of being arrested for drunk driving, family disputes, or some other problem involving alcohol. Some of us were sent here by our employers.

If you’ve come to A.A. for any of these reasons, you probably have some questions. We hope the following information will be helpful to you.

Here’s What A.A. Says About A.A.

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. Alcoholics Anonymous is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization, or institution. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and to help other alcoholics achieve sobriety.

Millions of people have found recovery through A.A., including many who were sent by the courts or their employers. There are A.A. meetings in virtually every country in the world!

While some who are sent to A.A. attend the required meetings and never come back, others keep coming back because they find that A.A. helps them live without alcohol.

A.A. is not part of the court system. We do not work for the courts or the police department. We do not ask the courts to send people to us. When people show up with court cards or slips to be signed, we are not responsible for making sure they are sober.

If a judge, court, school, or employer has sent you to A.A. meetings, it is because they believe there is evidence that you may have a drinking problem. We had nothing to do with their decision, but A.A. does provide information about alcoholism to interested parties.

If You Come, Please Remember a Few Points

  • We offer regularly scheduled meetings (not classes) and there is no enrollment. You are a welcome guest.
  • While most meetings will sign court cards or slips, some will not. It’s up to each individual meeting to decide. Since A.A. is not allied with the court system, A.A. is not required to do the court’s work. If you arrive at a meeting early, you can ask the secretary or leader if they will sign your card or slip.
  • If you were not given a court card, you will need to create your own. On a lined piece of paper make 3 columns and title them: DATE, MEETING NAME and SIGNATURE. Bring this paper to every meeting you attend.
  • For online meetings, join early and ask the meeting leader or secretary what their practice is for attendance verification (usually via email).
  • If a meeting leader or secretary agrees to sign your court card, they will probably just sign their first name or initials. We are personally anonymous. We are not court employees.
  • Many meetings are “open,” so anyone may attend. Some are “closed,” which are meetings for alcoholics only.
  • If you have any questions, please ask them before the meeting starts, during a meeting break, or when the meeting is over. You can always find someone willing to talk to you and answer your questions.
  • The people who voluntarily attend regular A.A. meetings are alcoholics. They come from all walks of life.
  • In A.A. we respect all members’ anonymity. While you are free to take, repeat, and use any of the ideas or concepts that you hear at a meeting, please do not identify anyone you heard or saw there.
  • The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking.
  • There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership. We are fully self-supporting through our own contributions. We pass the basket to pay our rent and expenses.


No one can tell you that you are alcoholic. People may point out indications that you have a drinking problem… loss of control, drunk driving, arrests, lost jobs, broken marriages or relationships, blackouts, the shakes, etc. Only you can decide if you are an alcoholic, then we invite you to keep coming back.

Reprinted with permission from the A.A. Grapevine.


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