Carry the Message
Taking advantage of technological advances,
AA members with computers
can participate in meetings online,
sharing with fellow alcoholics across the country
or around the world.
Fundamentally, though, the difference
between an electronic meeting
and the home group around the corner
is only one of format.
In any meeting, anywhere, AA's share experience,
strength, and hope with each other,
in order to stay sober and help other alcoholics.
Modem-to-modem or face-to-face,
AA's speak the language of the heart
in all its power and simplicity.
c. 2001AAWS, Alcoholics Anonymous, Foreword to Fourth Edition, p. xxiv
Online vs Offline - Is it Real ?
The primary purpose of alcoholics within A.A. is "to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety." There is no distinction whether that be done Online or offline.
Although some believe that A.A's success lies in the sense of support its members gain from attending regular meetings, A.A's literature, holds that the essence of the program is the Twelve Steps.
Most members regard attendance at A.A. meetings important to their sobriety . The AA Grapevine points out, there are groups in A.A. made up of loners and members living in remote locations who communicate by mail and internet.
There is no compulsion or requirement to attend. Members may attend as few or as many meetings as they wish, as frequently or infrequently as they like. No official membership or attendance records are kept at any level in A.A. ONline or offline
A common feature of A.A. meetings ONline or Offline, is that members are asked to speak to the group about their experience with alcoholism and recovery. There is no requirement to speak. Some members speak every time they are asked; others simply sit and listen in meetings even for years before they say anything, or may choose to never speak.
Many A.A. groups use the famous Serenity and Lord's Prayer just like some Online "AA" meetings.
There is no official creed of A.A. belief about alcoholism, since individual members are free to believe whatever they wish based on their own experiences.
Even the core 12-step program is presented to members as being suggested rather than mandatory. ONline or Offline
The affairs of A.A. are governed broadly by A.A.'s Twelve Traditions and the Twelve Concepts. A.A. has a minimal amount of organized structure. There is no hierarchy of leaders and no formal control structure. ONline or Offline
Individual A.A. members and groups cannot be compelled to do anything by "higher" A.A. authorities. Each A.A. group, small or large, is considered a self-supporting and self-governing entity.
A.A. itself is not in favor of any person being coerced to attend its meetings. The experience of A.A. has long suggested that the program works best for people who attend of their own free will. ONline or Offline
No two AA groups are alike. There is an enormous diversity among groups reflecting unique features of the particular group and the individuals who constitute it.
AA's Fourth Tradition states that "Each group should be autonomous except in matters affecting other groups or AA as a whole." This is not just empty talk, as anyone who has sampled the wide variety of AA meetings knows well.
There is a tremendous kaleidoscopic variation of emphasis, emotional tone, meeting philosophy, readings and ritual, and informal group norms from one group to another.
This seems to be one of AA's "secrets of success" and guarantees that when there are enough groups to choose from, a newcomer will be able to find something that closely matches his needs if only he is willing to look. ONline or offline.
AA meetings vary considerably in their particular readings and rituals from place to place, even within the same general geographic location or as vast as the world wide web. Each meeting has its own style of opening and closing.
Meetings online or offline sound strangely similar. Yes it is true an Online meeting does not take place in a church basement or a hotel lounge on sunday or in a clubhouse.
But it does take place every day 24/7 where ever the hand of a suffering alcoholic can reach out and Log in. Not your Traditional AA meeting but none the less REAL.
Agree to disagree but remember the First Tradition " Our common welfare should come first; personal recovery depends on AA unity" Online and Offline