Selecting a Meeting Topic

Although good sponsorship can be a tremendous aid to a strong and successful sobriety, it must include everything possible with respect to being a "good AA citizen," too. As we grow in recovery, our ability to add to an AA group's activities must also grow. One facet of that "good citizenship" centers on the personal development of a sober AA to be an effective part of his group's functions -- in this case, making sure that meetings are accessible and effective.

Redux has mentioned before -- with respect to AA's newest members -- that our meetings are the "tip of the spear." Frightened, confused alcoholics who are attending one of their first AA meetings may be unable to actually use much of what is shared, but those of us who are more experienced know that even a few understandable, important bits of information and hope about AA and sobriety can mean everything at this stage.

This short section of Redux is actually a "pass out" sheet which was adopted by a local group at one of their group conscience meetings. The idea was a response to a realization that the group's normal routine for setting a meeting topic seemed to either intimidate or otherwise exclude some of the newer members from participating in the open discussion.

The standard process for this meeting had been to ask some member to read a few paragraphs from our basic text to set the meeting topic. The difficulty arose with the large number of members who had not attended many meetings or actually read the Big Book yet. They seemed reluctant to participate because they were unfamiliar with the casual protocol of our open discussion meetings or inexperienced with some aspect of the topic which had been chosen.

The change was simple enough. The reading would continue as before, but after the reading, a specific one or two word topic would be presented which recapped the message selected from our written text. Further, the member selecting the topic was encouraged to speak directly to the effect or result the topic might have had on his own sobriety.

The "hand out" topic selection material is included below.

Setting the Topic for Our Meeting -- 3 Easy Parts

Thank you for volunteering to select a meeting topic. The general format for this process is in three parts.

  1. Select a quotation from any approved AA literature. This short reading (usually one or two paragraphs) presents some formal AA subject matter you wish to share with the meeting.
  2. Summarize your topic with a one or two word recap of the topic you have selected. Some examples of topic recaps are available on the list below. You are encouraged to select a reading and a topic along the same theme or idea, but this is not required. If your topic does not appear on the list, feel free to select any program theme you think will be helpful.  Note that each of our Twelve Steps is included in the list -- all great meeting topics, even for our newest members!
  3. Recount your personal experience with this part of the AA program. Please remember that our meeting is listed as a beginner’s group and direct your comments to ways which can assist newer members to better understand our AA program.
AA Traditions Alcoholic Illusion Alcoholic Insanity
Alcoholic Isolation Alcoholic Loneliness Alcoholic Thinking
Alcoholic: Anonymity Alcoholic: As the Actor Alcoholic: In the Family
Big Book Prayers Big Book Stories Carrying the Message - AA Hope
Daily Inventory Disease of Alcoholism Dishonest Motives
Don’t Take It Too Seriously Easy Does It Effective Spiritual Structure
Example Inventory Fear Fear Inventory
Fellowship First Drink - No Mental Defense First Things First
Fit Spiritual Condition Fourth Dimension Fourth Step Prayer
God Consciousness Good or Dishonest Motives Higher Power
Honesty Hopelessness and Hope How It Works
Humility and Humiliation Hurt or Threatened Life on a Spiritual Basis
Live and Let Live Lying Meditation in Sobriety
No Middle of the Road Solution Perfection Practicing AA Principles
Prayer Real or Imaginary Recovery From Alcoholism
Relapse - Drinking Again Resentment Secrets and Openness
Self-Centeredness Self-Delusion Self-Pity
Self-Reliance Self-Seeking Self-Seeking
Self-Will Selfishness Serenity
Serenity in Calamity Sex Inventory Sex, Security and Society
Sixth - Seventh Step Prayer Sober Living Sobriety and Recovery
Spiritual Awakening Spiritual Experience Spiritual Malady
Spiritual Principles Spiritual Progress Sponsorship
Staying Sober Step 1 Step 2
Step 3 Step 4 Step 5
Step 6 Step 7 Step 8
Step 9 Step 10 Step 11
Step 12 Stop Fighting The AA Meeting
The Grouch and the Brainstorm Third Step Prayer What He Would Have us be
Work After Recovery Working With Others