"Our membership ought to include all who suffer from alcoholism. Hence we refuse none who wish to recover. Nor ought A.A. membership ever depend upon money or conformity. Any two or three alcoholics gathered together for sobriety may call themselves an A.A. group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation." (Tradition Three, long form)
"The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking." (Tradition Three) Thus, group membership requires no formal application. Just as we are members of A.A. because we say we are, so are we members of a group if we say we are.
Most A.A. members meet in A.A. groups as defined by the long form of our Third Tradition. However, some members hold A.A. meetings that differ from the common understanding of a group. These members simply gather at a set time and place for a meeting, perhaps for convenience or other speecial situations. The main difference between meetings and groups is that groups generally continue to exist outside the prescribed meeting hours, ready to provide Twelfth Step help when needed.
No. A.A. meetings are all open to anyone with a desire to stop drinking. AA Tokyo has fewer English language meetings than many cities, so a special effort is made to welcome newcomers to any meeting, If you desire to identify yourself as newcomer, the meeting format will, in many cases, revert to a first step meeting where members talk about what it was like, what happened, and what it is like now, with special emphasis on the First Step.
No. A.A. does not keep membership files, or attendance records. You do not have to reveal anything about yourself. No one will bother you if you don't want to come back.
The purpose of all A.A. group meetings, as the preamble states, is for A.A. members to "...share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism." Toward this end A.A. groups have both open and closed meetings.
Closed meetings are for A.A. members only, or for those who have a drinking problem and "have a desire to stop drinking."
Open meetings are available to anyone interested in Alcoholics Anonymous' program of recovery from alcoholism. Nonalcoholics may attend open meetings as observers.
At both types of meetings the A.A. chairperson may request that participants confine their discussion to matters pertaining to recovery from alcoholism.
Whether open or closed, A.A. group meetings are conducted by A.A. members who determine the format of their meetings.