Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Is AA?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship of men and women who have had a drinking problem. It is nonprofessional, self-supporting, multiracial, apolitical, and available almost everywhere. There are no age or education requirements. Membership is open to anyone who wants to do something about his or her drinking problem.
(From aa.org/what-is-aa)

AA Preamble

Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. There are no dues or fees for A.A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions. A.A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes. Our primary purpose is to stay sober and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.

© A.A. Grapevine, Inc.; reprinted with permission.

AA can also be defined as:

An informal society of more than 2,000,000 recovering alcoholics in the United States, Canada, and other countries. These men and women meet in local groups, which range in size from a handful in some localities to many hundreds in larger communities. Currently, women make up 35 percent of the total membership. Only you can decide whether you want to give A.A. a try — whether you think it can help you. We who are in A.A. came because we finally gave up trying to control our drinking. We still hated to admit that we could never drink safely. Then we heard from other A.A. members that we were sick. (We thought so for years!) We found out that many people suffered from the same feelings of guilt and loneliness and hopelessness that we did. We found out that we had these feelings because we had the disease of alcoholism. We decided to try and face up to what alcohol had done to us.

Frequently Asked Questions on attending meetings:

Our first suggestion when looking to attend a meeting is to call our office at 202-966-9115 and speak with a volunteer who can help you find a meeting near you or answer questions.

Many resources can be found on the Alcoholics Anonymous website:

WAIA offers short answers to common questions here:

I've never been to an AA meeting - where do I begin?

Head to any open meeting and introduce yourself! (find meetings here)

Volunteers at the WAIA office are available at 202-966-9115 to answer questions about the program or how to attend your first meeting.

We may even be able to find you an AA member who who you can talk to beforehand and meet you at the meeting.

How do I find a meeting?

The website has several ways to search for meetings in the DC Metro area:

Find meetings near me now - this link requests your location from your computer or phone and displays a map of upcoming meetings near your location.

Find meetings near a location - this link allows you to type a location in the search box - like a zip-code, landmark, neighborhood or exact address - and it will display upcoming meetings near that location.

Mind meetings everywhere - this link displays a list of upcoming meetings in the DC Metro area. Use the drop-down menus at the top.

Volunteers at the WAIA office are available at 202-966-9115 to help you find a meeting and may even be able to find you a member who who you can talk to beforehand and meet you at the meeting.

Do I need to be an alcoholic to attend a meeting?

Meetings listed as "Open" are open to anyone looking to find out more about the program. Attendance at closed meetings is limited to persons who have a desire to stop drinking.

Whats the difference between open and closed meetings?

Meetings listed as "Open" are open to anyone looking to find out more about the program. Attendance at closed meetings is limited to persons who have a desire to stop drinking.

These statements are often read at the beginning of open and closed meetings:  "Blue Card"

How do I know if a meeting is still active?

The best way to find out is to attend!

WAIA strives to keep our meeting list current and rarely is a meeting listed which is not active.

If you do attend a meeting which appears to no longer be active, please call our office and we can help you find another nearby: 202-966-9115.

What do I do if I get to a location where the website says a meeting is happening but I can't find it?

Often the entrance to a meeting is on the side or rear of the building. 

If you see someone go into the building, you can ask if they are a "Friend of Bill" and they may be able to show you where it is.

If you do attend a meeting which appears to no longer be active, please call our office and we can help you find another nearby: 202-966-9115.

Can WAIA confirm a meeting is still active for me?

Unfortunately, no. There are too many meetings happening in the area for WAIA to contact one in advance.

If you do attend a meeting which appears to no longer be active, please call our office and we can help you find another nearby: 202-966-9115.

Does WAIA have information on other fellowships such as NA?

WAIA supports the fellowship of Alcoholics Anonymous only. 

AA world services provides this pamphlet for problems other than alcohol.

You can also try: Chesapeake & Potomac Region of Narcotics Anonymous www.cprna.org for NA meetings in the DC area.

Other fellowships have their own websites also.

Volunteers at the WAIA office are available at 202-966-9115 to answer questions about the program or how to attend your first meeting.

Frequently asked questions about WAIA:

What is WAIA?

The Washington Area Intergroup Association is a service board of representatives from the groups in the Washington Area, including Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties, MD, as well as Washington, DC. Its purpose is service work — to help the groups carry the message on an area-wide basis. Just a few examples are: answering the A.A. telephones, publishing the Where & When, taking meetings to hospitals and institutions, and sponsoring various area events.

How is WAIA Organized?

There are officers and an executive committee elected for one year terms, but most major issues are voted on by the full intergroup. Some of the Intergroup service work is done by its various committees, and some is done at its Central Office. WAIA asks each group to elect a representative to serve on the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors meets at 8:00 PM on the 2nd Tuesday of each month, except August. The Board elects an Executive Committee which responds to member and group concerns, making recommendations to the board.

The Board currently meets at:

The Church In Bethesda
5033 Wilson Lane
Bethesda, MD 20814

Resources

What is the Central Office?

This is the place where volunteers answer the A.A. phones 12 hours a day (night calls are re-routed to the homes of Night Watch volunteers). This is also where A.A. literature is sold, and the Where and When and the area newsletter are published. The office also serves as a clearinghouse for information on area activities.

Phone calls from Central Office come from the number 202-966-9782 please put this number in your phone in addition to the main number if you have signed up for 12th step service so you know it's the office calling!

What are the WAIA committees?

The Committees of WAIA are organized to carry out the duties of the organization such as office, outreach, hospitals and institutions (H&I) activities.

A partial list of committees with pages on the site are:

What is the difference between AA and WAIA?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an international fellowship

WAIA will be adding more content to this section soon. In the meantime if you have questions about the program please call the WAIA office at 202-966-9115 or visit the AA General Services Office website: www.aa.org.