If you’re new to the program, you might hear people talking about a certain meeting being their “home group” and not really being sure what that means. A home group is like your home base of meetings. It is a meeting that you attend on a regular basis, where people know you, and ideally where you have a commitment.
What’s a commitment you might say? Good question. A commitment is a job or function at an AA meeting. It can be anything from setting up the chairs, to leading the meeting, to making coffee, among many others. Commitments are great because they give us not only a sense of connection to the meeting, but a sense of being useful as well. When you join a group, ask if there are any open commitments and sign up for one. If there aren’t any, find other ways to be useful like greeting people when they come in or helping clean up or set up. Help is always appreciated.
When seeking out a home group, take a little time to find one that is right for you. While all registered meetings agree to follow the program, not all meetings are created equal. And not every meeting is going to be for you. Some meetings are small and intimate. Some have big crowds where you have to show up early and claim your seat. There are mixed meetings and male or female only. Some meetings have speakers where you can just sit back and listen. And some meetings are discussion format. In some of those you raise your hand and are called on. In others, the leader calls on people, the prospect of which may be terrifying to some. All that being said, having a home group where you will have the chance to share often is important to consider as it helps keep you accountable and also helps people get to know you. You will see different meeting formats in the Pink Cloud filter settings and you can search based on ones that are appealing to you.
Just as we have flexibility in determining our own definition of a higher power , we also have the ability to choose our own home group. The important thing is to have one. You might get lucky and find one that you really click with on your first try. But odds are it’s going to take a little while to find your home group. So attend a lot of different meetings. Ask your new friends in the program what meetings they like to go to and what they like about it. Hey, asking somebody about their home group is a great conversation starter when you’re feeling a little uncomfortable as a new person and just want to talk with someone.
Different AA groups all follow a set of guidelines laid out by the AA World Services office. However, there are many areas in which groups have autonomy over how they conduct business. Through the group conscience and steering committee meetings, groups members help share in the decisions that affect the direction and spirit of a certain group. As a home group member you will get to be a part of that process. Topics can range anywhere from what type of coffee should be served to meeting formats to how best to maintain good relations with the organization that provides the meeting space.
Home groups are very important to the AA program. And we wish you the best of luck in finding one for yourself. You will most likely find that your home group starts to feel just like its name: like a home. You will develop friendships, feel connected, and feel supported.