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What is Back-to-Basics?

There was a period in the history of Alcoholics Anonymous when the program produced an estimated 75%  recovery rate from alcoholism. This was unheard of at the time. The phenomenal success rate of the early AA members was due to a simple format that was used in those days to enable beginners to take all 12 steps in 4 meetings. This format could be used right away. It enabled them to quickly receive the help they needed via a life-changing spiritual awakening. Back then, if you had a drinking problem, you could telephone Alcoholics Anonymous for help and AA would respond by sending two people out to see you. Here is what these ex-problem drinkers would do for the person suffering:

  • They would talk about their personal experiences with alcohol and how they found a way out

  • They would tell the newcomer that, as part of their recovery, they try to be of service to others

  • The newcomer would be assigned a sponsor whose responsibility it is to accompany the newcomer to Alcoholics Anonymous Beginner’s Meetings

  • The newcomer would then take all Twelve Steps in one month.

  • The new comer's life changes, and the desire to drink leaves them. Many never drank again.

AA’s remarkable recovery rate during the 1940s was due, in large part, to these Back-to-Basics Beginners Meetings. For many thousands of alcoholics, the Beginner’s Meetings became “the foundation stone of their recovery.”

The book we are reading from is our textbook for recovery. This is the only book we will use during these sessions, except for an occasional reference to an AA pamphlet, newsletter article, or source material used to write the Big Book, and one other article by a psychologist about media addiction.

The “Big Book” was first published in April 1939. It was written by several of the first 100 men to recover from alcoholism. Since then, alcoholics and addicts of all kinds have used this book as a program of recovery. We in Media Addicts Anonymous are here to pass on the AA program as written and practiced by the early members so that you too can recover from media addiction.
These type of Beginners’ Meetings began in the early 1940’s when AA started growing so rapidly it became impossible for the older members to individually take new prospects through the Steps. The sessions were formalized in a September 1944 pamphlet titled Alcoholics Anonymous – An Interpretation of our Twelve Steps, published by the Washington, D.C. Group. The preface to the pamphlet contains the following:

“These meetings are held for the purpose of acquainting both the old and new members with the 12 steps upon which our program is based.So that all twelve steps may be covered in a minimum amount of time, they are divided into four classifications, and one [session] will be devoted to each of the four subdivisions.”

Our purpose for these four month sessions are to provide a safe, structured environment where participants learn the principles of recovery, take the Twelve Steps, and have a life-changing spiritual experience.

What are the Back-to-Basics Open Intergroup Meetings?

Open Back-to-Basics are meetings to begin to use right away before you join a Committed Closed Back-to-Basics group. These meeting support members after they "graduate" from the committed sobriety meetings to continue to work the steps.

BEFORE & BEYOND BACK-TO-BASICS are open weekly meetings for:

  • new members interested in starting the 12 Steps right away

  • members who want to begin working the 12 Steps prior to the start of one of the Closed B2B group sessions, or as an aftercare program following the completion of a three-month Closed B2B sobriety group

Similar to the Closed Back-to-Basics sobriety groups, Open B2B meetings use the original Back-to-Basics format which is essentially a Big Book Step Study meeting. In Open groups, we read one section of the B2B lessons per week (whereas the Closed groups complete one lesson each day (M-F).  In this way, we complete all Twelve Steps in four months in Open B2B. After the reading on the Steps, we open up the meeting for member sharing.


Open meetings will allow time for number exchange if you are looking for one-on-one sponsorship or a media action partner. Writing assignments are optional but encouraged.


Join us for either of these two weekly Zoom meetings (Wednesday 8pm ET or Thursday 8am ET) designed for past and present Back-to-Basics members who want more ongoing support to stay media sober one day at a time. There are no abstinence requirements to attend these meetings and all are welcome!



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