This is part two of a series focusing on the terms used in Alcoholics Anonymous.


A fellowship refers to a group of people who share similar goals. Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship where the common goal is to stay sober.

Geographical Cure

This is when people try to escape their alcoholism by moving to a new location. Such attempts are unlikely to be successful because the individual will take their addiction with them.


This is when people have an inflated sense of their own importance. Grandiosity can prevent people from benefiting from the AA meetings. A sense of humility and open-mindedness is required in order to learn from other people.

Gratitude List

Negative thinking can be dangerous for people who are recovering from an addiction. A gratitude list is where people write down all the good things in their life. Looking at such a list can encourage positivity.

Group Conscious

AA is a democratic fellowship. If there are any important decisions to be made that will affect a group then there needs to be a vote. This is usually held before the regular meeting and all members get to have their say.


HALT is an acronym for; hunger, anger, lonely, and tired. These are common relapse triggers that need to be avoided.

High Bottom Drunk

Many people manage to escape their alcohol addiction before they cause too much damage to their life. Such individuals are referred to as high bottom drunks.

Higher Power

A vital element of the AA program is accepting that some higher power can help the individual defeat their addiction. For many people, this higher power is thoughts of as God. This is why non-believers can feel comfortable with AA. There is no rule that says that people need to have God as their higher power. They may decide to choose the power of the group to be their higher power instead.

Hitting Rock Bottom

Hitting rock bottom does not mean that the individual needs to lose everything in order to become sober. They just have to reach a point where they’ve had enough. Some people will hit rock bottom without causing too much damage to their life. It is up to each individual to decide when they’ve had enough.

Home Group

Most AA members will have one group that they attend most frequently. This is referred to as their home group. It is beneficial to have one regular group because it makes it possible to build relationships with other members.

Low Bottom Drunk

Some individuals have to lose plenty in life before they are finally ready to admit defeat. Such people are sometimes referred to as low bottom drunks.

Ninety in Ninety

This refers to the advice that new members attend ninety meetings in ninety days. This will allow them time to build a good foundation in the program. It will also ensure that they have adequate support during the treacherous early months of sobriety.

Old Timer

This is a member who has many years of sobriety. Such individuals can be resource to turn to for inspiration and advice.

Open Meeting

This is a meeting that is open to the general public. If people are concerned about protecting their anonymity, they might want to avoid open meetings.

Oxford Group

The Oxford Group was an evangelical Christian movement that inspired the founding members of AA. Much of the 12 Step program came directly from this group. AA split from the Oxford Group to make it open to people of all religious backgrounds.

Pink Cloud

Early sobriety can be an emotional rollercoaster. The pink cloud refers to a period when members can feel overwhelmingly happy. Such high feelings may be dangerous if people become overconfident about their recovery. The individual can also feel a sense of disappointment when the pink cloud ends.


This is read at the start of AA meetings and outlines the primary purpose of the group: helping people stay sober.


On page 83 of the Big Book is a list of promises that outline what people can expect if they faithfully follow the program. Included is the chance to develop serenity.

Recovering Alcoholic

Alcoholics are never cured, they are only recovering.


This occurs when people return to active alcoholism.

Rule 62

This is a reminder to members that they should not take themselves too seriously.


Those who manage to fully incorporate the 12 Step program into their life may reach a stage known as serenity. This means that no matter what is happening in their life they will almost always experience a sense of inner peace. It can take decades before members begin to experience lasting serenity.


Helping other people in recovery is a great way to strengthen sobriety. There are many opportunities for service within AA.


This is when people talk at the meetings.

Shotgun Sobriety

This is when people stay sober out of fear rather than because they are working a good program.


When a person slips, they drink alcohol but automatically realize they have made a mistake. If they get help right away they can avoid a full-blown relapse.

Slippery Places

This refers to any venue where the individual will feel tempted to drink alcohol. Members are advised to not spend too much time around drinking establishments. A common saying in the meetings is if you visit a barber shop regularly enough you will eventually get your hair cut.


Sobriety means more than just staying sober. It also means living a good life and doing the right things.


A sponsor is an experienced member who will be able to provide support and advice on a one to one basis.


A sponsee is a member who benefits from the wisdom of a sponsor.

Step Study Meeting

This is meeting where the main focus is studying the program. Members share about their experience of working the step under discussion.

Stinking Thinking

Negative thinking can be dangerous for people in recovery. They may start to believe that staying sober is not really so wonderful. Stinking thinking can easily lead to relapse.

The Grapevine

This is a popular AA magazine.

Thirteenth Stepping

This is where more experienced members of the group take sexual advantage of vulnerable new members.

Threefold Illness

This refers to the fact that alcoholism is considered to be a mental, physical and spiritual condition.

Twelve Steps

This is the AA program in the form of steps that members should take.

Twelve Traditions

These are the guidelines for how the meetings should be managed and how the organization functions.

Two Stepper

This refers to those members who attend meetings but do not follow the AA program.