5 Steps to Starting a Meeting for Adult Children of Alcoholics in Your Area

Meetingstarteristock_000004407708xsOne reason so many of us are here, online, seeking information and community from other people who grew up in alcoholic homes is because the Internet makes it easy, interesting, and fun. We’re also here because some of us do not have local, live meetings to attend. While AA meetings are everywhere and plenty of Al-anon meetings exist, ACA meetings are scarce. I suspect this is yet another example of how meek, “quiet” and unseen we are as a population.

Well, no more! You now how the information necessary to start an ACA group in your area. Here’s how…


Before you get started, check here to be sure there really isn’t a meeting near you:

ACA Meeting Directory.

No meeting? Now try this:

#1 Order Paperwork for Starting a Meeting.

The first step to starting a meeting is sending in for paperwork. Use this link to select and order your materials (WSO sends the meeting materials via Priority mail, so you’ll receive the kit in less than a week).

Literature Request Form.

The New Meeting Packet costs $7.00 and includes one of each of the WSO ACA pamphlets (history, banking/accounting practices, literature policy, and meeting issues and guidelines). You can buy this online with a credit card, or you can download and print their form, and mail the forms request in, with a check.

#2 Complete Contact Information Form Online.

So that people seeking a meeting can find you, complete this form with your contact information. The WSO keeps it confidential and gives your information only to individuals seeking a local ACA meeting.

Contact Form.

#3 Register Your Meeting.

Make your meeting real by listing it with the WSO on their website, here:

Form to List Your Meeting Here.

#4 Advertise Your Meeting.

I suggest that you spread the word in additional, creative ways. How? You can put up fliers at colleges, cafes, banks, or community centers advertising the meeting; you could also put a posting on craigslist.com.

#5 Find & Reserve a Meeting Location.

Check with a local institution such as a school, hospital, or church – where a regular meeting can be held for free, or for a small donation. Try, if you can, to be sure that the location isn’t far from public transportation for those coming by foot.

Be sure that you understand what an ACA meeting is, and is not, and read the materials carefully. While you’re starting up the meeting yourself, it’s not “yours” exactly. In order for it to be a true ACA-approved meeting, you need to follow the guidelines and adhere to what the WHO stipulates.

And, if you don’t like the guidelines, definitely consider starting your own, unique support group (just don’t call it an ACA twelve step meeting!)

I’d love to know what kind of success you have starting your own meetings, so please report back and let us all know how it goes!

–amy eden


  1. Partrick says:

    Amy,I am currently working on starting a meeting.I’m in the planning stage.My first phase of the plan is to over come the fear,procrastination, commitment issues of starting a new meeting.I know I needed a little nudge.Thanks!Now it is here in black and white details,which helps reduce the anxiety.On to phase two…..Thank you,Sparky

  2. amy eden says:

    Sparky, I’m so glad the timing was right, that’s great! I agree it’s an overwhelming process…where to begin, where to begin…but fantastic that you’re taking steps towards making it a reality. I know there will be folks in your community who’ll be so, so thankful that you got a group going. –ae

  3. alex s says:

    I was looking for an online copy of the “new steps” by Tony Allen … never found THAT, but found your wonderful blog.
    The new steps speak to me. Are there meetings that use anything other than the conference steps? I would start a meeting, but I’m just starting myself! :-)
    (It occurs to me that you may be the “sparky” whose forum messages I’ve been seeing this afternoon?”

  4. amy eden says:

    Hi Alex–
    I’m not sparky, just amy eden, but sparky has posted to my blog.
    The ACA meetings that Al-anon runs use the conference steps. However, there are two types of ACA meetings. The type you’re seeking is the non-Ala-non related ACA meetings, which have an open-literature format, and use Tony A’s steps! The WSO for ACA is a good place to start to find “pure” ACA meetings.
    Here’s a description of Tony’s Laundry List. The WSO’s literature includes information about Tony A and his list. There’s a link to Tony’s book (you have to buy it used) in this post:
    Thanks for the comment - :-) amy eden

  5. Debbie says:

    Well, I hope you’re still here….

    the last post I see is in 2008!

    I too want to start a meeting and so far….
    Well, you said it; “I suspect this is yet another example of how meek, “quiet” and unseen we are as a population.”

    Gosh, this needs to change!

    Thanks for this page.

    Bless you

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