If there is anything that will turn a person off of AA or any other 12-Step Program, it is the inside lingo, the slang that is used within the programs. Sit down and have a cup of coffee with me while I interpret some of what you will hear at a meeting.

The “Big Book Thumper” is the person you may first meet at a meeting. They are the ones who know the AA book inside-out and are not shy about letting you know that. They’ll talk about the Book everywhere they are and every action of their day coincides with some story in the book. As well-meaning as they are, beware the Big Book Thumper.

The Big Book Thumper may well be the first person to honor you with a Chip. The Chip is the coin you receive for anniversaries of your birthday. From a One Day chip to yearly chips, people collect these on the anniversary of their sobriety day. Stick around long enough (one year), and you will get a piece of Heavy Metal – the one year chip.

You will receive your chip when you go for a “Check Up for the Neck Up” – an AA meeting. Whether you are at the meeting because of a “Nudge from the judge” (court-ordered treatment), or you are a Newcomer (30 days or less of recovery), you will hill stories from Wet Drunks (active drinkers), Dry Drunks (sober people who don’t follow the 12 steps), and may even hear a Double Dipper (someone who speaks numerous times at one meeting) or two.

You may miss someone because they are a Relapse (they returned to drinking), and you may meet a Retread (someone returning to AA after relapsing). You will hear Elevator Stories (stories of how people hit bottom), and you will hear stories of people Cleaning House (getting their lives back together).

AA and all 12-Step Programs have a vocabulary all their own. If you hear something you don’t understand, don’t be afraid to ask. Surely you’ll find a Big Book Thumper who can fill you in.