Understanding the Meaning Behind the AA Logo: Unity, Service, and Recovery

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a 12-Step fellowship within which many people in recovery find the strength and guidance they need to move forward in their sobriety. As proclaimed by AA, its primary purpose is to help individuals achieve and maintain sobriety.

AA members attend regular meetings, where they share their experiences, struggles, and successes with alcohol addiction in a supportive and non-judgmental environment. AA follows a set of guiding principles outlined in its Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, which provide a framework for personal recovery and spiritual growth.

Whether you’re new to AA, have a loved one who just started going to meetings, or are curious about the fellowship, you may have come across literature, merchandise, or branding that features the AA logo. The logo, which features a triangle inside of a circle, is more than just a design; it is a representation of what the fellowship is all about.

What Does the AA Logo Mean?

AA’s logo is often referred to by members as the “circle and the triangle.” It was adopted as the official symbol of the organization at the 20th Anniversary International AA Convention in St. Louis in 1955.[1] Since then, it has been used by various AA entities, including many popular pieces of AA-based literature.

The logo features a circle, which represents the whole of AA, that encapsulates the three points of a triangle. The triangle’s three sides represent the three principles of unity, service, and recovery. These principles work together to help individuals stay sober within the program. Within the triangle are the letters “AA.”


The first side of the triangle represents the unity and togetherness found among Alcoholics Anonymous members. In AA, people from all walks of life come together, sharing their experiences and supporting each other through the ups and downs of alcoholism addiction recovery. Regardless of differences in background or beliefs, there’s a strong sense of belonging and friendship that helps everyone on their journey to getting better.

In AA meetings, individuals find a safe, communal space where they can be themselves without fear of judgment. Within the rooms of AA, members know they’re among people who understand what they’re going through because they’ve been there too. This sense of unity and camaraderie is at the foundation of AA’s approach to recovery.


The second side of the triangle represents service, which is a fundamental part of AA’s philosophy. Service is about giving back to others and helping fellow members in their recovery journey. In AA, there’s a popular saying about the importance of “one alcoholic helping another.” This means that by reaching out and supporting each other, everyone benefits and grows stronger in their sobriety.

Service in AA can take many forms, from sponsoring new members to volunteering in the community. AA members are also encouraged to pick up service commitments, such as greeting guests at the door, making coffee, handing out celebratory chips, or chairing meetings.

Through acts of kindness and support, individuals not only help others stay sober but also reinforce their own commitment to their recovery. Service acts bring people together, creating a sense of purpose that enriches everyone’s lives.


The last side of the triangle, or the bottom of it, represents recovery, which is the primary goal of the AA program. Recovery is all about the personal changes and growth that happen as someone overcomes alcoholism or addiction. It’s a journey of self-discovery, where individuals learn about themselves and how to live a fulfilling life without relying on alcohol.

Recovery isn’t just about quitting drinking; it’s about building a new life free from the grip of alcoholism or addiction. In AA, members support each other through this process, sharing their experiences and offering guidance along the way. Together, they create a supportive community where everyone can thrive on their path to sobriety.

The Significance of the AA Logo

According to Alcoholics Anonymous Cleveland, the book AA Comes of Age describes the significance of the logo. It says, “The circle stands for the whole world of AA, and the triangle stands for AA’s Three Legacies of Recovery, Unity, and Service.”[1] The symbol represents the network of mutual support and recovery found within AA’s unique fellowship that can accomplish what many other organizations cannot; guiding individuals toward a fulfilling life in sobriety.

There is a considerable amount of symbolism found in the circle and triangle symbol. For example, the triangle is an equilateral triangle, with all three sites and three corners being exactly the same. This underscores the idea that all three principles of unity, service, and recovery are equally important. Additionally, the intertwined letters “AA” that are at the center of the logo serve as a constant reminder of the organization’s name and purpose.


  1. https://www.aacle.org/whatever-happened-to-the-circle-and-triangle/


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