A.A. meetings have a lot of different formats, and they each take on the feel of the local area. At most meetings, you will hear members talking about the damage that their drinking caused to themselves and the people around them. They also share the steps they took to quit drinking and how they live their lives now.
The point of all meetings is for A.A. members to be honest with each other, engage in meaningful conversations, and be inspiring to one another as they work to overcome their shared problem of alcoholism and help others to do the same.
Mental health care
Types of Meetings:
Meeting types are typically listed as open or closed. Open meetings are available to anyone interested in Alcoholics Anonymous’s program of recovery from alcoholism, while nonalcoholics may attend as observers. In contrast, closed meetings are exclusively for A.A. members or those who have a desire to stop drinking. The format and style of the meetings can vary greatly depending on the group, but all group members are expected to adhere to the same code of conduct and cooperate with the group’s guidelines.
Both types of meetings have one important rule in common: all discussions should be focused on the recovery from alcoholism. This means that any discussion should be related to how A.A. members can help themselves and each other to stay sober. A.A. meetings are directed by the group members and they can decide what format the meetings will take and what topics will be discussed. The meetings provide a safe space for members to talk openly about their own struggles and successes with recovery and to build relationships with other members of the group.
A.A. meetings may take place in a variety of locations including churches, community centers, libraries, schools, hospitals, private homes, and even restaurants. Online meetings are offered by many A.A. groups, and telephone meetings are also available. Meeting times and locations are up to the members of each individual group, so it is important to check with your local A.A. group to find out when and where meetings are held in your area. No matter what the location, the purpose of each meeting remains the same: providing support and encouraging sobriety in a safe, respectful, and non-judgmental environment.
A.A. meetings are held in person, online, or over the phone. The members of each meeting get to decide when, where, and how often they will meet up. In-person meetings often take place in rental spaces such as churches, community centers, libraries, schools, hospitals, private homes, and even restaurants. Online meetings are offered by many A.A. groups, and telephone meetings are available for those who are unable to attend in-person meetings.
Common Meeting Formats
Meetings are typically led by an A.A. member, or “chair”, who selects a topic for the meeting and facilitates the discussion. The topics for discussion meetings are often drawn from A.A. literature such as the Alcoholics Anonymous “Big Book”, the Twelve Steps, and the Twelve Traditions. During these meetings, the chair will open the discussion on the chosen topic, and then allow the other members of the group to share their thoughts and experiences in relation to the topic. The goal of these meetings is to provide a safe place for open conversation and to give members the opportunity to learn from one another.
Are a type of meeting where one or more members have been selected beforehand to share their story of struggling with alcoholism, and ultimately, recovery. Depending on the general guidelines set forth by the group, these members will discuss “what we were like, what happened, and what we are like now.” Through these shared stories, other members of the group are encouraged and inspired to draw strength from the courage of others and to persevere in their own recovery journeys. Speaker meetings provide members with a unique opportunity to hear from other members’ perspectives, encouraging empathy and understanding of what it takes to live a life of sobriety.
Are meetings for those new to A.A. They are led by a member who has been sober for some time, and are designed to help guide newcomers through the steps of recovery. These meetings follow either a discussion format or focus on Steps One, Two, and Three. A Guide for Leading Beginners Meetings is available to those leading these meetings through General Service Office (G.S.O.). Beginner’s meetings provide an opportunity to those new to the program to ask questions, seek advice, and find support as they start their journey in recovery.
Step, Tradition or Big Book
A.A. groups consider the Twelve Steps as the basis of self-improvement and dedicate a portion of their weekly meetings to study each Step alternately. The same format applies to group discussions on the Twelve Traditions or the Big Book, with some groups discussing multiple steps at once. The meetings commonly begin with a group reading of an appropriate excerpt from the Big Book or Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
What Happens at Meetings
At the start of a meeting, the chairperson typically commences proceedings by reciting the A.A. Preamble, and delivering some initial statements. In some meetings, a moment of silence is held, or the Serenity Prayer is recited by participants together. The chairperson might inquire if any newcomers wish to introduce themselves, which, while optional, is recommended to create a welcoming atmosphere within the group, aid new members in becoming more involved, and help them feel at ease amid their new A.A. community.
After the Meeting
Once the meeting is over, there is often a social atmosphere in the room as members gather to talk and introduce themselves to each other. Many A.A. members find this time after the meeting very valuable because it helps to build relationships and create a supportive environment for the recovering individual. Members will often offer to help or share their own experiences getting sober, and it is up to you whether or not you’d like to stay and socialize. As members get to know each other better, they are able to provide more meaningful support in their recovery journey.
Referred to A.A. through Court Programs and Treatment Facilities
A.A. is unique in that it welcomes attendees from both court-mandated programs and treatment facilities. The strength of A.A. lies in its voluntary nature; however, many first attend A.A. meetings because of being pressured to by someone else. Through continued exposure to the program, members begin to understand the true power of the fellowship, and how it can be a source of meaningful support in their recovery process. A.A. also provides direction in how to remain abstinent from alcohol and other substances, with tools to help members build a strong support network of other recovering individuals.
Proof of Attendance at Meetings
Sometimes, a referral source may ask for proof of attendance at A.A. meetings. While there is no set procedure for how groups cooperate in this process, it is entirely up to the individual group to determine the nature and extent of their involvement. With the consent of the prospective member, some groups may provide a meeting sign-in sheet or other form of documentation to help facilitate the request. Additionally, members may obtain an A.A. password card which acknowledges their attendance at meetings and serves as proof of membership in the program.
Diamond Recovery Centers helps people struggling with addiction to drugs and alcohol while using many different methods to ensure successful long-term recovery, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are one of the many tools that they use to help patients achieve that success. For more information on the various treatment programs offered at Diamond Recovery feel free to give us a call at (385)888-9624. We have a treatment specialist standing by who would love to help.
Diamond Recovery Center
“Diamond Recovery Center is a licensed, residential, holistic mental health and addiction treatment center focused primarily on opioid dependence. It is the exemplary commitment of our staff and our superior treatment program that is the hallmark of our service.”