Meeting Explainations

Explanation of Open & Closed Meetings

The purpose of all A.A. group meetings, as the Preamble states, is for members to “share their experience, strength, and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism.” Toward this end, some groups hold both open and closed meetings. The difference between the two main types is that closed meetings are for those who have a drinking problem and “have a desire to stop drinking.” Open meetings are available to anyone interested in Alcoholics Anonymous program of recovery from alcoholism.
Whether open or closed, A.A. group meetings are conducted by A.A. members.

Reprinted from THE A.A. GROUP, page 16, with permission of A.A.World Services, Inc.

Meeting types & descriptions

Use the “Meetings” tab above to locate an A.A. meeting near you. There are many types of meetings, including those specifically geared toward beginners and those featuring speakers, where one sober member shares their experience, strength and hope. Generally, however, our experience indicates that the best meeting to attend is the first one you can get to.

Closed meetings: A closed meeting is for people who themselves have a desire to stop drinking. Closed meetings give members an opportunity to discuss particular phases of their alcoholic problem that can be understood best only by other alcoholics.

Open meetings: An open meeting is one that anyone, alcoholic or nonalcoholic, may attend. The only obligation is that they not disclose the names or identities of A.A. members outside the meeting.

A.A. meetings vary widely by format and intention. We suggest that newcomers attend a variety of meetings before deciding if A.A. is for them.

Beginner meetings are intended for people in the first year or so of sobriety, and generally focus on Steps 1, 2 and 3 of the recovery program.

At discussion meetings, one member shares their experience, strength and hope briefly before opening the meeting for others to share.

At speaker meetings, one or two people share their story in greater detail, for a longer period of time. The meeting may or may not then be opened for others to share.

Literature meetings are devoted to the study and discussion of the Big Book or other A.A.-approved literature.

More information about A.A.