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There are two main types of meetings, explained below, Open and Closed. Most groups that organize meetings participate in the formal structure of AA, but not all. The latter are often more informal and are typically called Service Meetings.
All meetings, including open meetings, follow a more or less set pattern, although distinctive variations have developed in some areas. Most open meetings have a chairperson describe the AA program briefly for the benefit of any newcomers to AA in the audience and introduces one, two or three speakers who relate their personal drinking histories and may give their personal interpretation of AA.
Midway through the meeting there is usually a period for local AA announcements, and a treasurer passes the hat to defray costs of the meeting hall, literature, and incidental expenses. The meeting adjourns, often followed by informal visiting over coffee or other light refreshments.
Some meetings, especially closed meetings, focus more on specifics of the AA program of recovery, like the Big Book, the Steps and Traditions, or sometimes topics related to recovery deemed relevant by the participants.
Open meetings are for anyone interested in solving a personal drinking problem or helping someone else solve such a problem. This means you are welcome to attend when looking for help for friends or family members who may have a drinking problem. If you you only have a general curiosity about AA you are welcome to attend an open meeting.
Guests at AA open meetings are reminded that any opinions or interpretations they may hear are solely those of the speaker involved. All members are free to interpret the recovery program in their own terms, but none can speak for the local group or for AA as a whole.
These meetings are limited to people who think or know they have a problem with drinking. In practical terms the only requirement to participate in a closed meetings is ” a desire to not drink today”! You don’t need to be a member of the group to attend a closed meeting. Helping other people with a drinking problem is one of the main focusses of an AA group that organizes a meeting.
The closed meeting provides an opportunity for attendees and group members to relate their experiences with one another on problems related to drinking and attempts to achieve stable sobriety in a sheltered environment. They also permit detailed discussion of various elements in the recovery program.
A Service meeting can be open (all are welcome) or closed (Alcoholics only), but is a group that does not participate in the formal structure of AA, and may not be registered with The Area or General Service Office.
What is AA
Alcoholics Anonymous is a fellowship of people who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from alcoholism. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking
So if alcohol is costing you more than just money, if you want help with a drinking problem, call us today in complete confidence at or email us at