What to Know about the Different Types of AA Meetings

A meeting’s a meeting, right? Well, when it comes to AA and the 12-step meetings, that’s not always the case.

Here’s everything you need to know about the different types of AA meetings.

Open Meetings

Open meetings are the most common AA meetings you’ll find, and they’re open to everyone. By everyone, it means alcoholics, friends and family members of alcoholics, co-workers, bosses, or anyone who wants to gain a perspective of alcoholism and AA.

Closed Meetings

Types of AA

During Big Book meetings, participants get a more thorough understanding of how AA works.

Closed meetings are only open to alcoholics, and are often limited to those who consider that meeting their home group. These are often organizational meetings that require intimate knowledge of that AA meeting.

Big Book Meetings

Like an operating manual for AA, the Big Book gives you everything you need to know about AA, from the 12 steps to the traditions to the group’s history. Big Book meetings celebrate this text by reading excerpts and discussing the ideas presented, bringing the group to a better understanding of the principles addressed.

Step Study Meetings

Similar to Big Book meetings, step study meetings detail the 12 steps and traditions of AA. During one of these meetings, a particular step or tradition will be read, and then discussed. The discussion is often open, and can range from the role the step plays in recovery to how to utilize the values of the step to live a better life.

Discussion Meeting

Discussion meetings are run by a specific chairperson, who will discuss a personal experience relating to being an alcoholic, and then discuss how it’s impacted him or her. Others may join in the discussion, sharing similar situations or experiences.

Speaker Meetings

Speaker meetings tend to be large, with 100 or more people present, and are typically upbeat. The speaker is often someone with years under his or her belt, and used to inspire and motivate those in the AA community. There is little to no sharing time, as these meetings focus on the speaker, and his or her message.

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Other Types of AA Meetings

There are a huge range of other types of AA meetings, and here are some of the one’s you’ll commonly see.

  • Gender specific: By limiting certain meetings to only men or only women, it allows for gender-specific issues to be discussed without individuals feeling judged. It also allows for more sharing and an open dialogue to discuss common, gender specific issues, such as trauma or aggression.
  • LGBTQ: More and more LGBTQ meetings are starting to become common. Although you don’t have to identify as gay or trans to attend one of these meetings, they often have a large population of this cohort and address some of the specific issues that arise in this demographic.
  • Special Interest: There are all sorts of special interest AA groups from those that love animals to those for specific faiths. Some of the most common are Celebrate Recovery are Grapevine meetings.

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