What is the Difference Between Open and Closed AA Meetings?

When reviewing your options for local Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, you may notice some meetings on the schedule are “open,” while others are “closed.” Generally, open meetings are open to the public, while closed meetings are restricted to AA members only, or to those who have a desire to stop drinking.

But which meeting type should you choose, and what are the benefits of attending each meeting?

If you need help quitting drinking, understand that the caring medical staff at alcohol rehab centers can guide you safely and comfortably toward sobriety. Call our 24/7 confidential hotline at 800-839-1686 to learn more about local AA meetings and alcohol rehab centers that can help.

Open AA Meetings

AA Meetings

You can make lasting friendships in AA.

Open meetings are available to anyone interested in overcoming alcohol abuse, or in learning more about recovery from alcoholism. For instance, an open meeting may be attended by a combination of recovering addicts, writers performing research on addiction, and family members intent on staying by their loved ones’ sides throughout recovery.

Open meetings are usually designated on published AA schedules so members can mentally plan and prepare for these meetings accordingly.

Benefits of Open Meetings

Going to open meetings allows you to network with both recovering alcoholics and nonalcoholics in a safe, anonymous setting. Many times, you’ll hear stories from nonalcoholics whose lives have been impacted by addiction, which can offer you insight into how to progress with your own recovery.

Closed AA Meetings

Closed meetings are limited to AA members only. To become a member of AA, you must have a drinking problem or a desire to stop drinking.

Benefits of Closed Meetings

Since AA was founded with anonymity being its topmost priority, going to closed AA meetings ensures all attendees are focused on maintaining their own anonymity and that of others.

Attending closed meetings allows you to speak openly about your drinking problem without being judged, especially since many fellow AA members have shared similar struggles and situations. Closed meetings are also the ideal venue for discussing AA’s 12 steps and traditions.

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Which Meeting Should You Choose?

AA meetings are free to attend, meaning you can go as often as you like. Try attending both open and closed meetings to see which meeting type makes you feel most comfortable, and which makes you feel more motivated in regards to recovering from addiction. There are no rules or requirements that say you must attend one particular meeting type more frequently.

If you’re new to AA or have recently quit drinking, consider going to closed meetings in the beginning. Closed meetings allow you to speak more freely and openly about drinking in front of like-minded individuals who may already have walked in your shoes.

As you become more comfortable with going to AA and sharing your personal stories, try attending open meetings to learn more about recovery from others whose lives have been impacted by addiction.

Are you suffering from alcohol abuse and need help quitting drinking? Call our 24/7 confidential helpline at 800-839-1686 to speak with a caring addiction counselor about nearby AA meetings and alcohol rehab centers devoted to helping you achieve lifelong sobriety.

How Our Helpline Works

For those seeking addiction treatment for themselves or a loved one, the AlcoholicsAnonymous.com helpline is a private and convenient solution.

Calls to any general helpline (non-facility specific 1-8XX numbers) for your visit will be answered by American Addiction Centers (AAC).

We are standing by 24/7 to discuss your treatment options. Our representatives work solely for AAC and will discuss whether an AAC facility may be an option for you. Our helpline is offered at no cost to you and with no obligation to enter into treatment. Neither AlcoholicsAnonymous.com nor AAC receives any commission or other fee that is dependent upon which treatment provider a visitor may ultimately choose.

For more information on AAC’s commitment to ethical marketing and treatment practices, or to learn more about how to select a treatment provider, visit our About AAC page. If you wish to explore additional treatment options or connect with a specific rehab center, you can browse top-rated listings or visit SAMHSA.

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