What Can You Expect From an In-Person AA Meeting?

What Can You Expect From an In-Person AA Meeting?

What Can You Expect From an In-Person AA Meeting?

There are a couple different reasons why you may want to attend an AA meeting in-person. Learn more about what to expect right here.

Keyword(s): AA meeting

The Alcohol Anonymous model has spread around the globe, now boasting over 2 million members in 180 nations. However, many people still don't know what to expect from an in-person AA meeting. Knowing what to expect could encourage you to start going to AA meetings on your own.

Read on to learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous before attending your first meeting today!

Where Meetings Happen

Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are held either in-person, on the phone, or online. When, where, and how often meetings occur can vary. In-person AA meetings usually happen in:

  • Churches
  • Treatment centers
  • Office buildings
  • Community/recreation centers

They're sometimes held in buildings dedicated to recovery groups. Some meetings are held in soothing outdoor settings like beaches or parks. 

Common Formats

There are two different types of AA meetings: open and closed.

Open AA meetings are available for anyone interested in the program while recovering from alcohol addiction. Since these meetings are "open," nonalcoholics can also attend as observers.

Closed meetings, on the other hand, are for AA members only. They're also intended for those who have a drinking problem or want to stop drinking.

In either type of meeting, participants are sometimes asked to limit their discussion to matters specific to their recovery. Both meetings are usually conducted by AA members. The host is responsible for determining which format they want to use. 

What Happens

What exactly happens during a meeting, then?

The chair will open the meeting with the AA Preamble. They might make a few remarks about future meetings or set a theme for the current meeting. Some chairs request a moment of silence or recite the Serenity Prayer.

Next, the chair will ask if anyone is new to AA meetings. This gives new participants the chance to introduce themselves.

It's not mandatory that you identify yourself as a new attendee, though it can help.

Some meetings start with a recitation from the Big Book, such as a portion from Chapter 3 ("More About Alcoholism") or Chapter 5 ("How it Works").

The host might also read a statement on anonymity as a valuable privacy principle for members.

During a meeting, attendees are given an opportunity to share.

If an attendee is celebrating an anniversary, the achievement is usually commemorated with an AA coin or chip. Coins are given for the first 24 hours you're sober, then for each month up until the first year. 

Anniversary celebrations recognize achievements, which can help participants remain motivated to continue the program. It can also help new members recognize the program works.

Studies found that the program is 60% more effective than alternative interventions. 

Most meetings end in a prayer. Then, participants can enjoy coffee and snacks while talking among themselves. 

Attend Your First In-Person AA Meeting Today

To recap, what can you expect from an in-person AA meeting? After opening statements, you're given the chance to speak about your experiences relevant to alcoholism and sobriety. Participating could give you the encouragement you need to maintain your sobriety long-term.

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