Open VS Closed AA Meetings

While going through the process of recovery and sobering up, you may encounter many kinds of Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Each meeting could focus on different kinds of topics such as a different step in the 12 Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous or it could be a discussion of one of  the concepts from The Big Book. Before attending any of these meetings, it is important to note that they are also classified into two different categories according to who can attend: Open AA meetings and Closed AA meetings.

What is an Open AA Meeting?

An Open AA meeting is one where anyone can attend. This would include friends, family, relatives, or the general community who may be interested in finding out about the organization and alcoholics anonymous meetings as a whole. It can be a great avenue for newcomers to  learn all about the organization and its objectives as well as to get familiar with the environment of AA meetings

Since the meeting is open to the community as well, it’s also a great place to learn about the struggles of getting sober so that friends and family can learn how to help and sympathize with their loved ones struggling with alcoholism.

The types of open AA meetings can vary between lectures by a speaker and sharing sessions. Lectures generally have a resource speaker who will talk about the 12 Traditions of AA or a concept from the Big Book. Meanwhile, sharing sessions where a lead member volunteers to share their experiences on their struggles with alcoholism and their journey on getting sober with the organization. Both types of meetings are definitely a great way to get some new perspectives and see what it’s like to join Alcoholics Anonymous.

What is a Closed AA Meeting?

In contrast to open AA meetings, closed Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are exclusively for people who are going through struggles with alcoholism. This can mean either people who are already members or prospective members of Alcoholics Anonymous who are ready to commit to the organization. However, just because it is called a “closed” meeting, it does not mean that it isn’t inclusive. The only requirement to become a member of the organization is to have a desire to stop drinking and overcome their drinking problems.

The types of closed AA meetings can vary between 12-step meetings and open sharing sessions. 12-step meetings discuss one of the 12 Traditions of AA meetings. Each meeting of every step details a step in a progressive manner so that it follows along with the progress of the group. Open sharing sessions, meanwhile, are a great way for members to share their experiences, get things off their chest, and learn from each other. It must be noted that for these closed meetings, the tradition of Alcoholics Anonymous, which is anonymity, must be honored at all cost for the safety and well-being of its members.

How do I Attend an AA Meeting?

If you’d like to attend an AA meeting, starting out is as easy as using our AA meeting locator in order to find an AA meeting near you. Thanks to the amazing growth and reach of the organization, finding an AA meeting around your area won’t be difficult. There’s sure to be a great place close by.

The great thing about starting out a journey is that you can start tracking your progress and look forward to reaching different milestones. We’re happy to be there for you through our sobriety calculator to help you find out your progress.