There are basically two types of A. A. Meetings: ‘Open Meetings’ and ‘Closed Meetings.’
The single purpose of ALL A. A. Meetings (Open or Closed Meetings) is for A. A. members to be of service by helping other alcoholics with their problem related to alcoholism.
That’s why they are called ‘Alcoholics’ Anonymous.
A simple metaphor to explain this might be: “If you have a problem with your lawn mower – you don’t take it to your dry cleaner or beauty shop to get it fixed. You take it to the lawn mower repair shop – who’s primary purpose is to fix lawn mowers.” ~Dallas B.
If you’re seeking help for problems ‘other than alcohol‘ and/or drinking alcohol – it would best serve you, and those who attend A. A. meetings, if you seek help from an organization that’s committed to solving the nature of your ‘other’ problems.
With that said – of course, many members of Alcoholics Anonymous have suffered ‘other types of problems.’
Many have been able to apply A. A.’s 12 Step program to their other problems. And have solved or recovered from those problems.
Other A. A. members have sought ‘outside resources’ and/or professional help — to help them overcome their ‘other problems.’
And, a few have suffered ‘other problems’ and not treated those problems at all. They may be sober – but they’re still suffering.
What kind of people attend A. A. Meetings?
You’ll find a mixed bag of folks in A. A. meetings. Some from the highest echelons of success and professions in life — along with those who have experienced the lowest depths of homelessness and destitute circumstances. Maybe even a recovered bank robber or bicycle thief! (That stayed sober and hopefully – made amends and are not doing that any more!).
However – they all share ONE problem in common: their relationship with alcohol.
They share the nature of their condition of — ‘alcoholism.’
They share the problem that one drink is too many. And, a million drinks are not enough – if they return to drinking.
And, that’s why they participate in the A. A. program and attend A. A. meetings – to solve their alcoholism problem – and, to help others who would like to solve their problems with alcohol.
A. A. Meetings are not therapy sessions.
An A. A. Meeting is a not therapy session. They are not professionals offering professional services. They are not for seeking financial help, jobs, housing, food or other material resources — or anything other than helping you to achieve and maintain sobriety. Period.
THE TWO TYPES OF A. A. MEETINGS
(1) OPEN A. A. MEETINGS: Generally, anyone from the public or local community is welcome to attend. They may be someone who is seeking information because they are ‘concerned’ about their drinking. Or, they are concerned about a friend or family members drinking. But, they are not sure they are alcoholic.
At an ‘Open Meeting’ they could be an A. A. member’s spouse, family member or friend of someone who’s having problems with their drinking. They may be students from a nursing school. Trying to learn what A. A. is about. What it offers. How it works.
You need not be an alcoholic or identify as an alcoholic to attend an ‘Open’ meeting. But you do need to be a member of A. A. – to participate in the meeting.
At an Open A. A. Speaker Meeting — an A. A. member will be the main speaker at the meeting and will tell their personal story and experience with drinking alcohol and how they discovered A. A., and how the A. A. program has helped them.
At an Open A. A. meeting — anyone from the community that has an interest in A. A. is welcome to attend. However, they should attend as a ‘silent observer.’ Only A. A. members should participate in the meeting.
(2) “CLOSED A. A. MEETINGS” are for alcoholics only. The general public and non-alcoholics are NOT welcome to attend CLOSED A. A. meetings. Closed meetings are strictly for A. A. members.
Regardless, if you attend an ‘Open meeting’ or a ‘Closed meeting’ – it is our hope is that you’ll find a cheerful and friendly group of folks who will be willing to encourage you and inspire you and help you to continue with your efforts towards achieving and maintaining your sobriety.
Like other illnesses, alcoholism strikes all sorts of people. The men and women in A. A. are of all races and nationalities all cultures and from all walks of life. All religions and no religion at all.
They are rich and poor. They work at all occupations. Some are lawyers, doctors and judges. Perhaps even leader’s in their community. Others may be housewives, teachers, truck drivers, mechanics, waitresses and even members of the clergy. They could be a disabled person. And they might be an all-star athlete.
Inside Alcoholics Anonymous – we are all equal. No one ever gets a higher rank than an ‘A. A. Member.’
We have no leaders – even though some do lead — by their example of service to all. We highly encourage ‘personal service’. It’s through the giving of ourselves – that we recover. And it’s by giving of ourselves – that we discover – a life that’s greater than anything we planned or imagined for ourselves – ‘outside of A. A.
ALCOHOLICS ANONYMOUS is a fellowship of men and women 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. There are no dues or fees for A. A. membership; we are self-supporting through our own contributions.
A. A. is not allied with any sect, denomination, politics, organization or institution; does not wish to engage in any controversy; neither endorses nor opposes any causes.
Our primary purpose is to stay sober — and help other alcoholics to achieve sobriety.
We have learned a great deal about how to identify and arrest and treat alcoholism.
But so far no one has discovered a way to prevent it — because nobody knows exactly why some drinkers become alcoholic – while others do not.
For that reason, A. A. concentrates on helping those who are alcoholics, so that they can stop drinking and learn how to live a normal, happy life without alcohol.
AAWS (Alcoholics Anonymous World Services). AAWS has their own website with online resources, literature and information for A. A. members. We are not AAWS. We encourage you to visit the AAWS website if you have don’t find what you’re looking for here. http://www.aa.org