There are two kinds of AA Meetings. Open Meetings and Closed Meetings. The essence of any AA meeting is to share with others our Experience, Strength and Hope.
These meetings seek to reach the suffering alcoholic and are open for the suffering Alcoholic as well as family, friends and well wisher of Alcoholics. These well wishers in their daily work are frequently in contact with the suffering alcoholic and by their very presence at our meeting have shown their concern and willingness to help.
From the earliest beginnings of AA when Henrietta Sieberling introduced Dr Bob to Bill W many thousands of alcoholics who found sobriety in AA were first put in contact with AA by a non-alcoholic third party, be it a concerned doctor, policeman, social worker etc. These good friends of AA knew AA existed, where it could be found and what help AA offered to the problem drinker.
These meetings are strictly for those who have a drink problem or think they have a drink problem.
The Meetings are “Sharing Meetings”, where Members talk about their drinking, how they came to AA and how AA has helped them to stay sober. There is a 12 Step programme for recovery within AA to help Members stay sober, but you will find out more about this in time.
Our Meetings last approximately one to one and a half hour. You can go ten to fifteen minutes before the Meeting begins if you would like to talk to a Member on your own, if you so wish, or you can just take a seat and listen at the Meeting itself. When the Meeting is over the Members usually have a coffee or tea and this would give you the chance to talk to someone on your own, having listened at the Meeting. It is just a matter of introducing yourself to any of the Members, by your first name only, because of anonymity. Let them know that it is your first time at a Meeting and they will take it from there.
What you need to remember is that these Members have been at the stage that you are at now and they will understand what you are going through.
Both the Open and Closed meeting may adapt different formats. Most of the time it would be a sharing meeting, while at other times it could be a Topic Sharing, Topic Discussion, Literature Discussion or a Speaker Meeting. This format is usually decided by the Group members hosting the meeting.