When recovering from an addiction to alcohol, there are many resources available to them, and it is crucial that a person has access to these. Accessibility ensures that they are able to address the inevitable challenges of life and sobriety, all while having the support of a community to lean on. Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is a common example of such a resource, although not all meetings are the same. The Stuart, Florida, Banyan Treatment Center is taking a look at the different types of AA meetings and how they help participants maintain sobriety.
What Is an AA Meeting?
An AA meeting is a gathering of individuals who share a common goal of overcoming alcohol addiction. AA stands for Alcoholics Anonymous, and it is a global nonprofit organization that supports and unites people battling alcoholism. No matter a person’s age, gender, or background, they are welcome to attend the meetings for free.
Members of AA talk about their experiences with alcoholism, discuss their challenges and victories, and support one another during meetings. Some AA beginner topics can include understanding the disease of alcoholism, acceptance, and accountability. The meetings usually have a volunteer who has been sober for a long period lead them, and they have a set structure that includes reading the 12 steps and the Serenity Prayer. In AA, attendees’ right to remain anonymous is strongly cherished, and members are urged to respect others' right to privacy. Not all meetings are the same, though.
Types of AA Meetings Explained
Before jumping into a meeting, it is important to know what different formats are available and who they are intended for.
AA meeting types include:
- Open Meetings: Regardless of whether a person is an alcoholic or not, everyone is welcome, including family members, close friends, and professionals who deal with alcoholism. Members are free to share their stories and offer support and encouragement at an open meeting.
- Closed Meetings: These meetings are reserved only for people who want to stop drinking. Members are free to discuss their own experiences, but the details of the meeting are kept private.
- Speaker Meetings: During these gatherings, one or more participants talk about their experience with alcoholism and their path to recovery. The purpose of these gatherings is to uplift and encourage other participants.
- Discussion Meetings: At these meetings, participants talk about a particular subject pertaining to alcoholism or recovery. Typically, the group facilitator or members agree on the topic in advance.
- Step Meetings: These groups focus on the 12 principles of Alcoholics Anonymous, which are meant to assist members in overcoming their alcoholism. Members alternately discuss their personal experiences with each level.
- Big Book AA Meetings: These gatherings center on "Alcoholics Anonymous," a book that describes the 12 steps and the organization's guiding principles. Members alternate reading from and debating the book's pages.
- 12 & 12 Meetings: The book "Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions," which offers additional insight into the tenets of AA, is the main topic of discussion at 12 & 12 Meetings.
- Men’s/Women’s Meetings: As the name would suggest, these are gender-specific meetings that provide a secure and understanding environment for participants to open up and support one another.
- LGBTQ+ Meetings: These meetings address the challenges of sobriety along with those experienced by members of the LGBTQ+ community.
- Agnostic/Atheist Meetings: These gatherings are intended for participants who do not adhere to a particular spiritual philosophy or who do not believe in a higher power.
If you think you may benefit from any of the meetings listed above, we encourage you to reach out to Alcoholics Anonymous and locate a gathering near you. You may also be able to access AA meetings online if needed. Additionally, those looking to take the first steps on their sobriety journey are guided toward the Florida addiction treatment options for alcohol at Banyan. Our patients have the ability to achieve recovery through our options for Florida addiction therapy, along with our own 12-step program that is available.
Don’t continue to suffer in silence. Find a community of supportive individuals that can help you be the best version of yourself possible. Call Banyan Stuart at 888-280-4763 to learn more information.