When most hear the term Alcoholics Anonymous, they likely get a specific idea about AA in their head. It might consist of seeing a group of people sitting in a social circle and sharing their experiences about their life and alcohol use. However, because of how movies, television, and media portray AA, there is a generalized concept of AA, and you might decide that it is not the forum for you and your alcohol use.
While certain facets of this perceived AA model are accurate, understand that this is an oversimplified ideology. Alcoholics Anonymous is very versatile and includes many different types and approaches—some of which might be very beneficial to aid your recovery. So let’s take a look at the different kinds of AA meetings to help you better understand the other variables of these meetings and even determine which setting might be best for you.
Open and Closed Meetings
Before we get into the different aspects of AA, it is essential to understand the differences between open and closed meetings. A closed AA meeting is when only people who identify as having an alcohol use disorder can attend. It also means that family and friends of yours cannot join you at the meeting, and possibly even those who cannot yet declare that they struggle with alcohol.
In contrast, open meetings are where anyone can attend, including family. It does not matter if you believe you have an alcohol use disorder or not; open meetings offer a space for the general public.
A speaker meeting can consist of a single speaker, or there might be a couple of speakers. The general format of this type of AA meeting is that one or more people will get up in front of the group and share their stories. There is often little to no time for an open discussion; however, it could happen, and when it does, it is known as a speaker/discussion meeting.
Typically, these meetings focus on the speaker and their message. The session usually ends when the speaker finishes sharing their story. Speaker meetings can also consist of up to 100 or more people and are generally upbeat. The speaker is also usually someone with years of sobriety and often an inspiration to those in the AA community.
Big Book Meetings
Big book meetings are as they sound; these are meetings where the “Big Book” or “Alcoholics Anonymous” is read. These meetings can happen over a series of meetings with one individual reading the book over a few months. They can also become meetings where everyone reads a little of the book. The book itself provides tools and tips about AA from the 12-Step traditions to the group’s history. It is designed to incite discussions and better understand the principles addressed. It is effective because it helps keep your focus on the tools of AA and therefore keeps any discussion focused on these topics, too.
12-Step Series Meetings
Step series AA meetings are when one person goes through the 12 steps and shares their experience with each step over 12 weeks. These meetings can provide a lot of insight, offering newcomers and those who have been in recovery a fresh perspective on the steps. However, they do not replace the act of working with a sponsor. Though it is an excellent opportunity to get a detailed look at the steps and how to utilize the values of the steps to live a better life and recovery.
Topic discussion meetings are meetings where the chairperson will introduce a topic, and then for the duration of the meeting, everyone will share their experiences about that topic. These meetings are great if you are nervous about sharing in a meeting because they help guide you by giving you a topic to discuss. In addition, this forum helps to make connections with others based on your shared experiences dealing with a particular issue.
90 Meetings in 90 Days
The “90 in 90” approach to AA meetings is a philosophy that attending meetings consistently will instill good habits and practice. The tools attained throughout benefit your rebuilding of personal and professional relationships. It will also help you endure the ups and downs of early recovery. It is also great in helping you to avoid succumbing to isolation because you will have a daily meeting to attend, which helps hold you accountable. The “90 in 90” method can apply to any consistent AA-type recovery programs, including:
- Other support meetings
AA is Ever Evolving
Today AA offers a wide array of options to accommodate the needs of the individual and the community. Such attempts help lend more comfort and encouragement for anybody who might feel outside looking in. Such groups include:
- Gender-Specific: These meetings are limited to men or women and allow for discussions about gender-specific issues without feeling judged. It also allows the space to discuss gender-specific trauma or aggression
- LGBTQ+: These are meetings provide a safe space designed to address the specific issues and challenges within the LGBTQ+ communities.
- Special Interest: There are many different special interest AA groups, from those that love animals to those with specific faiths, and like the others, they provide a comfortable and safe space that welcome those within these varying communities.
If you are currently struggling to overcome alcohol use, or maintain your recovery, then the time to seek help is now. Reaching out to Choice House, we can work with you to find the best approach to treatment and therapy for you. We offer safe and comfortable spaces for men to come and learn ways to overcome their substance use and rebuild their relationships with themselves and others. We also provide various AA meetings and believe in the success of SMART recovery and the 12-Step program. If you are considering AA or in need of help, Choice House provides 24/7 admissions and is more than motivated and happy to answer any questions or concerns you have about treatment and recovery. With a beautiful Boulder location, you can also take comfort in knowing that you will never be short of inspiration. To get started, call Choice House today at (720) 577-4422.