There are two kinds of AA Meetings. Open Meetings and Closed Meetings.
These meetings seek to reach the suffering alcoholic through a third party and will very often be attended by a group of Doctors, Nurses, Social Workers, Teachers, Prison Officers, Gardai/Police, Public Media etc. These people 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.
You may see letters after the times on some Closed meetings, these indicate a 'theme' or 'topic' for the meeting, these are explained below:
- BB: This stands for 'Big Book' which is story of Alcoholics Anonymous and how it works.
- S: This stands for 'Steps' which is the 12 Steps of the AA Recovery Programme.
- T: This stands for 'Traditions' which is the 12 Traditions of AA which apply to the Fellowship. They outline the means by which AA maintains its unity and relates itself to the world about it.
- B: This stands for 'Beginners', while everyone at any stage of their recovery can attend AA meetings, a newcomer may be more comfortable attending this type of meeting.
Closed meetings are for anyone with a drink problem. Our meetings last approximately one hour. You can go 10 -15 minutes before the meeting begins should you wish to talk to a member on your own, or you can take a seat and listen at the meeting itself. When the meeting is over, members usually have a tea or coffee and this would give you an opportunity 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, using your first name only because of anonymity, let them know that it is your first time to attend a meeting and they will take it from there.
It is important to remember that AA members will understand what you are going through.