Updated on March 27, 2024
2 min read

Difference between Open and Closed AA Meetings from Members

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provides a supportive and empathetic community for people recovering from alcohol addiction. It allows people to share their stories, struggles, and challenges in a safe environment. 

AA offers two primary types of meetings, which are open and closed meetings. Here we’ll talk about the difference between these two and why knowing that difference is important.

The Difference Between Open and Closed AA Meetings

Both open and closed meetings are helpful and effective in their own way. But understanding the distinction can help you find the best format for your or your loved one’s needs. 

The distinction affects who can attend and what kind of support it offers. The main differences are:

Open meetingsClosed meetings
ParticipantsOpen to anyone, including non-alcoholicsOnly for members and people who have a drinking problem
EnvironmentOpen, educational, and accepting for anyone who wants to attendSafe and confidential space to talk about personal experiences
Meeting structureSpeakers share stories while discussing alcoholism and recoveryDiscusses personal experiences and the 12-steps

Which Meeting Is Best for You?

Choosing between open and closed meetings really depends on what you need. If you’re looking for a focused meeting where you can be open and vulnerable, closed meetings might be for you.

Closed meetings are perfect for people seeking support because it’s a confidential, non-judgemental space. On the other hand, newcomers might prefer open meetings. 

Open meetings can be an excellent starting point for people who want to learn about AA. They’re also good for friends and family who are interested in learning more about alcohol addiction, recovery, and AA. 

Can You Join Both Meetings?

Yes, many members attend both open and closed meetings. Joining closed meetings allows you to share your experiences in a more intimate setting. 

On the other hand, open meetings give you the opportunity to connect with newcomers and the broader AA community. Overall, joining both meetings can be beneficial for your recovery journey.


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How to Join an AA Meeting

You can find a meeting in your area by checking the official AA website or the local AA chapter websites. For online meetings, you can browse the directory on the AA intergroup site.

If you join a closed meeting, remember to respect each other’s anonymity and keep everything shared confidential. Turn off your cell phone and follow any other guidelines that the group may have.

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Key Takeaways

AA has two types of meetings which offer different types of support and attendance. Both meetings are helpful for anyone trying to recover from addiction.

Closed meetings offer a more private environment where you can share intimate details about your struggles. Meanwhile, open meetings are great for people who want to learn more about addiction, recovery, and AA.

Which meeting is best for you depends on your individual needs and preferences. Finding a meeting where you and your loved ones are comfortable is important for your recovery.

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Updated on March 27, 2024

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