What happens at a meeting?

Meetings are one of the foundational components of Alcoholics Anonymous.

A group leader, who is typically a member of the group, will open the meeting (call the meeting to order) and follow the format for the type of meeting he or she is conducting: speaker meeting, beginner meeting, big book, step meeting etc. Meeting last for between an hour and a hour and a half.

If the chairperson asks if there are any newcomers or visitors they should free to raise their hands and give their first name.

There is usually a short reading from an AA related book. A speaker will then share there experience strength and hope for about 20mins.

The meeting is then open to others to share. For the most part, a “single share” protocol is followed in meetings which mean that members do not speak for any length of time more than once during the meeting.

At times, however, exceptions to this standard are made, depending upon the group or the circumstances.

In all meetings, “cross talk” is kept to a minimum. “Cross talk” from the Alcoholics Anonymous perspective means giving direct advice to others who have already shared, speaking directly to another person rather than to the group, telling another member what to think or how to act, and questioning or interrupting the person who is sharing and speaking at the time. In a related manner, the usual etiquette during all meetings is for members to remain silent until the speaker has finished.

Meeting size varies from small to large depending on where the meeting is held and on the specific meeting format (i.e., Big Book, step, speaker) and who attends the meeting (men, women, mixed, young people, and so on). Whereas “small” meetings usually have 15 or fewer members, “large” meetings can have as many as 30, 40, 50 or more attendees.

The traditional “smoke filled room” is a thing of the past; all meetings are non-smoking only in public rooms in this country.

Smokers still flock together outside the meeting areas; however. Meetings usually end on time and are closed in a way that is decided upon by the particular group.

A “pot” is typically passed around the room for voluntary contributions to cover expenses. No contribution is required.  Indeed, first-timers are frequently advised not to contribute. The usual donation is a pound.

At the close of the meeting it is common for the chairperson to remind everyone of the Twelfth Tradition (the principle of anonymity) and to invite the group to stand, join hands in a circle, and recite the Serenity Prayer.

After the meeting the room is cleared and put back to how it was before the meeting started. People generally talk amongst themselves and offer newcomers phone numbers, lists of meetings and encouragement to come back.

Meetings –North-East-Wales-30th May 2018


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