What types of meetings does A.A. sponsor?
There are two basic types of meetings… Speaker and Discussion. Either type can be Open or Closed.
Speaker meetings consist mainly of a main speaker that usually reviews his or her past drinking experiences that led to their arrival at A.A., followed by his or her interpretation of the recovery program and how they apply it to their life. Participation is limited to the speaker who is a volunteer (speaking at A.A. meetings is not a requirement of membership).
Open discussion meetings are “round-table” discussions pertaining to some aspect of sobriety or the A.A. recovery program. Participation is voluntary. Members share their experience with each other. Open meetings are open to the public. Spouses often accompany their alcoholic mates to these meetings. Interested parties are also welcome to attend, particularly those whose work involves contact with alcoholics.
Closed meetings are restricted to A.A. members only (anyone who has a desire to stop drinking may consider themselves to be a member if they so choose).
As a general rule speaker meetings are open and discussion meetings are closed, although there are several open discussion groups in the area. Events such as conventions or roundups are weekend or one-day gatherings that provide a series of speakers and panelists. Such events are open to the public. Note that unlike regular A.A. meetings there is usually a registration fee involved to cover the expenses involved with the event.