AA meetings last about an hour, although they can be longer or shorter depending on the type of meeting you attend. Most meetings begin with a preamble and readings from the Aa literature on alcoholism/addiction.
AA meetings are designed to address the various aspects of a person's recovery from addiction to alcohol. Whether you want to focus on your spiritual side, get inspired by others' stories of recovery or learn more about the Big Book, there is a meeting for you.
The preamble of an Aa meeting is a short statement that describes what the group is all about and how it conducts meetings. It also reminds members that the most important part of AA meetings is sharing experiences and seeking recovery.
The term "preamble" comes from the Latin praeambulum, which means "walking before." It can be used to describe an introduction to a speech or another written document.
Alcoholics Anonymous uses a preamble to introduce its 12-step program and explain why people become addicted to alcohol. It's a good way to introduce new members to the organization and make them feel more at home. The preamble is also an opportunity for a member to tell the group why they're sober and what they've learned about addiction.
Many meetings begin with a reading from the Big Book and may also include the Serenity Prayer. These readings are conference-approved literature and are often from the section on How It Works or from one or more of the Twelve Traditions.
After the readings, people talk about what they are reading and share their experiences in recovery. This is usually done in a circular fashion and members are expected to stay close to their topic.
The person who leads the meeting can ask for questions or comments from the group if they wish, but they are not allowed to interrupt someone else's sharing. This is called crosstalk and it can be very upsetting to other members.
Aa meetings are held in various formats, such as in-person, online and over the phone. The members of each group determine the meeting format.
A chairperson or secretary will lead the meeting, usually opening with the Serenity Prayer and readings from conference-approved literature, such as "How It Works" from the Big Book, the Twelve Steps or the Twelve Traditions.
After the readings, there is a period of discussion. This is where people share their stories, strength and hope for recovery in Aa.
Speakers are selected beforehand to speak at a particular meeting about their drinking experiences and what they are like in sobriety. They may also talk about their interpretation of the program of Aa and how it has helped them personally.
Whether closed or open, most AA meetings include discussion. A member serving as a "leader" or "chair" opens the meeting and selects a topic for discussion.
Some groups choose Big Book chapters to study each week, while others select a theme that will recur in the meeting. Usually the topic is chosen to relate to one of the steps or traditions.
The discussion at an Aa meeting is often quite interesting. However, if the topic is too general or vague, it can easily get off track. Groups should avoid discussing topics that have nothing to do with AA. This could include politics, religion, therapy and other recovery programs.
Alcoholics Anonymous is a Fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with one another. This sharing has helped them to stay sober and to live happy, healthy, and productive lives without alcohol.
There are two types of meetings – open (OS) and closed (CS). Closed meeting formats usually involve a speaker, who tells the group about their personal drinking experiences that led them to A.A. They may also give their interpretation of the recovery program and suggest what sobriety has meant to them personally.
After the speaker has closed, the meeting opens again with someone reading or talking about a topic related to sobriety. These topics are usually based on the Big Book, the Twelve Steps, or other literature. Some meetings focus on a specific Step or Tradition in rotation, others discuss more than one at a time.