Types of Meetings and What to Expect

What to expect at a meeting:

There are no requirements, dues or fees. You just show up. At the meeting they will start out by going over announcements and doing some readings and then they will ask if anybody there is new. You just need to raise your hand and say “Hey, I’m XXX” and they will welcome you. They may ask you if this is your first meeting ever but then they will get on with the meeting. After the meeting they will probably give you a list of phone numbers to call if you need anyone and they will probably try and chitchat with you. You can always call our number (865-522-9667) 24/7 to speak with someone. We can also get you in touch with someone who can talk to you before hand and maybe meet you there if you like.

If you are a student, please let us know at the beginning of any open meeting so we will know to have a regular meeting.

All meetings are either open or closed:

Open meetings (OS) are open to the general public, and are a good option if you want to bring a family member or friend for moral support although only alcoholics may share. In keeping with our singleness of purpose and our Third Tradition which states that “The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking,” we ask that all who participate confine their discussion to their problems with alcohol.

Closed meetings (CD) are limited to AA members and those who think they have a drinking problem. If you think you have a problem with alcohol, you are welcome to attend this meeting.  We ask that when discussing our problems, we confine ourselves to those as they relate to alcoholism.

No matter what type of meeting you attend, you will likely be approached by some members who will help you get started. Don’t be shy to ask for phone numbers, most of us are glad to give them. That way, if you feel triggered, you can pick up a phone rather than a drink. If no one approaches you, see the chairperson at the end of meeting and mention you are new.

The most important thing is to keep coming back. If your first meeting doesn’t suit you, try another. Keep getting phone numbers. Use them. Soon you will discover a group where you feel comfortable, and be surrounded by people who freely offer you support on your journey of recovery.

The most common kinds of A.A. meetings and their abbreviations are:

Discussion (D). Whether closed or open, an A.A. member serving as “leader” or “chair” opens the meeting, using that group’s format and selects a topic for discussion.

Background for many topic meetings derives from A.A. literature, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (Big Book), Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions, As Bill Sees It, Daily Reflections, and from the A.A. Grapevine.

These are the best meetings for medical students to attend.

Speaker (S). One or more members selected beforehand “share,” as described in the Big Book, telling what they were like, what happened and what they are like now.

Depending upon the group conscience for general guidelines, some groups prefer that members who speak have a minimum period of continuous sobriety. Speaker meetings often are “open” meetings.

Newcomers (N). Usually led by a group member who has been sober awhile, these are often question-and-answer sessions to help newcomers. Beginners meetings may also follow a discussion format, or focus on Steps One, Two, and Three.

Step (St), Tradition(T), Literature (L) or Big Book (B). Because the Twelve Steps are the foundation of personal recovery in A.A., many groups devote one or more meetings a week to the study of each Step in rotation; some discuss two or three Steps at a time. These same formats may be applied to group meetings on the Big Book or the Twelve Traditions. Many groups make it a practice to read aloud pertinent material from the Big Book or Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions at the beginning of the meeting.

Grapevine (GV)- These are meetings where A.A. topics from the A.A. Grapevine may be discussed.

Eat and Speak (E/S)- Pot Luck and a speaker meeting

Joe and Charlie (J/C)- Big Book Study featuring the Joe and Charlie series.

Women’s (W), Lesbian/Gay/Bi/Trans/Queer (LGBTQ), Men’s (M): Meetings attended by the group listed.

Fireside (F):Meeting will be outside and by a fire if the weather permits.  Meetings will be held indoors if needed.