In published schedules of 12-step meetings, some appear as open meetings, while others appear as closed meetings. Open meetings are open to the public while closed meetings are open to members only. However, each program’s policy will determine who counts as a member.If youIf you
Closed 12-step meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon Family Groups, and Adult Children of Alcoholics are generally closed sessions unless otherwise noted. Closed meetings are reserved for members and potential members only.
It is up to the individual to use the following criteria from tradition 3 of the 12 level groups to determine whether they are qualified for membership:
ACOA: The only requirement for membership in ACOA is a
Desire to recover from the effects of growing up in an alcoholic or otherwise disturbed family.
- Al-Anon family groups: The only requirement for membership is that a relative or friend has a problem with alcoholism.
- Anonymous alcoholics: The only requirement for A.A. membership is a desire to stop drinking.
- Debtor Anonymous: The only requirement for D.A. Membership is a desire to stop running into unsecured debt.
- Player anonymous: The only requirement for Gamblers’ anonymous membership is a desire to quit gambling.
- Narcotics anonymous: The only requirement for membership is the desire to stop using drugs.
Reasons for closed 12-step meetings
The spiritual basis of all 12-level groups is anonymity. Members of the group can attend closed meetings knowing that each participant is guided by the steps and traditions of the group. This encourages each member to maintain their own anonymity and the anonymity of other participants in the meeting.If youIf you
In a closed meeting, members can speak openly and honestly about their problem or situation, knowing that everyone else in the room has experienced similar situations.
Open 12-step meetings
However, if the meeting is an open meeting, members understand that there may be visitors from the public or even the media in the meeting and act accordingly.
Usually, but not always, open-ended meetings are public speaking meetings where a person is determined to speak and tell their story – how it was, what happened, and what their life is now. The speaker knows in advance that the meeting is an open meeting and that there may be visitors from non-members.
Open meetings are for anyone who wants to learn more about the support group program. Open meetings are open to students, professionals, and other non-members who want to learn more about the recovery programs.
Main purpose of open meetings
Labeling a meeting as “open” does not change the primary purpose of the meeting for the group. In general, when members attend a 12-step meeting, members do not mention their membership in other 12-step groups during the meeting in order to focus the meeting on its main purpose.
If a meeting is not marked as open or closed on a published schedule, in most cases it should be considered closed.