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What happens at an AA meeting?

Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as AA, is an international organisation for people who have a problem with alcohol.

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in health

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There are Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings held worldwide. It is open to anyone who is seeking help for an alcohol problem.

AA is self-supporting through its own contributions, there are no fees or dues to attend a meeting.

What happens at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting?

There are two main types of meetings: open and closed.

Open meetings

Open meetings are open to anyone who would like to learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous, whether they are dependent on alcohol or not. If you are concerned about someone’s drinking you could attend this meeting to get more information or go to an open meeting together.

These meetings are also open to others who might work with the public or want to learn more about Alcoholics Anonymous such as healthcare professionals, social care workers, teachers, Gardaí and journalists etc.

Closed meetings

Closed meetings are only for those who have, or think they may have a problem with alcohol.

These meetings give attendees the chance to share their experience, strength and hope. No one has to share their experience or take part in a discussion if they don't want to.

Other types of meetings will be indicated as follows. These are still closed meetings and only for those who have, or think they may have, a problem with alcohol.

  • BB: This stands for 'Big Book' which talks about the story of Alcoholics Anonymous and how it works.
  • S: This stands for ‘Steps’ and the meeting will focus on the 12 Steps programme.
  • T: This meeting will focus on the 12 Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous.
  • B: These meetings are specifically for beginners, although people at any stage of their recovery can attend.

Meetings usually last about an hour. Those attending can arrive up to 15 minutes early if they would like to talk to someone on their own. Members often have refreshments when the meeting is over, this gives members an opportunity to chat informally.

Introductions are always on a first name basis and no records are kept to protect members’ anonymity

Contacting Alcoholics Anonymous

If you are concerned with your drinking you can contact the Alcoholic Anonymous General Services Office on 01 842 0700 or email

You can find more information about Alcoholics Anonymous and where meetings are held by referring to their website at

Other alcohol support services

Have a look at our article on treatment and support for alcohol dependency for more information or contact one of the following services:

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Published Novem­ber 11th2019
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