The two most common kinds of A.A. meetings are:
As the term suggests, meetings of this type are open to alcoholics and their families and to anyone interested in solving a personal drinking problem or helping someone else to solve such a problem.
Most open meetings follow a more or less set pattern, although distinctive variations have developed in some areas. A chairperson describes the A.A. program briefly for the benefit of any newcomers to A.A. in the audience and introduces one, two or three speakers who relate their personal drinking histories and may give their personal interpretation of A.A.
Midway through the meeting there is usually a period for local A.A. announcements, and a treasurer passes the hat to defray costs of the meeting hall, literature, and incidental expenses. The meeting adjourns, often followed by informal visiting over coffee or other light refreshments.
Guests at A.A. open meetings are reminded that any opinions or interpretations they may hear are solely those of the speaker involved. All members are free to interpret the recovery program in their own terms, but none can speak for the local group or for A.A. as a whole.
These meetings are limited to alcoholics and those who think or know they have a problem with drinking. They provide an opportunity for members to relate their experiences with one another on problems related to drinking patterns and attempts to achieve stable sobriety. They also permit detailed discussion of various elements in the recovery program.