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What Happens in an Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting?

If you’ve never been to an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting, you may be wondering what to expect when you first walk through the doors. First things first, there’s no need to feel embarrassed or ashamed that you’re here. Everyone else who shows up has been in your shoes, and they understand what it’s like to be new. You earned your seat in these meetings, and we want you to feel at home.

Every Alcoholics Anonymous meeting is different, yet they are all the same. What this means is, there is one primary purpose of all groups, and that is to carry the message of recovery to the alcoholic still suffering. So no matter where you attend a meeting, everyone there is not only there for themselves, but they are there to help others. It is helpful to grab a meeting schedule. Many meetings are open and anyone is welcome, but some are closed “C” and only self-identifying alcoholics should attend.

There are women’s, men’s, LGBT, and foreign or sign language meetings. The formats also change, but usually there will be a secretary and a leader, who will open the meeting with several announcements. It is at this time they will ask if there are any newcomers in their first 30 days of sobriety. If this is you, you can raise your hand and introduce yourself and say something like, “Hi, I’m Bill and I’m an alcoholic.” This isn’t meant to embarrass you, rather, it’s an easy way for others to get to know you and welcome you to the group.

After the introductions and readings, the leader will let you know the format and kick off the meeting. If you choose to share, introduce yourself again like you did before, and share for usually no more than a few minutes, on the topic or whatever else is on your mind. Once the meeting is over, a few more announcements will be read, then everyone circles up and closes out with a prayer, such as the Serenity Prayer.

It’s a good idea to stick around afterwards and get people’s phone numbers. Don’t be afraid to call them, they want you to hear from you! Not only does reaching out help you, but it helps them, too. If you are struggling with addiction, detox and treatment are the first steps. Alcoholics Anonymous meetings are frequently brought into treatment, and clients may also be taken to outside meetings. Don’t wait another day, give us a call and start your new journey into recovery today.


The Serenity Recovery Center stands as a landmark of the Encino Hospital Medical Center offering the best of detox. Committed to providing comfort and care, our private detox program supports the first foundational steps of sobriety. Contact us today for information: 866.294.9401