Types of 12 Step Meetings
A VARIETY OF 12-STEP MEETINGS
The following descriptions will give you a general idea of the types of meetings available. Your particular locale may vary somewhat from this list. In some areas, the meeting directory will tell you the type of meeting via a code system described in the directory (for example, .O. usually stands for an open meeting).
1. Open/Closed. Open meetings are open to whomever wishes to attend. Closed meetings are limited to those who have the desire to stop their troublesome behavior, whether drinking, gambling, etc.
2. Newcomer. Meetings where foundational issues provide the focus, such as, Why do I need and how do I find a sponsor? Why attend meetings at all?
3. Speaker. One person will tell his or her story of recovery. What it was like during the addictive phase of his or her life, what happened to interrupt the addictive pattern, and what it is like now to live in recovery.
4. Step speaker. A speaker uses personal examples to illustrate how the 12 steps have influenced his or her life choices. The speaker may also offer an explanation of the deeper meaning of each step.
5. Discussion. A chairperson starts the meeting by introducing a particular topic, and members discuss the topic. The meeting may be designed to give everyone an opportunity to share or to allow a few people to share in the time available. Everyone always has the option to pass.
6. Step meeting. The topic is about one or more of the steps and how it applies to the attendees. lives. The meeting may begin with a chairperson introducing a topic from a specific step or by everyone reading all or part of a step from the literature (e.g., in AA the book Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions), then discussing how it applies to their personal situations. Some meetings are always on certain steps, e.g., 10-11-12. (Meetings that focus on the 10-11-12 steps can be more spiritual in content.)
7. Big Book study. Big Book is a pseudonym for the main literature of the recovery group. For example, in AA the book is titled Alcoholics Anonymous, not a name some folks would willingly use in public. These meetings use a portion of the literature to facilitate discussion of how the reading applies in ones own life.
8. Gender specific. Men and women have their own meetings, not so much to complain about the opposite sex, but because relationships and sexual matters have often been a source of tremendously painful wounds. Gender- specific environments can feel safer and allow for more personal sharing.
9. Other specialties. These are groups run in a language foreign to the majority (e.g., English meetings in Germany), groups formed to serve particular ethnic or cultural groups, and groups for gays and lesbians. There are also groups based on a common profession. Some groups eschew any mention of God or spiritual matters and refer to themselves as agnostic or atheist groups.
10. Smoking/non-smoking. Smoking meetings can be dense enough to get your fix on passive smoke alone. Non-smoking meetings often include smokers who are willing to take a break from nicotine for the benefit of that particular meeting.
11. Candlelight. Usually held late at night, these meetings can be more spiritual.
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