In Alcohol Abuse

The expected etiquette during all meetings is for members to remain silent until the speaker has finished.

Every so often, the meeting “goes around the room” and all attendees have the opportunity to speak if they want to. On other occasions, moreover, the discussion leader may call on specific members and invite them to share their experiences. Members who do not wish to speak simply say “I’ll just listen tonight” or “Thanks, I’ll pass.” Responses such as these are perfectly fine due to the fact that no one is ever strong-armed or forced to speak.

If a person does not have a chemical dependency problem, he or she should attend open meetings. More to the point, closed meetings are specifically for people who have a chemical dependency problem.

Meeting size varies from small to large depending on where the meeting is held, who attends the meeting (mixed, men, women, young people, and so on), and on the specific meeting format (i.e., discussion, Big Book, step, or speaker). While “small” meetings typically have 15 or fewer attendees, “large” meetings can have as many as 30, 40, 50 or more members.

Smoking and nonsmoking. The traditional “smoke filled room” is becoming a thing of the past as an increasing number of meetings are nonsmoking only. Smokers still huddle together outside the meeting areas; however, meetings that permit smoking inside are becoming increasingly rare.

Meetings usually end on time and are closed in a way that is decided upon by the particular group. A basket is typically passed around the room for voluntary contributions to help cover expenses. No contribution is required. Indeed, first-timers are often advised not to contribute. The usual donation is one dollar.

At the close of the meeting it is common for the chairperson to remind everyone of the Twelfth Tradition (the principle of anonymity) and to invite the group to stand, join hands in a circle, and recite the Lord’s Prayer or the Serenity Prayer.

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