The Difference Between Open and Closed Meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous & Al-Anon Family Groups meetings are generally closed meetings unless otherwise stated. Closed meetings are limited to members and prospective members only.
It is up to individuals to determine if they are “qualified” for membership, based on the following criteria from Tradition 3 of the 12 step groups:
Alcoholics Anonymous The only requirement for AA membership is a desire to stop drinking.
Al-Anon The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.
Open meetings are for anyone who is interested in AA or Al-Anon. If a meeting is “open” it will be so designated on the published schedule. Open meetings can be attended by students, professionals, and other non-members interested in learning more about the recovery programs.
The designation of a meeting as “open” does not change the meetings primary purpose of the group. The Primary Purpose from Tradition 5 of the individual fellowships are:
Alcoholics Anonymous Each group has but one primary purpose: to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.
Al-Anon Al-Anon has but one primary purpose: to help families of alcoholics.
Generally speaking, when attending one 12 step meeting, members do not mention their membership in other 12 step groups during the meeting, to keep the meeting focused on its primary purpose.
If a meeting is not designated either open or closed on a published schedule, it should be considered closed.