8 Things to Know about 12 Steps

What to Know When you Attend an AA Meeting

by Butch Odom

1. Open/Closed Meetings

Open meetings can be attended by anyone including family members and others who are affected by an addict. Closed meetings are for people who see themselves as struggling or living with an addiction.

2. Anonymous

Who attends the meeting and what is said during the meeting must stay in the meeting.  Anonymity is of upmost importance.

3. Non-judgmental

Anonymity provides the spiritual foundation for meetings to be open and honest. Statements judging or ridiculing participants are unacceptable.

4. No fees

A basket is often passed around during each meeting, but contributions are not required.

5. Participants

In most 12-step meetings, you will find people who are very early in their recovery journey as well as people who have been in recovery for years.

6. Peer-led

There are no designated meeting leaders. Leaders rotate throughout the group.

7. No cross-talk

When someone is speaking during a 12-step meeting, other participants listen. No one else talks until the person has finished speaking.

8. No advice

Participants in 12-step meetings can speak of their personal experiences and their own responses to challenges, but they will not say, “This is what you should do…”


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