Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Protocol
Generally speaking, a "single share" Alcoholics Anonymous meeting protocol is followed in most meetings.
This means that members do not speak for any length of time more than once during the meeting.
Occasionally, however, exceptions to this standard are made, depending upon the circumstances or upon the
group. In fact, due to the diversity and differences of each membership group, very few, if any Alcoholics
Anonymous meeting are identically the same.
The Importance of Avoiding Cross Talk
In all meetings, "cross talk" is kept to a minimum. "Cross talk" from the perspective of Alcoholics
Anonymous means questioning or interrupting the person who is sharing and speaking at the time, giving direct
advice to others who have already shared, speaking directly to another person rather than to the group, and telling
another member what to think or how to act.
The usual etiquette during all meetings is for members to remain silent until the speaker has finished.
Every once in a while, the meeting "goes around the room" and all attendees have the opportunity to speak if
they want to. Other times the discussion leader might call on specific members and invite them to share their
Members who do not wish to speak simply say "Thanks, I'll pass" or "I'll just listen tonight." Responses such as
these are always accepted since pressure is never exerted for people to speak.
If a person does not have a chemical dependency problem, he or she should attend open meetings. Stated
differently, closed meetings are specifically for people who have a chemical dependency problem.
Meeting size varies from small to large depending on the specific meeting format (such as Big Book, discussion,
step, or speaker), where the meeting is held, and who attends the meeting (e.g., young people, women, men, and
mixed). Whereas "small" meetings usually have 15 or fewer members, "large" meetings can have as many as 30, 40, 50
or more attendees.
Alcoholics Anonymous, Meetings, and the "Single Share" Protocol
Meetings are one of the foundational components of Alcoholics Anonymous. According to the usual
Alcoholics Anonymous meeting protocol, a chairperson, who is usually a member of the group, will call the
meeting to order and follow the format for the type of meeting he or she is conducting: beginner meeting,
discussion meeting, speaker meeting, etc.
If the chairperson asks if there are any newcomers, visitors should feel free to raise their hands and give
their first name.
For most of the time, a "single share" protocol is followed in meetings which means that members do not speak
for any length of time more than once during the meeting. Occasionally, nevertheless, exceptions to this protocol
are made, depending upon the group or the situation.
Smoking and Nonsmoking
The traditional "smoke filled room" is becoming a thing of the past as more and more meetings are nonsmoking
only. Smokers still congregate 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
usually passed around the room for voluntary contributions to pay for expenses. No contribution is required.
Indeed, first-timers are frequently advised not to contribute. The usual donation is one dollar.
At the end of the meeting it is customary 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 Serenity
Prayer or The Lord's Prayer.
Conclusion: Alcoholics Anonymous Meeting Protocol
Meetings are one of the key components of Alcoholics Anonymous. In most meetings a "single share"
Alcoholics Anonymous meeting protocol is followed. This means that members do not speak for any length of
time more than once during the meeting.
According to the typical Alcoholics Anonymous meeting protocol, a chairperson, who is usually a member
of the group, will call the meeting to order and follow the format for the type of meeting he or she is conducting:
beginner meeting, speaker meeting, discussion meeting, etc.