As Bill Sees It: Meeting reads and discusses writings by Bill W., co-founder of AA.
Big Book: Meeting reads and discusses AA principles and personal stories contained in the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, AA’s basic text.
Birthdays: Meeting celebrates member birthdays, defined as years of continuous sobriety from an alcoholic’s sobriety date. Birthdays are also called anniversaries.
Breakfast: Meeting offers breakfast to members. Meetings individually decide what to serve as breakfast.
Candlelight: Meeting uses candles for lighting and turns off all electrical lights.
Closed: Meeting is limited to those who have a desire to stop drinking. You can attend a closed meeting even if you have not been to an AA meeting before. Closed meetings provide an environment for members to be surrounded only by others who have experienced similar situations and struggles. These meetings can be of particular benefit to new and prospective AA members, helping them understand that they are not in this by themselves; no matter who you are, other members are right there with you, working on the same steps in the journey of recovery.
Cross Talk Permitted: Meeting members may constructively comment on other members’ shares. (Many meetings do not permit cross talk and request that members limit their shares to their own experiences.)
Digital Basket: Meeting accepts voluntary 7th Tradition contributions using digital services like Venmo and PayPal. (You do not have to make a 7th Tradition contribution to attend an AA meeting.)
Discussion: Meeting discusses topics relevant to sobriety. Depending on each meeting’s format, these topics may be identified by a meeting member, speaker, AA literature, or other means.
Grapevine: Meeting reads and discusses articles from the AA Grapevine, commonly described as “a meeting in print.”
Hybrid meetings: Meetings that happen in person but also include the option to attend virtually.
Immutable characteristics: Unchangeable qualities or traits of a person that they do not have control over and that have a large impact on their experiences (often in contrast to those who do not share the same immutable characteristic), like alcoholism. Many such characteristics are considered protected groups under US law to prevent discrimination and harassment (i.e., race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, or disability).
In the same way that a nonalcoholic cannot fully understand the experience of an alcoholic, segments of the population who share an immutable characteristic may feel the need to form a group that can fully understand their unique experiences in alcoholism and recovery.
This is why the LACOAA Directory only lists immutable characteristics as “meeting types.” However, groups that wish to categorize themselves by mutable (i.e., changeable) characteristics, such as preferences, hobbies, professions, or any other variable and/or voluntary trait or attribute, are welcome to do so.
Living Sober: Meeting reads and discusses passages from the book Living Sober.
Meditation: Meeting silently meditates for part of the meeting. The length of the meditation depends on the meeting’s format.
Member: The only requirement for “membership” in AA is a desire to stop drinking. “You are an AA member if you say so. … We want you to be sure that you get the same great chance for sobriety that we’ve had. So you’re an AA member the minute you declare yourself” (Tradition 3).
Open: Meeting is available to anyone interested in Alcoholics Anonymous’ program of recovery from alcoholism. Non-alcoholics may attend as observers, under the condition that they agree to preserve the anonymity of AA members.
Speaker: Meeting listens to one or more speakers who share their experience, strength, and hope about their recovery. Speakers are selected by one or more meeting members, depending on the meeting’s format.
Step Meeting: Meeting discusses topics relating to the Twelve Steps of AA Step meetings sometimes include discussions relating to the Twelve Traditions of AA. Depending on the meeting’s format, topics may be identified by a group member, speaker, AA literature, or other means.
Tag Participation: Tag participation is a type of discussion meeting. In tag participation meetings, the person who just spoke calls on another person in the meeting to share. Once that person finishes speaking, they call on another person, and so on. (While you are encouraged to share at meetings, you do not have to share, even if you are called on. If people don’t wish to speak, they may say something like “I’m just listening today” or “I’ll pass to . . .”) See FAQ for more info.
Tradition Study: Meeting discusses topics relating to the Twelve Traditions of AA. Depending on the meetings’ format, these topics may be identified by a group member, speaker, AA literature, or other means.
With Alanon: AA meetings occur at the same time and in the same building as an Alanon meeting. The Alanon meetings are held in rooms separate from the AA meetings. This designation does not have anything to do with the AA meeting—it just potentially helps with scheduling. (Because of our traditions, the Directory does not list “double winner” meetings, which are meetings where people who identify both as alcoholics and alanons meet together and discuss issues relating to both programs.) See FAQ for more info.
With Alateen: AA meetings occur at the same time and in the same building as an Alateen meeting. The Alateen meetings are held in rooms separate from the AA meetings. This designation does not have anything to do with the AA meeting—it just potentially helps with scheduling. See FAQ for more info.