The primary purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous, is to help the alcoholics who are still suffering. One of the most effective ways of doing so, is through AA meetings. These meetings are a safe place where someone with a drinking or drug problem can get help from their peers. At AA meetings, people share honestly about what is going on in their lives. People are encouraged to share their experience, strength, and hope with each other. They are urged to be honest about their struggles. Through this type of sharing and relating, AA members are able to find camaraderie and solutions to their problems, that they might not have found otherwise.
Ultimately, a meeting is also an optimal place for a member or a potential member of AA, to find a sponsor. A sponsor is a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous, who is able to guide another alcoholic through AA’s 12 steps. Through listening to sober members of AA share their stories at AA meetings, a person might become inspired by one of them, and ask them to be their sponsor.
Meetings are not a requirement, but they have proven to be a very instrumental tool in gaining long-term sobriety. Many people in AA with multiple years of continued sobriety, will continue to attend AA meetings long after the problem with alcohol has subsided. Many AA members continue to attend AA meetings as a means of maintenance and spiritual fulfillment. In AA meetings, alcoholics find security and freedom, in relating to one another.
Some AA meetings are open to the public (open meetings), while other meetings are only for people who identify as alcoholic (closed meetings). There are even AA meetings that are all men, or all women; as well as several other classifications. The purpose of AA meetings is to offer support and to encourage recovery through the sharing of experience, strength, and hope.