Would Conference discuss: a) whether the Fellowship’s use of the terminology “closed” and “open” to describe AA meeting attendance restrictions confuses newcomers and thereby detracts from our primary purpose, and b) if required, recommend a better solution?


Some newcomers see an AA meeting listed as a “closed” meeting, and think that it is shut, or closed-down, and therefore may not attend the meeting. If this situation occurs, we may be failing to uphold Tradition 5: each group has but one primary purpose to carry its message to the alcoholic who still suffers.

Even though the meaning of the words “closed” and “open” is usually explained in the meeting’s listing footnotes (reproduced below) as  tell as in our literature, the wording may still provide an initial source of misunderstanding to newcomers unfamiliar with our

Definition of Open and Closed Meetings:
The Closed Meeting; is intended for alcoholics and for those with an alcohol problem who have a desire to stop drinking.

The Open Meeting; is intended for alcoholics and non alcoholics e.g. family, friends and anyone interested in AA.

Note: This question only concerns the use of the terminology “closed” and “open” to describe different meetings, and not the actual intention of restricting attendance at meetings.

• Meeting Guide Footnotes on the AA GB website
• The AA Group (AA pamphlet)
• 2009 Conference Recommendation C4 Q1

Consider the contribution to the carrying of the message, financial and practical implications when deliberating each question.

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