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A.C.A. ACoA Meeting Template (Regular Discussion Meeting)
Template (full script) for holding a regular discussion group meeting of Adult Children Anonymous a.k.a. A.C. of Alcoholics / Dysfunctional Families

Meeting Template


[Opening the Meeting]

GOOD EVENING and WELCOME to the regular                  [insert the day and time here (ours is "Monday night")] discussion meeting of the                  [insert your group's name here (ours is "Courage to Change")] group of Adult Children Anonymous. My name is                  [here you introduce yourself] .  I qualify as an Adult Child and I am your chairperson for tonight.

We meet to share the experience we had as children growing up in an alcoholic and/or dysfunctional home - the way it affected us then and the way it affects us now. By practicing the 12 Steps, focusing on the Solution and accepting a Higher Power of our own understanding, we find freedom from the effects of alcoholism and family dysfunction. We identify with the Problem and learn to live by the Solution, one day at a time. We wish at last to find our true selves. Would you please join me in a moment of silence followed by the Serenity Prayer. [ as required: "May we have that moment now…"]

Serenity Prayer
grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
[and the]  Wisdom to know the difference.
View "The Serenity Prayer" (in a new window) now view topic


I have asked                  [or "                 has volunteered"]  to read the PREAMBLE. View "The A.C.A. Preamble" (in a new window) now view topic
I have asked                  to read the PROBLEM. View "The Problem" (in a new window) now view topic
I have asked                  to read the SOLUTION. View "The Solution" (in a new window) now view topic
I have asked                  to read the 12 STEPS. View "The 12 Steps of A.C.A." (in a new window) now view topic
I have asked                  to read the 12 TRADITIONS. View "The Traditions of A.C.A." (in a new window) now view topic
I have asked                  to read the DAILY AFFIRMATION.

[7th Tradition]

There are no dues or fees as the group is self supporting through our own contributions. [Pass the hat or baskets for the 7th Tradition; then, as appropriate: "Contributions from this group go towards…"]

[Newcomers Welcome]

If you are attending Adult Children Anonymous for the first time, WELCOME. [Here the chairperson asks…] Are there any Newcomers here tonight? [If there are none, you can skip down to the Introductions.]



Keep coming back. This Program is not easy, but if you can handle six meetings you will get a better understanding of how A.C.A. may help you. This will give you freedom from the past. Both you and your life will change. Many of us could not recognize or accept until now that some of our current self-defeating attitudes and behaviours resulted from some experience related to alcoholism or dysfunction in our childhoods. By attending at least six meetings to get an understanding of how we can use A.C.A. to help us and thereafter attending regularly, we come to know and act as our real selves.

We do this by identifying with our common Problem and Solution. We choose to become our own loving parent. We come out of denial and share the pain of childhood memories. We experience love and acceptance from members of our A.C.A. group. We grow to an awareness that from our reactions to experiences in the past and present we form patterns of behaviours. We learn that these patterns can change. So, please keep coming back. Listen, learn and most of all share your feelings.

As a newcomer you may choose the Newcomers Group to get an understanding of how the program works or you may choose either the Step or Characteristic discussion group. The chairperson for the Newcomers Group tonight is                  [introduce the member who will chair that group to any newcomers].

[Introductions - members qualify]

To begin with, we ask you to introduce yourself by your first name only as we go around the room. You will hear most members also say "…and I am an adult child", "I qualify" or "I belong. " see Note 2 To "qualify" simply means that one identifies with the characteristics of the adult child, the same way an alcoholic identifies with the disease of alcoholism. We do this when we introduce ourselves lest we mysteriously forget that we are still adult children.

My name is                  [here you introduce yourself again] and I qualify.

[Now allow everyone in the meeting to introduce themselves]

[Set-Up for Discussion Groups]

In the small groups we avoid cross-talk. By cross-talk we mean any reply to an individual while he or she is contributing. We do this because as children we were most likely not allowed our voice and also because an interruption could interfere with an individuals recollection of memories or experiencing of emotions.

Please note that no member has to read or to share if they do not feel like doing so. They may indicate this by saying "I Pass".

The topics for this evening are:

  • Step # is                  [here you introduce the Step]
  • Characteristic # is                  [here you introduce the Characteristic]

[Divide the group up into smaller discussion groups by asking who would like to be in the Step discussion group. Then do the same for the Characteristic discussion group (if there are more than a comfortable number (usually 6-7 max) of members going to either of the discussions, ask those interested to "number off" and break them into several groups).]

[For each of the small groups, ask for a volunteer to be the chairperson " see Note 3 and identify where that group will meet.] see Note 4

There will be a five-minute break before the discussion groups go to the meeting rooms. We will meet back here at                  [insert the time for your group's closing here (ours is 8:50 p.m.)] for the closing.

[Discussion Groups]

[The individual discussion groups then take place under the leadership of the individual group chairpersons]

[Closing 1. Announcements]

Are there any ACA or other Anonymous Group announcements?

There are meeting lists, phone lists, [where applicable, an A.C.A. Newsletter] and other information on the front table to which you may help yourself. We have also a register where you may, if you wish, record your first name only, your phone number and the date you joined us. [where applicable, In one year's time, you may then choose to celebrate your progress by receiving a Teddy Bear. see Note 5 If there are Newcomers present, briefly explain what a "Teddy Bear night" is.]

We also have a library for the loan of recovery books. [as/where applicable, We ask that a 10 dollar deposit be left with the librarian until the loaned book is returned]; the librarian for tonight is                  [introduce the librarian].

[If your group gets together for fellowship after the meeting, this is a good point to announce that and, if necessary, to see whether anyone needs a ride to get there.].

[Closing 2. Closing Affirmation]

In closing , I remind you that the opinions expressed here belong strictly to those who gave them. Take what you want and leave the rest. We ask that you treat the things you've heard and seen here tonight, with confidentiality. Keep them within these walls and the confines of your mind.

Whatever your problems, concerns, or issues, there are others here who have had them too. If you allow yourself to listen to both yourself and others, you may find the help you are looking for. You will come to realize that there is no situation too difficult to be improved upon and no unhappiness too great to be lessened.

We aren't perfect. The welcome we give you may not show the warmth we have in our hearts for you. After a while, you'll discover that though you may not like all of us, you'll love and accept us in a very special way - the same way we already love and accept you. Let the understanding, love, and serenity of the program grow in you one day at a time.

Will all who care to do so, please join me in the closing prayer. see Note 6

I put my hand in yours
and together we can do
what we could never do alone.
No longer is there a sense of hopelessness
No longer must we depend
upon our own unsteady willpower.
We are all together now,
reaching out our hands
for power and strength
greater than our own
and as we join hands,
we find love and understanding
beyond our wildest dreams.
View "The Closing Affirmation" (in a new window) now view topic

(as used by Ottawa's Monday Night "Courage to Change" Group) 

bullet Note 1: Please that this template covers a "regular" meeting. Variations are of course required for other events, such as business meetings, Teddy Bear nights or other presentations and speakers meetings. Time permitting, other templates will be added to cover these in the months to come.
bullet Note 2: If there are newcomers at the meeting, you may wish to explain that it's acceptable for them simply to state their name, without qualifying, as they may well not yet be ready (or have enough information), to take that step.
bullet Note 3: Before everyone heads off for their break, ensure that the chairpersons have with them the Step or Characteristic readings for their groups. Some groups also have a sheet for the discussion group chairpersons reminding them of the basic procedure and rules of order (such as the "no cross-talk" rule). [We'll try to add a sample one of these to the site in future months.]
bullet Note 4: It is usually a good idea to have one of the groups (typically the newcomers' orientation) meet in the main room. This provides basic security for the group's materials and ensures that someone will be present if other newcomers, or group members, arrive late looking for a meeting.
bullet Note 5: Not all groups use teddy bears to mark progress in recovery. if your group uses chips or medallions, use this point in the night to explain your own traditions.
bullet Note 6: If newcomers are present, it's important to explain here that after the closing, it is traditional for members (who so wish) to ask others if they would like to give them a hug - and that it's quite acceptable to simply shake hands or to say "No, but thanks." Point out that respect for personal boundaries is an important element throughout all A.C.A. activities.

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