Cult-like or just welcoming?
AA is respected
I've been to plenty of meetings where they shout your name, and some where they don't. I've been to meetings where they read for the first 20 minutes, and some where they read almost nothing but "How It Works." As for "being laughed at," I don't feel that most of the public views AA as a joke. In fact, I think most of the public respects AA quite a bit.