How It Works

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To the Prospective Member

Many who come to Al-Anon/Alateen are in despair, feeling hopeless, unable to believe that things can ever change. We want our lives to be different, but nothing we have done has brought about change. We all come to Al-Anon because we want and need help.

In Al-Anon and Alateen, members share their own experience, strength, and hope with each other. You will meet others who share your feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. We come together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.

In Al-Anon/Alateen, members do not give direction or advice to other members. Instead, they share their personal experiences and stories, and invite other members to “take what they like and leave the rest”—that is, to determine for themselves what lesson they could apply to their own lives.

About Group Meetings

  • We suggest you attend at least 6 meetings and then decide if Al-Anon is right for you.
  • The Meetings menu on this website will help you find a meeting near you.
  • To best serve our members, there are two different types of Al-Anon group meetings:

“Closed” or Families and Friends Only: Meetings limited to Al-Anon and Alateen members and prospective members. These are persons who feel their lives have been, or are being affected by the drinking of a family member or friend. This offers the participants greater freedom to discuss their own ideas and feelings. Unless specifically designated as Open or Families, Friends, and Observers Welcome, meetings listed under Find a Meeting are for Families and Friends Only. All Alateen meetings are for families and friends only to ensure the safety of our younger members.

Open or Families, Friends, and Observers Welcome: Meetings that are open to anyone. This includes prospective members, members of other Twelve-Step programs, the general public, students, and professionals who want to learn more about Al-Anon. Members tell their stories about how they have been affected by the disease of alcoholism, and how they have gained a personal serenity. Attending an Open meeting is a good way to learn how Al-Anon can help. Open meetings are listed as such on the Events page.

Statement on Safety in Meetings

When members feel safe and are safe at meetings, the unity of our groups (Tradition One) is maintained. Al‑Anon groups are spiritual entities; they are made up of families and friends of alcoholics who gather and share their experience, strength and hope to solve their common problems. Yet, we are not immune to the difficulties that affect the rest of humanity. Al‑Anon is a microcosm of the larger society within which we exist. Problems found in the outside world can also make their way into the rooms of Al‑Anon. As we strive to share in a spirit of trust, both at meetings and individually with our Personal and Service Sponsors and other Al‑Anon members, it is reasonable for each member to expect a meaningful level of safety. Those attending Al‑Anon meetings benefit other members and themselves when they provide a safe environment in which families and friends of alcoholics can focus on gaining and maintaining serenity. The group can then fulfill its primary purpose—to help families and friends of alcoholics. For this reason, groups and members discuss the topic of safety.

The WSO is pleased to inform you that the “Let’s Talk About Safety in Al-Anon Meetings!” is now posted on the website under the Group Resources page of the Members menu. Click here to download the PDF.