Questions Frequently Asked by Professionals
- Is Al‑Anon or Alateen compatible with the professional care
and services I offer?
- Yes. Al‑Anon/Alateen is a peer support group. As peers, they
exchange their respective experiences. The mutual sharing among
members helps members to realize that they have a variety of options
that they may not have realized they had before attending Al‑Anon or
Alateen. Al‑Anon members do not give direction or prescribe specific
solutions for other members.
- What is the Al‑Anon or Alateen meeting format and what do
members talk about in meetings?
- Most Al‑Anon and Alateen groups have a discussion topic at
their meetings such as acceptance, overcoming fear, change, one of
Al‑Anon’s slogans (e.g. One Day at a Time, Easy Does It) or one of
the Twelve Steps. Al‑Anon and Alateen meetings are facilitated by
members, rather than a professional. Each week, a different member
chairs the meeting on a different subject.
- How will attending Al‑Anon or Alateen groups help my patients,
clients, consumers, or students?
- Adult and teenagers attending Al‑Anon or Alateen meetings
respectively are relieved to find that they are not alone. Even if
uncertain that a relative or friend’s drinking is causing them
stress and despair, people attending Al‑Anon or Alateen meetings
will acquire information about alcoholism or alcohol abuse as an
illness and its impact on the nondrinker. They will also learn about
the importance of family treatment and recovery whether the
alcoholic or problem drinker continues to drink or not. They will
usually be able to identify with and meet others who have had
similar experiences and hear first-hand how members are utilizing
the Al‑Anon/Alateen program for hope, support, and to improve their
- Is this a religious fellowship?
- Al‑Anon Family Groups is a spiritual fellowship, not a
religious one. We avoid discussion of specific religious doctrine,
and members of all faiths (or of none) are welcome. Our Twelve Steps
ask us to find a “Power greater than ourselves” who can
help us solve our problems and find serenity. Each member is free to
define that power in his or her own way.
- Is an appointment needed?
- No advance notification or formal written referral is necessary
to attend an Al‑Anon or Alateen meeting. Most Al‑Anon groups have a
contact who can be called for information about the group, our
program in general, or for directions to a meeting. Many Alateen
groups meet at the same time and location as an Al‑Anon
group. Alateen meetings are open only to teenagers. (Note: Some
Alateen meetings also welcome pre-teen aged children)
- How much is this going to cost?
- There are no dues or fees in Al‑Anon and Alateen meetings. Most
groups pass a basket for voluntary contributions. Members are asked
to contribute what they can afford, so that the group can pay rent,
provide literature, and offer support to local and worldwide service
- How do the Al‑Anon Family Groups and the Al‑Anon
Family Groups Headuarters. Inc. support themselves?
- Through the sale of Al‑Anon/Alateen literature and voluntary
contributions from members, Al‑Anon groups, and service arms. The
Al‑Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. and the Al‑Anon Family
Groups do not accept grants or funding from outside sources.
- How do I make a referral?
- It is helpful to make your patient, client, consumer, or student
aware of Al‑Anon or Alateen and our purpose. Many people have never
heard of Al‑Anon or Alateen.
- Although Al‑Anon and Alateen groups follow the same meeting
format, each group’s meetings are slightly different from each other
because attendees and topics of discussion vary each week.
- What if there are no Al‑Anon or Alateen meetings to refer
those in my professional care?
- Where there are no Al‑Anon face to face meetings, individuals
can be encouraged to participate in electronic or virtual
meetings. Information can be found at:
Where there are no Alateen groups, teens are encouraged to participate
in Al‑Anon meetings. Teens between the ages of 13-18 are also welcome to
participate in Alateen Chat Meetings and can register at
- Can I open an Al‑Anon or Alateen group in my office?
- Professionals may initiate the formation of an Al‑Anon group
provided that the meetings are then conducted by Al‑Anon members.
- Alateen groups can be started at the suggestion of a
professional, however, Alateen groups require adult Alateen Group
Sponsors who are active members of Al‑Anon Family Groups. Safety and
Behavioral Requirements for Alateen are in place in every state and
province with procedures for certification of Al‑Anon Members
Involved in Alateen Service. The minimum requirements include
current active attendance and participation in Al‑Anon for at least
two years, (in addition to any time spent in Alateen), a minimum of
21 years of age and no felony convictions or child abuse
charges. Local areas may have additional requirements.
- For more information contact the World Service Office (WSO) at
firstname.lastname@example.org (place “Groups” in the subject line) or
call Monday – Friday 8 AM to 6 PM at (757)563-1600.
- Why do members continue to attend Al‑Anon after the
drinker is sober?
- Al‑Anon is a program of self-discovery and personal
growth. Recovery is an on-going process and is not limited to
whether or not the alcoholic or problem drinker continues to drink,
is visibility present, or actively involved in a member’s life. The
effects of someone else’s drinking are deep and may present
challenges that continue throughout life.
- Members form new friendships with other members and often can
find great personal satisfaction in maintaining their relationships
with their Al‑Anon friends. Al‑Anon and Alateen members also
reinforce their own recovery and find great satisfaction is sharing
their application of the Al‑Anon program with newcomers.
- What about problems other than someone else’s drinking?
- In addition to alcohol abuse, newcomers as well as
Al‑Anon members may be worried about a relative or friend who
has another type of addiction, mental illness, compulsive or
problematic behavior. While Al‑Anon’s principles are
applicable to many different situations and concerns, the
Al‑Anon program focuses on helping members recover from the
effects of someone else’s drinking. The decision as to whether
someone belongs in Al‑Anon is left to the individual and is
not imposed by a group. Newcomers as well as Al‑Anon/Alateen
members are encouraged to seek help from other resources for
concerns in addition to or other than someone else’s drinking
- Can clients concerned about someone’s drug addiction be
referred to Al‑Anon/Alateen?
- Al‑Anon is a mutual support group program for family members and
friends to learn the facts about alcoholism as a “family
illness” and how they can recover from the effects of someone
else’s drinking. When clients are concerned about someone’s
alcoholism and drug addiction, they are welcome to attend Al‑Anon
with the understanding that our program focuses on alcoholism.
Al‑Anon groups designated as having “open” meetings
welcome anyone interested in learning about our program regardless
of their concerns.
- Al‑Anon’s 2015 Membership Survey reported that 40 percent of the
Al‑Anon members first came to Al‑Anon because of a friend or
relative’s drug problem. The survey also showed that 85 percent of
these members eventually came to realize that someone’s
drinking has also negatively affected their lives.