General Information About Al-Anon & Alateen

Al-Anon Family Groups (AFG) is a community resource providing support to anyone affected by a relative or friend’s drinking.

There are over 24,000 Al-Anon and 2,300 Alateen groups meeting in 115 countries.

Al-Anon:
  • Has only one requirement for membership--each member has been affected by someone else’s drinking.
  • Is a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who meet anonymously to share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems; adult children of alcoholics, parents, partners, spouses, co-workers, etc. can all find help in Al-Anon.
  • Is a separate fellowship from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Al-Anon is based on the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions adapted from AA.
  • Is nonprofessional, self-supporting, spiritually based, apolitical, welcomes all cultures, and is available almost everywhere.

Alateen:
  • Is part of the Al-Anon Fellowship designed for the younger relatives and friends of alcoholics through the teen years.
  • Members conduct their own meetings with the guidance of trained and certified sponsors who are Al-Anon members.
  • Follows the same Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and principles as Al-Anon.

Al-Anon and Alateen Members Are Helped When They:
  • Attend meetings on a regular basis.
  • Make telephone contact with other members.
  • Read Al-Anon/Alateen literature.
  • Have a personal sponsor.
  • Apply the Twelve Steps of recovery to their lives.
  • Engage in Al-Anon and Alateen service work.

Al-Anon/Alateen Groups Do Not:
  • Give advice.
  • Indulge in gossip or criticism.
  • Discuss members’ religious beliefs, or lack of them.
  • Endorse or oppose any cause, therapy, or treatment.
  • Provide support for problems other than the impact of alcoholism upon the family members.

Al-Anon/Alateen Is Self-Supporting:
  • Through the voluntary contributions of members; there are no dues or fees for membership.
  • Al-Anon does not accept any outside funds, grants, or donations. 

Al-Anon/Alateen Is a Program Based Upon Anonymity:
  • The identity of all Al-Anon and Alateen members, as well as members of Alcoholics Anonymous, is protected.
  • Confidentiality is allowed to develop from a sense of trust and honesty.
  • The focus is on spiritual principles, not personalities, which leads to a fellowship of equals.

Al-Anon/Alateen Meetings Include:
  • OPEN meetings that may be attended by anyone interested in learning about the Al-Anon or Alateen program.
  • CLOSED meetings that are for anyone whose life is or has been affected by a problem drinker.
  • Limited access groups which meet in locations where the general membership may not be able to attend (e.g., industrial, military, or school settings).
  • Introductory meetings at facilities to introduce Al-Anon/Alateen to newcomers.

Al-Anon/Alateen Groups Are Started by:
  • Al-Anon and Alateen members.
  • A minister, doctor, social worker, or AA member initiates the formation of an Al-Anon/Alateen group. However, after the group has started members operate the group. Professional or AA participation should be limited to open meetings.

This page reprinted with permission from Fact Sheet for Professionals—Information About Al-Anon & Alateen, published by Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617

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Updated July 17, 2017