Questions Frequently Asked by Professionals
- 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 lives.
- 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 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 does Al‑Anon or Alateen cost?
- There are no dues or fees for Al‑Anon or Alateen membership.
Most groups have expenses and pass a basket for voluntary
contributions. The money is used to meet the group’s expenses such
as rent for the meeting room, to buy Al‑Anon/Alateen literature, to
support the local Al‑Anon Information Service, and to fund the
expenses of the members who perform service on behalf of the
- How do the Al‑Anon Family Groups and the Al‑Anon Family Group
Headquarters, 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.
- 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. Newcomers as well as Al‑Anon/Alateen members are also
encouraged to seek help from other resources for concerns in
addition to or other than someone else’s drinking when needed.
- Is Al‑Anon or Alateen compatible with the professional care and
service 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.
- Is the Al‑Anon Family Groups program religious?
- No. It is spiritually-based upon principles applicable to people
from a wide variety of backgrounds and applicable to people
regardless of their religious beliefs—or lack of religious
- What is the Al‑Anon or Alateen meeting format and what do
members talk about at 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.
- Why do members continue to attend Al‑Anon or Alateen after the
drinker is in treatment, sober, attending Alcoholics Anonymous, or
no longer actively involved in the individual’s life?
- 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.