Yes, our World Service Office will send you an email with some additional information. Go to their welcome email page https://al-anon.org/newcomers/, enter your email address, and you will get a one-time automated response with some additional information directly in your inbox.
t is your choice to speak or not during the meetings. Newcomers are welcomed to meetings, usually provided with literature and a local meeting list, and invited to listen and learn. Some meetings offer beginners’ meetings, specifically for newcomers. Members are available to answer questions before or after the meetings.
No advance notification or formal written referral is necessary to attend an Al-Anon meeting. There is no registration. The meetings are on a walk-in basis (when in-person). Al‑Anon has no membership list and does not take attendance. You’re welcome to attend as frequently or infrequently as you choose. There is never any obligation.
For temporary virtual meetings, just connect at the appropriate day and time. For face-to-face meetings when they are in session, just arrive a few minutes before the meeting starts.
Alcoholism is a family disease. The disease affects all those who have a relationship with a problem drinker. Those of us closest to the alcoholic suffer the most, and those who care the most can easily get caught up in the behaviour of another person.
We react to the alcoholic’s behaviour. We focus on them, what they do, where they are, how much they drink. We try to control their drinking for them. We take on the blame, guilt, and shame that really belong to the drinker. We can become as addicted to the alcoholic, as the alcoholic is to alcohol. We, too, can become ill.
There are no dues or fees for Al-Anon 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 centers.
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.
Al‐Anon Family Groups have one focus: to help friends and families of alcoholics. Al‐Anon’s most recent membership survey reported, however, that 35 percent of Al‐Anon members first came to Al‐Anon Family Groups because of a friend or relative who had a drug problem. The survey also showed that 78 percent of these members eventually came to realize that someone’s drinking had also negatively affected their lives.
There are a variety of reasons why people are reluctant to attend their first meeting.
First, they’re so deeply engaged in trying to cope with a stressful situation that it’s hard to break away from ingrained patterns of behavior.
On the one hand, we know that any possible solution is likely to be found somewhere we haven’t yet looked. But on the other hand, it can be worrisome to try something that seems entirely new.
Many Al-Anon members struggled for many years with the difficult challenges of coping with the effects of alcoholism. It’s often easier to envision continued difficulties than a positive solution. That’s why it’s easy to think of so many reasons not to attend an Al-Anon meeting.
If you feel anxiety about attending an Al-Anon meeting, you’re not alone. Many people have felt that way. But overcoming that reluctance is an opportunity for personal growth, the first of many that the Al-Anon program offers. It’s the first step on the road to recovery.
Don’t worry about whether or not you want to become a “member.” Just visit a variety of different meetings to gather information—to hear how the people there handle their issues with alcoholics. It may be that some of their experiences will be helpful to you.
Alcoholism is widely recognized as a disease of compulsive drinking, which can be arrested, but not cured. It is a progressive illness, which will get only worse as long as the person continues to drink. Total abstinence from drinking is the only way to arrest the disease. Alcoholism affects the entire family; indeed, everyone who has contact with the alcoholic is affected. Unfortunately, the only person who can stop the alcoholic from drinking is the alcoholic himself or herself.
They could be anyone, from all backgrounds and walks of life. Over 95 percent of alcoholics have families, friends, and jobs. They may function fairly well, but some part of their life is suffering. Their drinking causes a continuing and growing problem in their lives, and the lives they touch.
Al-Anon members are people just like you and me–people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking. They are parents, children, spouses, partners, brothers, sisters, other family members, friends, employers, employees, and co-workers of alcoholics. No matter what our specific experience has been we share a common bond: we feel our lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.
One of the Al-Anon program’s basic principles is that of anonymity. Meetings are confidential, and Will anyone say I’ve been there?
One of the Al-Anon program’s basic principles is that of anonymity. Meetings are confidential, and we do not disclose whom we see or what we hear at meetings to anyone. We do not disclose whom we see or what we hear at meetings to anyone.