What happens when I attend a meeting?

Mutual support meetings

Sharing experiences, strength, and hope

Anonymous and confidential peer support

Have you been affected by someone else’s drinking?

“Teenagers affected by someone else’s drinking”

“I grew up with a problem drinker”

You’re in the right place.

There are many ways we offer support…

We have support groups for the family and friends of problem drinkers, as well as specific groups for teens affected by someone else’s drinking.

We have literature to help support you in learning more about the disease of alcoholism and how it affects family members and friends. Learn more about it here.

We practice a program of recovery adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous based on the Twelve Steps

What is Alateen?

If you are a teen looking for peer support because you are affected by someone else’s drinking, then Alateen can support you.

Has a question come up?

Our FAQs might help answer it for you now.

What happens at a meeting?

Each meeting is chaired by one group member, usually a different member each week. The chairperson will choose a topic to guide the meeting, but if/when invited to share, you are free to say what’s on your mind and in your heart. Much help is gained by listening to others' experiences, strength and hope in applying the tools of the Al-Anon program.

Who are the group members?

Al-Anon has thousands of members from every walk of life. No matter what your relationship to the alcoholic, you will find someone else in a similar situation. Our members may have husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandparents, great grandparents or close friends who are alcoholics. We all share a common bond: that we have been affected by another person’s drinking, and we are using the Al-Anon program to recover from these effects.

Where are meetings held?

Meetings are held at a variety of locations including community centres, local schools, churches and hospitals. There are meetings 7 days a week, both day and night. Meetings offer a safe place where people can come and talk about dealing with the effects of alcoholism in a friend or loved one.

How are meetings set up?

All meetings start at a specific time; most last about an hour and a half, with perhaps another half hour for refreshments and sharing of experiences in an informal way. Many members come early to greet newcomers and talk to friends, and stay after the meeting to socialize and answer questions. Newcomers are given a list of local meetings and a sample of Al-Anon literature (which has lots of useful information about dealing with alcoholism in a relative or friend).

Do I have to say anything?

Talking at a meeting is your choice. You do not have to speak, but many newcomers have found it helpful to finally share with others how someone else’s drinking is affecting them. You are sharing in a safe place where anonymity and confidentiality will be respected. You talk only when you feel ready to share. Sometimes newcomers like to talk privately with one or two Al-Anon members before or after a meeting. Whatever you feel comfortable with is OK by us.

What is discussed at meetings?

In general, each week there is a different topic discussed at every meeting. The topics chosen help us to: understand the disease of alcoholism and how it affects the family, find solutions to better manage family relationships, get in touch with our feelings, detach from the alcoholic’s behaviour, set boundaries with others, learn about how to manage our anger and deal with our resentments. Such topics also help us to: raise our self-esteem, face our fears, and deal with our anxiety and depression.

How will a meeting help me?

As individuals around the room share on topics and their own situations, you may hear a little about yourself in their stories. While you may not identify with everything, in general you will hear others talk about what you may be feeling. Listening to others in similar situations helps us to feel we are no longer alone with our problems. We suggest that you attend six meetings so you can decide if Al-Anon is for you. It’s important to find somewhere you feel comfortable, so if one meeting does not feel right for you we suggest you try others, as each meeting has its own style and personality. 

Will anyone say I’ve been at the meeting?

We place a high importance on anonymity at all our meetings because this makes our meetings a safe place to share. We only go by first names. No one needs to know that you are attending meetings, unless you choose to tell them. What is said in the group, what you hear in the group, whom you see in the group, stays in the group. This is one way we protect our anonymity.

Learn more about Al-Anon & how we can help

First Steps to Al-Anon Recovery Podcast

Podcast hosted by Al-Anon’s World Service Office to help identify if Al-Anon or Alateen could help you.

Our program of recovery is adapted from an original concept developed by the completely separate Twelve Step Program (with which we have an enduring affiliation) Alcoholics Anonymous. It is based on the Twelve Steps (for personal recovery), the Twelve Traditions (for group unity), and the Twelve Concepts of Service.

Twelve Steps

Twelve Steps to personal recovery in the Al-Anon program

Twelve Traditions

Twelve Traditions for group unity in the Al-Anon program

Twelve Concepts of Service

Twelve Concepts of Service in the Al-Anon program