Alateen, is a fellowship of teenagers whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.
Share experience, strength and hope with each other
Discuss their difficulties
Learn effective ways to cope with their problems
Encourage each other
Help one another understand the principles of the Alateen program
Alateen members learn:
Complusive drinking is a disease
They can detach themselves emotionally from the drinker's problems while continuing to love the person
They are not the cause of anyone else's drinking or behaviour
They cannot change or control anyone but themselves
They have resources with which to develop their own potential, no matter what happens at home
They can build satisfying and rewarding life experiences for themselves
Is Alateen for me?
If you are aged between 12 and 19 years of age and would like to attend an online Alateen meeting, please complete the form below.
This form will be forwarded to an Alateen Coordinator in your area, who will set up a welcome chat with you and your parent/guardian.
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Has a question come up?
Our FAQs on Alateen might help answer it for you now.
How old are Alateen members?
Alateens are young members of the Al-Anon fellowship. As the name implies, Alateen was originally designed for members in their teens. In recent years, however, it is recognized that there are younger children who are ready for Alateen. Any young person who attends Alateen should be able to participate in a shared learning experience. Neither the Alateen Group Sponsors nor the older teens in attendance should be teaching or babysitting the younger children. Each group decides for itself whether to lower the age of admission below the teen years.
What happens when I turn 20 years old?
Alateen members can attend any Al-Anon Family Group meeting at any age but once they turn 20 they can no longer attend Alateen meetings so they are encouraged to continue their recovery in Al-Anon meetings. It can be a good idea to try Al-Anon meetings before turning 20 to ensure a smooth transition.
Can my siblings attend the same meeting as me?
Yes. However we encourage you to see them as fellow Alateen members rather than your siblings. It’s also a good idea not to talk about your siblings in the meeting but focus on your own recovery. Two people in the same house can see events quite differently and be affected in different ways so it’s important to stay focused on your own issues.
Can my parents come to the meeting with me?
No. Alateen meetings are closed meetings where only the Alateens and their Sponsors attend. Open Alateen meetings are sometimes held at National Conventions or other Al-Anon events where anyone can attend. It is important that Alateen meetings are a place where you can talk freely about your recovery.
Can I talk about anything I want at an Alateen meeting?
Yes, although Al-Anon Sponsors need to conform to the relevant laws regarding child safety so anything disclosed that relates to any form of abuse may need to be reported to the relevant authorities. Anonymity is an important principle of the Alateen program so no one will discuss what was shared during the meeting to anyone outside the meeting.
What if my parents don’t go to Al-Anon or AA, can I still come to Alateen?
Yes. Alateen is for any teenager whose life has been affected by the family disease of alcoholism. You will need a parent or guardian to provide contact details for attending face to face meetings and provide permission for you to attend Alateen online meetings but this can be any responsible adult.
Who runs the meetings?
The Alateen members lead the meeting. Alateen members may need help forming a group. However, they are capable of conducting their own meetings and handling group responsibilities. Alateen Group Sponsors encourage them to do so.
The Alateens take responsibility for their meetings; the Alateen Group Sponsor’s role is to keep the meeting safe and provide guidance to help the teens keep the focus on the Al‑Anon/Alateen program.
Alateen members chair and run the meetings with the guidance of the two Alateen Sponsors who are present in every face to face or online meeting. The Alateen Group members develop their own Code of Conduct, chose the topics and how the meeting will run within the Groups guidelines.
Where are the face to face meetings held?
Most Alateen face to face meetings are held at the same time and place as an Al-Anon Family Group meeting, but there are some exceptions to this. They are often held in a community center or church hall.
Who are the Alateen Sponsors? How are they chosen?
All Alateen Sponsors need to meet minimum safety and behavioral requirements before they are deemed suitable to Sponsor Alateen meetings. This includes a legal check such as a Working with Children Check or a Police Check. They need to be current Al-Anon members with a minimum of 3 years membership and be assessed as meeting the Area requirements to act as an Alateen Sponsor.
What is the Alateen Sponsor’s role?
It is important to remember that the role of the Alateen Group Sponsor is to provide a safe place for teens to share with each other, and to support and encourage the group as a whole.
Alateen Sponsors don’t run the Alateen meetings; they are there to guide the Alateen members in the development of their Code of Conduct, how to conduct their meetings, and to help them with understanding the Twelve Steps, Traditions and Concepts. They are there to ensure their physical safety. No Alateen meeting happens unless there is a minimum of two registered Alateen Sponsors present for the whole meeting.
What happens if an Alateen member doesn’t abide by the Group’s Code of Conduct?
Some Alateen members may have existing behavioural problems which preclude them from behaving appropriately in all situations. The Alateen Group Sponsors and other Alateen members need not accept unacceptable behaviour like swearing, rudeness, unnecessary noise, etc. This sort of behaviour is also unacceptable at an Alateen or Al‑Anon convention or any event where an individual’s behaviour could reflect on Alateen as a whole. Al‑Anon and Alateen are not above the law, and any illegal activities (such as use of drugs, smoking, or drinking by minors) could require reporting to authorities.
The contact details of the parent / guardian of every Alateen member are obtained when they come to the meeting. The parent / guardian may be contacted to collect the Alateen if they are being disruptive or not abiding by the Group’s Code of Conduct.
What literature is used at an Alateen meeting?
There are several Alateen books, pamphlets and workbooks specifically written by and for Alateen members. These are referred to during the meeting and the Sponsors can provide details on how these can be purchased for use at home if the Alateen member is interested.
What if I know someone who comes to the same Alateen meeting?
Everyone who attends an Alateen or Al-Anon meeting is there for the same reason – a problem with someone’s drinking. Because of our principle of anonymity, you don’t need to worry that anyone at the meeting will say anything to anyone outside the meeting.
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.
Alateen Group Sponsors do not share with others, including parents/guardians, what is said in meetings. The Alateen Group Sponsor should let the group know that, if approached by a parent/guardian with questions about the meeting, he/she will direct the parent/guardian back to the teen.
What is discussed at the 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.
What if there is only one Alateen member present at the Alateen meeting?
Alateen recovery is a peer-to-peer program which requires at least two Alateens to be present in the meeting for it to continue. If there is only one Alateen member present, they will be offered an opportunity to be taken to the Al-Anon Family Group meeting if there is one in the same venue or their parent / guardian will be contacted to collect them.