Information for Professionals

This information is directed toward professionals working in the health and wellbeing field including medical practitioners, counsellors and psychologists, and those in the alcohol addiction field, to inform them of how Al-Anon Family Groups can provide useful information to supplement their professional expertise.

Since 1951, Al-Anon Family Groups, which includes Alateen, has provided support as a community resource around the world for those affected by someone else’s drinking.


Today, there are about 24,000 Al-Anon and Alateen group meetings worldwide


Our meetings are anonymous and confidential


There are no dues or fees for membership


There are over 370 meetings in Australia held in-person, or online every day of the week.

Listen to an Interview with Al-Anon Family Groups former CEO, Lois Adaway, with Dr Louise Du Chesne

Listen to an Interview between Al-Anon Family Groups current CEO, Helen Gillies, and ABC Radio Perth 

Support Materials for Professionals

  • Fact Sheet For Professionals, a pamphlet with information about Al-Anon & Alateen
  • Periodic: eNewsletter for Professionals
  • Families Facing Alcoholism, a magazine with articles by Al-Anon members and professionals
  • Community Service Announcements (videos, watch via YouTube).

Al-Anon Family Groups:

  • Al-Anon is a separate fellowship from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA)
  • Al-Anon is based on the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions (adapted from AA).


  • Alateen is part of the Al-Anon fellowship, and is for the younger relatives and friends of alcoholics through their teen years
  • Young members conduct their own meetings with the guidance of two adult Al-Anon members
  • Alateen is based on the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions (adapted from AA).

    Resources for professionals

    People are referred to Al-Anon/Alateen group meetings:

    To learn the facts about alcoholism as an illness, and how it has impacted their lives physically, spiritually and emotionally

    To benefit from contact with others who have, or have had, similar problems

    To improve their own attitudes and behaviours through the study and practice of the Twelve Steps and the Twelve Traditions.

    Al-Anon and Alateen members are helped when they:

    • Attend Al-Anon Family Group or Alateen meetings, regularly
    • Make telephone contact with other members between meetings
    • Read Al-Anon and/or Alateen literature
    • Have a personal Sponsor
    • Apply the Twelve Steps of recovery to their own lives
    • Get involved in service work for Al-Anon Family Groups.

    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.

    Has a question come up?

    Our FAQs might help answer it for you now.

    Is Al-Anon or Alateen compatible with the professional care and services 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.

    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. Members are free to talk or can just listen.

    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 non-drinker.

    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 this a religious fellowship?

    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 look beyond ourselves and our problem and help us find serenity.  Each member is free to define that power in his or her own way.”

    Is an appointment needed?

    No advance notification or formal written referral is necessary to attend an Al-Anon or in-person Alateen 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). Teenagers interested in attending Alateen on-line meetings, need to pre-register to attend. See the Alateen page for details. 

    How much is this going to cost?

    There are no dues or fees in Al-Anon and Alateen 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 centres.

    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 government agencies or outside sources.

    How do I make a referral?

    No formal referral is necessary, however 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. If you would like some brochures to give to your clients please contact us at

    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 if there are no Al-Anon or Alateen meetings to refer those in my professional care?

    Where there are no Al-Anon face to face meetings, individuals can be encouraged to participate in electronic or virtual meetings. Information can be found at: (specific url for the Alateen page)

    Where there are no Alateen groups, teens are encouraged to participate in Al-Anon meetings. Teens between the ages of 13-18 are also welcome join an online Alateen meeting hosted in Australia by contacting or participate in Alateen Chat Meetings and can register at

    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.

    Can I open an Al-Anon or Alateen group in my office?

    Professionals may initiate the formation of an Al-Anon group provided that the meetings are then conducted by Al-Anon members.

    Alateen groups can be started at the suggestion of a professional, however, Alateen groups require adult Alateen Group Sponsors who are active members of Al-Anon Family Groups. Safety and Behavioural Requirements for Alateen are in place in every state with procedures for certification of Al-Anon Members Involved in Alateen Service. The minimum requirements include current active attendance and participation in Al-Anon for at least two years, (in addition to any time spent in Alateen), a minimum of 21 years of age and a valid Working With Children Check.

    Why do members continue to attend Al-Anon/Alateen after the drinker is sober?

    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.

    The Twelve Steps provide a blueprint for life that help members continue to identify times they feel the effects that someone else’s drinking has had on them such as, anxiety, listlessness, lack of self esteem etc., be able to identify the cause and use the tools of the Al-Anon program to deal with these feelings.  Fellowship with other Al-Anon members and continuing meetings encourages this work.

    Can clients concerned about someone’s drug addiction be referred to Al-Anon/Alateen?

    Al-Anon is a mutual support group program for family members and friends to learn the facts about alcoholism as a “family illness” and how they can recover from the effects of someone else’s drinking.  When clients are concerned about someone’s alcoholism and drug addiction, they are welcome to attend Al-Anon with the understanding that our program focuses on alcoholism.  Al-Anon groups designated as having “open” meetings welcome anyone interested in learning about our program regardless of their concerns.

    Al-Anon’s 2015 Membership Survey reported that 40 percent of the Al-Anon members first came to Al-Anon because of a friend or relative’s drug problem. The survey also showed that 85 percent of these members eventually came to realize that someone’s drinking has also negatively affected their lives.

    Can I attend an Al-Anon meeting as an observer?

    Most Al-Anon meetings are closed to observers to help provide members with the security of anonymity. However if you would like to attend as an observer simply ask at your local Al-Anon Family Groups meeting and they will ask the Group members if they agree to an observer. The Group usually needs a couple of weeks notice before an observer can attend.

    Are there Al-Anon members who are available to attend information sessions with our organisation?

    Yes. If you would like someone from Al-Anon Family Groups to speak to your organisation, community group, school or other group, please contact and we can organise local members to provide face-to-face or online information sessions.