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Al-Anon and Alateen
in Northern California

FAQs

What is Al-Anon?


What is Al-Anon?

The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope, in order to solve their common problems.

We believe alcoholism is a family illness, and that changed attitudes can aid recovery. Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.

Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.

What is Alateen?


What is Alateen?

Alateen, part of the Al-Anon Family Groups, is a fellowship of young people whose lives have been affected by alcoholism in a family member or close friend. We help each other by sharing our experience, strength, and hope.

We believe alcoholism is a family disease because it affects all the members emotionally and sometimes physically. Although we cannot change or control our parents, we can detach from their problems while continuing to love them.

We do not discuss religion or become involved with any outside organizations. Our sole topic is the solution of our problems. We are always careful to protect each other’s anonymity as well as that of all Al-Anon and A.A. members.

By applying the Twelve Steps to ourselves, we begin to grow mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. We will always be grateful to Alateen for giving us a wonderful, healthy program to live by and enjoy.

What are “Open” Meetings?


Open, Closed and Restricted Meetings

Summary

Kind Type Who Can Attend?
Al-Anon Open Everyone.
Al-Anon Closed Anyone bothered by someone else’s drinking.
Alateen Closed Teens and younger children affected by someone else’s drinking. No adults except Area-certified Alateen Sponsors.
Al-Anon and Alateen Restricted Those with special clearance and/or permission by the facility in which the meeting is held.

Details

Al-Anon meetings are for anyone whose life has been affected by someone else’s drinking. If someone’s alcoholism is bothering you, please come to any ‘unrestricted’ meeting, both ‘open’ and ‘closed’.

‘Open’ Al-Anon meetings are open to everyone, including those only seeking information about Al-Anon, such as professionals (counselors, doctors, etc.), media, students, or the curious, but don’t, themselves, have anyone in their family or friends whose alcoholism is bothering them. At ‘open’ meetings, Al-Anon members welcome visitors seeking information about Al-Anon Family Groups.

‘Closed’ Al-Anon meetings are meant only for those whose lives are bothered by someone else’s drinking. Visitors and newcomers that qualify in this manner are welcome to attend ‘closed’ Al-Anon meetings. We ask that those seeking only information not attend.

‘Restricted’ meetings are held on sites that require special clearance and/or permission. No one can attend these meetings without being cleared by the facility in which the meeting is held. The purpose of restricted meetings is to carry the Al-Anon/Alateen message to those who are confined in crisis/abuse shelters, juvenile detention centers, group homes, county jails, state and federal prisons, and other similar facilities as defined by the World Service Office Guideline G-9.

Alateen meetings are for teens and younger children whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking, often a parent, guardian, sibling, relative or friend. All Alateen meetings are ‘closed’. That is, open only to teens and some younger children and their Area-certified Group Sponsor(s). For your teen’s protection, Alateen abides by the NCWSA Requirement for Alateen Member Safety.

What are “Closed” Meetings?


Open, Closed and Restricted Meetings

Summary

Kind Type Who Can Attend?
Al-Anon Open Everyone.
Al-Anon Closed Anyone bothered by someone else’s drinking.
Alateen Closed Teens and younger children affected by someone else’s drinking. No adults except Area-certified Alateen Sponsors.
Al-Anon and Alateen Restricted Those with special clearance and/or permission by the facility in which the meeting is held.

Details

Al-Anon meetings are for anyone whose life has been affected by someone else’s drinking. If someone’s alcoholism is bothering you, please come to any ‘unrestricted’ meeting, both ‘open’ and ‘closed’.

‘Open’ Al-Anon meetings are open to everyone, including those only seeking information about Al-Anon, such as professionals (counselors, doctors, etc.), media, students, or the curious, but don’t, themselves, have anyone in their family or friends whose alcoholism is bothering them. At ‘open’ meetings, Al-Anon members welcome visitors seeking information about Al-Anon Family Groups.

‘Closed’ Al-Anon meetings are meant only for those whose lives are bothered by someone else’s drinking. Visitors and newcomers that qualify in this manner are welcome to attend ‘closed’ Al-Anon meetings. We ask that those seeking only information not attend.

‘Restricted’ meetings are held on sites that require special clearance and/or permission. No one can attend these meetings without being cleared by the facility in which the meeting is held. The purpose of restricted meetings is to carry the Al-Anon/Alateen message to those who are confined in crisis/abuse shelters, juvenile detention centers, group homes, county jails, state and federal prisons, and other similar facilities as defined by the World Service Office Guideline G-9.

Alateen meetings are for teens and younger children whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking, often a parent, guardian, sibling, relative or friend. All Alateen meetings are ‘closed’. That is, open only to teens and some younger children and their Area-certified Group Sponsor(s). For your teen’s protection, Alateen abides by the NCWSA Requirement for Alateen Member Safety.

How will Al-Anon help me?


How Will Al-Anon Help Me?

Al-Anon meetings are for anyone whose life has been affected by someone else’s drinking. Alateen meetings are open to children in the teen years.

Many who come to Al-Anon or Alateen are in despair, feeling hopeless, unable to believe that things can ever change. We want our lives to be different, but nothing we have done has brought about change. We all come to Al-Anon because we want and need help.

In Al-Anon and Alateen, members share their own experience, strength, and hope with each other. You will meet others who share your feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. We come together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.

Is Al-Anon For You?


Is Al-Anon For You?

Help is here for the asking. Our 20-question self-quizzes can help you decide if Al-Anon may be of help. Select a quiz, listed below, and ask yourself the questions. If you identify with some of the sentiments, we encourage you to give Al-Anon a try!

Is Alateen For You?


Is Alateen For You?

Help is here for the asking. Our 20-question self-quiz can help you decide if Alateen may be of help. Select a quiz, listed below, and ask yourself the questions. If you identify with some of the sentiments, we encourage you to give Alateen a try!

Alateen group meetings are closed, that is, only Alateens (under the age of 21) and the Area-certified Alateen Group Sponsors may attend.

Chaos in Your Life?


Is There Chaos in Your Life?

Many of us arrived at the doors of Al-Anon without hope and lives filled with chaos. For the millions of people affected by the excessive drinking of someone close to them, every day can be fraught with bitterness, sadness and fear as they guard themselves against the effects of drinking.

In Al-Anon and Alateen, we discovered new ways to look at some of the same situations and hope was restored. Al-Anon is a worldwide fellowship of more than 600,000 relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength and hope in order to solve their common problems. Al-Anon members suggest you ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you worry about how much someone else drinks?
  • Are routines frequently upset, vacation plans canceled, or meals delayed because of the drinker?
  • Have you refused social invitations out of fear or anxiety?
  • Does it seem as if every holiday or vacation is spoiled because of someone’s drinking?
  • Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
  • Have you been hurt or embarrassed by a drinker’s behavior?
  • Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking?
  • Are you afraid or embarrassed to bring your friends home?
  • Do you feel that if the drinker loved you, he or she would stop drinking to please you?
  • Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other problems would be solved?

Al-Anon is a safe, confidential place where it is understood how people can love and hate the alcoholic at the same time. Al-Anon helps to make sense out of the confusion that families are consumed with when living with or caring for a problem drinker. Through its Twelve Steps, adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon members learn to focus on themselves and turn negative situations into positive energy that is physically, mentally and spiritually nurturing.

“One of the wonderful benefits of working the Al-Anon program is learning how to relax. Until now, most of my life sped by in a frenzy of activity. School, work, projects, obligations, all helped me focus outward. That way I didn’t have to rest long enough to feel how frightful my home life was,” writes an Al-Anon member.

A member from New York also writes: “Little by little, I made a life of my own. I started by going on mini-vacations, visiting friends for a weekend. Before Al-Anon I was afraid to do anything. I was scared of my own shadow. The program has given me confidence, self-worth, a renewed faith in a Higher Power and much gratitude.”

Al-Anon is not a religious program. It is fully self-supporting. There are 27,000 groups worldwide, including more than 2,800 Alateen groups for teenage members. If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking, make it your resolution to contact Al-Anon or Alateen.

What is Detachment?

Detaching with Love

Alcoholism is a family disease. Living with the effects of someone else’s drinking is too devastating for most people to bear without help.

In Al-Anon we learn individuals are not responsible for another person’s disease or recovery from it.

We let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights; lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves.

In Al-Anon We Learn:

  • Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people;
  • Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery;
  • Not to do for others what they could do for themselves;
  • Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink;
  • Not to cover up for anyone’s mistakes or misdeeds;
  • Not to create a crisis;
  • Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.

Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching. It is simply a means that allows us to separate ourselves from the adverse effects that another person’s alcoholism can have upon our lives. Detachment helps families look at their situations realistically and objectively, thereby making intelligent decisions possible.

Al-Anon Is

a worldwide organization that offers a self-help recovery program for the families and friends of alcoholics whether or not the alcoholic seeks help or even recognizes the existence of a drinking problem. Members give and receive comfort and understanding through a mutual exchange of experiences, strength and hope. Sharing of similar problems binds individuals and groups together in a bond that is protected by a policy of anonymity.

Al-Anon Is Not

a religious organization or a counseling agency. It is not a treatment center nor is it allied with any other organization offering such services. Al-Anon Family Groups, which includes Alateen for teenage members, neither express opinions on outside issues nor endorse outside enterprises. No dues or fees are required. Membership is voluntary, requiring only that one’s own life has been adversely affected by someone else’s drinking problem.



More FAQs

What is Al-Anon?

The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope, in order to solve their common problems.

We believe alcoholism is a family illness, and that changed attitudes can aid recovery. Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.

Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.