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What Can I Expect at an Al-Anon Meeting?

While Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) provides support for those struggling with alcoholism, Al-Anon offers support for their loved ones. Founded in 1951, the program is designed to help people recover from the effects of someone else’s drinking.

The Al-Anon mission is: Strength and hope for friends and families of problem drinkers.

It can be intimidating—or even scary—to try something new, especially when you don’t know what to expect. Here’s a quick overview to help calm any anxieties about attending a meeting for the first time.

What Is an Al-Anon Meeting?

What happens at Al-Anon meetings? Al-Anon is a mutual support group. Meeting attendees are welcome to share what they are going through and ask questions.

Participation is voluntary. If you attend, you can talk about your experiences or just listen to others. If you aren’t comfortable sharing, simply tell the group you’d like to pass or that you’d rather just listen.

Meetings are anonymous. Al-Anon attendees and group leaders must maintain confidentiality with all information shared – that includes your identity.

So, what is Al-Anon like? Al-Anon is a safe place where you can learn to trust, share your problems and receive support from others in similar circumstances.

What Al-Anon Is Not

Al-Anon isn’t a brainstorming session; group members don’t get together and plot out how they can lead loved ones to the promised land of sobriety. It’s for you, not them.

What are Al-Anon meetings like? The group leaders or counselors don’t spend time barking orders or demanding everyone in attendance follow their directions. Everyone is equal in this mutual-support setting.

All meetings aren’t the same. General guidelines are provided by Al-Anon, but each meeting is run as its members choose. Most groups do, however, begin with a reading of the Twelve Steps of Al-Anon. It can be helpful to attend several different meetings to find the one where you’re most comfortable…don’t give up if you don’t like the first one.

Al-Anon isn’t a religious program. Despite popular misconception, it’s not affiliated with any religious group, nor are its members required to be of a practicing faith.

Where to Find an Al-Anon Meeting?

When it comes to what to expect in Al-Anon, know that you will find a group of people who are there to support you and help you find hope in challenging circumstances. Al-Anon meetings occur across the nation, and there are various ways to find a meeting happening near you. To find one in your area, check local listings, search the Al-Anon website, or call 1-888-4AL-ANON.

Additional Reading:   So You Married an Addict: Is it Time for a Divorce?

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