Our Programs Home Page

What is it all about?

Al-Anon Family Groups are a community resource providing support to anyone affected by a relative or friend’s drinking. There are over 26,000 Al-Anon and Alateen groups meeting in 115 countries.


  • Has only one requirement for membership — each member has been affected by someone else’s drinking.
  • Is an anonymous fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who meet anonymously to share their experience, strength and hope, in order to solve their common problems; adult children of alcoholics, parents, partners, spouses, co-workers, etc., can all find help in Al-Anon.
  • Is a separate fellowship from Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Al-Anon is based on the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions adapted from AA.
  • Is nonprofessional, religion-neutral, spiritually based, apolitical, welcomes all cultures; is available in most areas.


  • Is part of the Al-Anon Fellowship designed for the younger relatives and friends of alcoholics through age nineteen.
  • Follows the same Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions and principles as Al-Anon.
  • Members conduct their own meetings with the guidance of an Al-Anon member sponsor.

Although the age range is usually 13-18, each group can be flexible. As members approach the age of 18 it is usually suggested to start the transition into Al-Anon while still attending Alateen meetings.

If there isn’t an Alateen meeting in your area, Alateens are welcome to attend any Al-Anon meetings.

You can find more information about Alateen on this website and on our World Service Office website.

What we are not…

Al-Anon/Alateen groups are not places where you will get advice on how to make somebody else stop drinking.

We 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.
  • Provide support for problems other than the impact of alcoholism upon the family members.


Sponsorship is an important component of our programs. It is a mutual and confidential sharing between 2 Al-Anon members. A sponsor is someone with whom you can discuss personal problems or questions. Someone who willingly shares their experience, strength and hope.

Sponsorship is about trust. It is about learning to reach out in a positive way to be willing to ask for help to recover from the disease of alcoholism, using the tools of the Al-Anon program. Experience suggests that men sponsor men, women sponsor women. This usually promotes better understanding.

Temporary sponsors

We are free to select a different sponsor at any time, especially if we think another person may be more helpful to our growth in the program. Many groups have a temporary sponsors: a random Al-Anon member who is volunteering for service. They are available to you to help you get familiar with Al-Anon / Alateen, to explain any of our principles and even get you started on the 12 steps of recovery.

More information about sponsorship can be found in our literature, that is availabe at most of our meetings.

©A1-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. 1600 Corporate Landing Parkway, Virginia Beach, VA 23454-5617 Phone: (757) 563-1600 Fax: (757) 563-1655 e-mail: wso@al-anon.org