Welcome to Al-Anon – we are so glad you found us! Many of our groups offer a special new-comer meeting. This is a great opportunity to ask questions or to talk about your situation. If you’d rather just listen, you can say “I pass,” or explain that you’d just like to listen and learn more about our program.
Some things to keep in mind for your first meeting.
Every meeting is different. Each meeting has the autonomy to be run as its members choose, within guidelines designed to promote Al‑Anon unity. Al‑Anon recommends that you try at least six different meetings before you decide if Al‑Anon will be helpful to you.
Al‑Anon is a mutual support group. Everyone at the meeting shares as an equal. No one is in a position to give advice or direction to anyone else. Everyone at the meeting has experienced a problem with someone else’s drinking.
Al‑Anon is not a religious program. Even when the meeting is held in a religious center, the local Al‑Anon group pays rent to that center and is not affiliated in any way with any religious group. Your religious beliefs—or lack of them—are not a subject for discussion at Al‑Anon meetings, which focus solely on coping with the effects of someone’s drinking.
Anonymity is an important principle of our programs. Al-Anon and Alateens are safe places, where you can feel free to say what is in your mind and heart. This is how we help one another. It will take some time to fully understand the significance of anonymity to the Al‑Anon program. But at its simplest level, anonymity means that the people in the room will respect the confidentiality of what you say and won’t approach you outside the room in a way that compromises your privacy or the privacy of anyone who attended an Al‑Anon meeting.
The meeting will likely begin with a reading of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Al‑Anon. It will take some time to fully understand how these can be a helpful tool in recovering from the effects of someone’s drinking. But Al‑Anon gives you the opportunity to grow at your own pace.
We who live, or have lived, with the problem of alcoholism understand as perhaps few others can. We too were lonely and frustrated, but in Al‐Anon we have discovered that no situation is really hopeless and that it is possible for us to find contentment and even happiness, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.
There are some useful links, in particular for professionals, on this page: Links to the World Service Organisation (WSO).