Newcomers

Welcome to Al-Anon – we are so glad you found us!

Some things to keep in mind for your first meeting – especially during the pandemic

When you to go to your first in-person meeting, we urge you to double-check which Covid measurements are in place in the meeting’s details page on this website. Some only require that you wear a mask and sanitise your hands upon arrival; others might adhere to stricter protocols. Because we meet in public places, we are bound by their Covid restrictions.

It is possible that documentation of double vaccination is asked before allowing you into the building. Nearly all groups also keep track of contact details, so that you can be reached in case of a new Covid outbreak. Your first name and a phone number or email address are usually enough and the contact list is most often kept on premise and not shared with anyone, unless necessary. We cherish our principles of anonymity and confidentiality! It may also be that the maximum number of people allowed in an Al-Anon gathering is reached upon your arrival, in which case it will not be possible to let you enter the building. These limitations are still very new to many groups and we ask for your understanding should this happen to you. Please do not take this as a personal rejection.

Should you be in great need of a personal conversation right that moment, please do not hesitate to communicate this to the greeter of the meeting. A volunteer will be happy to talk to you or to share their telephone number, so that you can connect later. Know that Al-Anon is here for you and that you are not alone! Life has changes a lot since Covid hit, but our primary purpose is still the same: to offer help and hope to friends and families of alcoholics. We take that very seriously!


Many of our groups offer a special new-comer meeting, on-line or in-person. 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.

Every group is different. Each has the autonomy to run its meetings 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 and if the group is a good match for 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 thereof—are not a topic for discussion at Al‑Anon meetings, which focus solely on coping with the effects of someone else’s drinking.

Anonymity is an important principle of our programs – this is not to hide, but to protect all of us. Al-Anon and Alateens are safe places, where you can feel free to say what is on your mind and in your heart. This is how we help one another. 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 else 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.

If you are interested in receiving a welcoming email from our World Service Office, please follow the below link to enter your email address. We value your privacy: this is a one-time email and the sender will show up as World Service Office.
al-anon.org/welcome

There are some useful links, in particular for professionals, on this page: Links to the World Service Organisation (WSO).


Some reading suggestions

The below list contains direct links to some readings on our World Service Organisation website that you may find interesting as a newcomer to our program: