Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is Al-Anon and Alateen?

Al-Anon (and Alateen for younger members) is a worldwide organization that offers a program of help and mutual support for families and friends of someone with a drinking problem whether or not the person with a drinking problem seeks help or even recognizes the existence of a drinking problem. Participants in Al-Anon and Alateen give and receive comfort and understanding through a mutual exchange of experience, strength and hope, and learn how the principles of the Al-Anon program can be applied to their own lives. This process of sharing among people with similar problems and applying Al-Anon principles binds individuals and groups together in a bond that is protected by a policy of anonymity and confidentiality.

Is Al-Anon or Alateen right for me?

Al-Anon Family Group meetings welcome anyone who believes that their life has been affected by the drinking habits of someone in either the past or the present.

Alateen meetings are Al-Anon meetings that welcome teens and young adults who believe that their lives have been affected by the drinking habits of someone in either the past or the present.

  • 20 questions designed to help you decide whether or not you need Al-Anon/Alateen.
  • 20 questions for adults who grew up with an alcoholic. This questionnaire may help you in determining whether alcoholism affected your childhood or present life, and if Al-Anon is for you.

Can Al-Anon help me to stop someone from drinking?

Al-Anon believes that alcoholism is a disease, and that like many other diseases it is not possible to stop someone from having alcoholism.  But it is possible for us to change our own attitudes toward a drinker, ourselves and other people in our lives. Al-Anon believes that changing our own attitudes can help to improve our own lives and our family situation, whether someone in our lives is still drinking or not.

We recommend that you read Detachment; an excerpt from an Al-Anon pamphlet (S-19) describing Detachment as it pertains to the disease of alcoholism and how Al-Anon can be helpful to people seeking a better way of living with this disease.  Other Al-Anon literature is also available to help you.

What do people do in Al-Anon and Alateen?

The Al-Anon and Alateen programs consist primarily of independently operated meetings of people who gather to share their experience, strength and hope with one another, and to learn how to apply the principles of Al-Anon to their own recovery from the effects of someone else’s drinking. Al-Anon meetings may cooperate with one another to produce additional events and services for their participants and for the public, including conferences, literature distribution and public awareness campaigns.  Some Al-Anon participants choose to provide their volunteer services to deliver these and other services.  Except for a very small core of administrative staff to support information distribution and publication at the state and worldwide level, Al-Anon service is completely voluntary and non-professional.

Is Al-Anon affiliated with some other organization?

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 expresses opinions on outside issues nor endorses outside enterprises. No dues or fees are required. Participation is voluntary, requiring only that one’s own life has been adversely affected by someone else’s drinking problem.

Are Al-Anon or Alateen meetings religious?

Religious belief is not a requirement for Al-Anon or Alateen participation or a goal of its programs. Al-Anon neither endorses nor opposes any religion, sect, institution, cause or other program.  Though not a religious program, many people experience spiritual growth through participating in Al-Anon and Alateen, regardless of their personal beliefs.

Who supports Al-Anon?

Al-Anon Family Groups are non-profit entities supported through the voluntary contributions of people who participate in Al-Anon and Alateen meetings and events. Al-Anon receives no funds from other organizations and does not fund any organizations or activities outside of Al-Anon and Alateen.  There are no mandatory membership dues or fees for any meeting participants; however, some special events such as conferences may require registration fees from participants to defray expenses.

How can I learn more about Al-Anon and Alateen?

Al-Anon and Alateen offer:

  • Literature for people to learn about our programs and about the effects of drinking on people close to the drinkers.
  • Meetings in many local areas where people can talk to people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.
  • Events, some of which are held in public forums for informational purposes.
  • Newsletters published by Al-Anon and Alateen participants that provide personal insights and updates on local events.
  • Information for professionals who help people whose lives have been affected by someone’s drinking.
  • Web sites, such as this one and the Al-Anon and Alateen World Service web site, where information may be obtained online.
  • Key contacts that you can reach for more information about Al-Anon and Alateen.