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As a newcomer you may feel that you are here for the alcoholic…that your presence here may teach you how to stop his or her drinking. The truth is you are here because of the alcoholic and not for the alcoholic. You will soon learn you did not cause the alcoholic to drink, you cannot control the drinking, nor can you cure the alcoholic. You are here for yourself. You and you alone are responsible for dealing with your own pain. This is your program, it is your recovery from the effects of the disease of alcoholism.

You will find love, understanding, and a lot of hope from the Al-Anon Family Group. The people around you are experiencing in varying degrees the hurt, the anger, the anxiety that you are experiencing. We in Al-Anon share our experiences because it helps us to focus on ourselves and our recovery. We do this with the use of the Al-Anon tools of the program (steps, slogans, literature).

Al-Anon will work for you if you allow it to. It’s as effective as you make it. It’s the safe place, the right place to be. Your anonymity is protected at all times.

Here are a few things to keep in mind at your first meeting

  • 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.
  • You are free to ask questions or to talk about your situation at your first meeting. If you’d rather just listen, you can say “I pass,” or explain that you’d just like to listen.
  • 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 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.
  • 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 of Al‑Anon. It will take some time to fully understand how the Twelve Steps 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.

Useful Links/Literature

The Twelve Steps
The Twelve Traditions
The Twelve Concepts of Service
The Forum
Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism
Resources for Professionals