For the newcomer

Each meeting has its own style, so it is suggested that you try 6 meetings before deciding if Al-Anon is right for you.  Autonomy allows the meeting to be run as its members choose, within guidelines designed to promote Al-Anon unity.  The only requirement for membership is that your life has been affected by someone’s drinking.

What are Al-Anon meetings like?

In a typical AL-ANON meeting, participants share and listen to the experiences, strengths and hopes of one another on a confidential and anonymous basis. Most AL-ANON meetings focus at first on a topic delivered by a lead-off speaker (the chair of this meeting), followed by participants speaking about how that topic relates to their own lives or about other experiences in their lives. Participants are not required to speak, but when they do, they are encouraged to share their own experience, strength and hope, focusing on their own life without gossip or criticism of one another.

Are all Al-Anon meetings the same?

Each AL-ANON meeting is independent, and each has its own character and focus. Some meetings focus on special topics or needs (see below). Some of these meetings, called open meetings, are designed for members of the public seeking information as well as members.

All meetings that are OPEN can be attended by anyone interested in learning about the Al-Anon program. A CLOSED meeting is for Al-Anon/Alateen members only, and those considering membership.

When our World Service Office lists a group, at their request, there is an informal agreement that the group will abide by Al-Anon Traditions and keep its doors open to any Al-Anon member. Listing in the directory does not constitute approval of any group’s manner of practicing the Al-Anon program. If the group you attend is not right for you, please try another.

There is help available in Al-Anon.

Types of meetings

Beginners Meetings

Meetings designed especially with newcomers to AL-ANON in mind.  Beginners Meetings are sometimes separate meetings but are often held as an extension to a regular AL-ANON meeting. Sometimes beginners also attend Open Meetings to obtain public information.

Alateen Meetings

Alateen meetings are AL-ANON meetings meant specifically for teenagers who have been affected by someone else’s drinking. Adults, please attend other AL-ANON meetings, usually nearby.  Check individual listings, some meetings invite preteens and young adults as well.

“Open” Meetings

Meetings where professionals and the general public are encouraged to obtain information about AL-ANON and the effect of drinking problems on other people.

AA Meetings Nearby

Any AL-ANON meeting that meets at about the same time and place as a meeting of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).  AA and AL-ANON meetings are run separately and independently.  Times and locations may not always be exactly identical.

Handicap Accessible Meetings

Meetings where the room used for the meeting is accessible to the physically handicapped.

Step Meetings

Meetings in which the discussion focuses on one or more of the twelve steps of AL-ANON.  Most step meetings cover all of the steps on a rolling basis, others concentrate on one specific step.  Even non-“step meetings” often cover one step per month.

Adult Children Meetings

Meetings where the discussion focuses on adults whose lives have been affected by the drinking of a parent or other caretaker.

Women’s Meetings, Men’s Meetings, Parents Meetings

Meetings attended by women, men or parents of alcoholics whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.

Find a Virtual Meeting

Electronic Al-Anon meetings are online or over a phone with formats such as bulletin board, email, social media, Zoom, or Skype.  Beginning in 2020, this expanded enormously due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but these are all listed at the WSO meeting finder.  Bear in mind that when you need a meeting, a non face-to-face meeting is probably meeting at a time that works for you.

Virtual Meetings

Revised Nov 2021