Newcomer information


Is Al-Anon for me?
How will Al-Anon help me?
How do I find a meeting?
Who are the members of Al-Anon?
Do I have to say anything at a meeting?
Will anyone say I’ve been there?
How much is this going to cost?
Is this a religious meeting?
What is alcoholism?
Who are alcoholics?
How do alcoholics affect their families and friends?

What is Al-Anon?

The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.

Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization or institution; does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.

Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.


Is Al-Anon for Me?

Are You Troubled by Someone’s Drinking?

Millions of people are affected by the excessive drinking of someone close. These 20 questions are designed to help you decide if you could benefit from Al-Anon.

  1. Do you worry about how much someone drinks?
  2. Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
  3. Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking?
  4. Do you feel if the drinker loved you, he or she would stop drinking to please you?
  5. Do you blame the drinker’s behavior on his or her companions?
  6. Are plans frequently upset or canceled or meals delayed because
    of the drinker?
  7. Do you make threats, such as, “If you don’t stop drinking, I’ll leave you?”
  8. Do you secretly try to smell the drinker’s breath?
  9. Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking bout?
  10. Have you been hurt or embarrassed by a drinker’s behavior?
  11. Are holidays and gatherings spoiled because of drinking?
  12. Have you considered calling the police for help in fear of abuse?
  13. Do you search for hidden alcohol?
  14. Do you often ride in a car with a driver who has been drinking?
  15. Have you refused social invitations out of fear or anxiety?
  16. Do you sometimes feel like a failure when you think of the
    lengths you have gone to control the drinker?
  17. Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other
    problems would be solved?
  18. Do you ever threaten to hurt yourself to scare the drinker?
  19. Do you feel angry, confused or depressed most of the time?
  20. Do you feel there is no one who understands your problems?

Alcoholism is a family disease. If you answered yes to some of these questions,
you may want to check meeting information in your district.

Did You Grow Up With a Problem Drinker?

  1. Do you constantly seek approval and affirmation?
  2. Do you fail to recognize your accomplishments?
  3. Do you fear criticism?
  4. Do you overextend yourself?
  5. Have you had problems with your own compulsive behavior?
  6. Do you have a need for perfection?
  7. Are you uneasy when your life is going smoothly, continually
    anticipating problems?
  8. Do you feel more alive in the midst of a crisis?
  9. Do you still feel responsible for others, as you did for the
    problem drinker in your life?
  10. Do you care for others easily, yet find it difficult to care
    for yourself?
  11. Do you isolate yourself from other people?
  12. Do you respond with fear to authority figures and angry people?
  13. Do you feel that individuals and society in general are taking
    advantage of you?
  14. Do you have trouble with intimate relationships?
  15. Do you confuse pity with love, as you did with the problem
  16. Do you attract and/or seek people who tend to be compulsive
    and abusive?
  17. Do you cling to relationships because you are afraid of being
  18. Do you mistrust your own feelings and the feelings expressed
    by others?
  19. Do you find it difficult to identify and express your emotions?
  20. Do you think parental drinking may have affected you?

Alcoholism is a family disease. Those of us who have lived with this disease as children sometimes have problems which the Al-Anon program can help us to resolve. If you answered yes to some of these questions, you may want to check meeting information for your district.

Alateen: Is It For You?

  1. Do you have a parent, close friend, or relative whose drinking
    upsets you?
  2. Do you cover up your real feelings by pretending you don’t
  3. Does it seem as though every holiday is spoiled because of drinking?
  4. Do you tell lies to cover up for someone else’s drinking or
    what’s happening in your home?
  5. Do you stay out of the house as much as possible because you
    hate it there?
  6. Are you afraid to upset someone for fear it will set off a drinking
  7. Do you feel nobody really loves you or cares what happens to
  8. Are you afraid or embarrassed to bring your friends home?
  9. Do you think the drinker’s behavior is caused by you, other
    members of your family, or rotten breaks in life?
  10. Do you make threats such as “If you don’t stop drinking,
    fighting, etc., I’ll run away?”
  11. Do you make such promises about behavior such as “I’ll
    get better school marks, go to church or keep my room clean”
    in exchange for a promise that the drinking and fighting
  12. Do you feel that if your mom or dad loved you she or he would
    stop drinking?
  13. Do you ever threaten or actually hurt yourself to scare your
    parents into saying “I’m sorry” or “I love
  14. Do you believe no one could possibly understand how you feel?
  15. Do you have money problems because of someone else’s drinking?
  16. Are meal times frequently delayed because of the drinker?
  17. Have you considered calling the police because of drinking behavior?
  18. Have you refused dates out of fear or anxiety?
  19. Do you think that if the drinker stopped drinking, your other
    problems would be solved?
  20. Do you ever treat people (teachers, schoolmates, teammates,
    etc.) unjustly because you are angry at someone else for drinking too much?

Alcoholism is a family disease. If you answered yes to some of these questions, Alateen may help. Check the meeting information in your district for a meeting near you.

Copyright © Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
Reprinted with permission of Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA



How will Al-Anon help me?

Many who come to Al-Anon/Alateen are in despair, feeling hopeless, unable to believe that things can ever change. We want our lives to be different, but nothing we have done has brought about change. We all come to Al-Anon because we want and need help.

In Al-Anon and Alateen, members share their own experience, strength, and hope with each other. You will meet others who share your feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. We come together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.


How do I find a meeting?

PHONE: For meeting information in Canada, the US, and Puerto Rico, call 1-888-4AL-ANON (1-888-425-2666) Monday through Friday, 8 AM to 6 PM ET.


  • Click here for local meetings in South Florida.
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Who are the members of Al-Anon / Alateen?

Al-Anon and Alateen members are people just like you and me – people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking. They are parents, children, spouses, partners, brothers, sisters, other family members, friends, employers, employees, and coworkers of alcoholics. No matter what our specific experience has been we share a common bond: we feel our lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking.


Do I have to say anything at a meeting?

It is your choice to speak or not during the meetings. Newcomers are welcomed to meetings, usually provided with literature and a local meeting list, and invited to listen and learn. Some meetings offer beginners’ meetings, specifically for newcomers. Members are available to answer questions before or after the meetings.

Will anyone say I’ve been there?

One of the Al-Anon program’s basic principles is that of anonymity. Meetings are confidential, and we do not disclose whom we see or what we hear at meetings to anyone.

How much is this going to cost?

There are no dues or fees in Al-Anon and Alateen meetings. Most groups pass a basket for voluntary contributions. Members are asked to contribute what they can afford, so that the group can pay rent, provide literature, and offer support to local and worldwide service centers.

Is this a religious fellowship?

Al-Anon Family Groups is a spiritual fellowship, not a religious one. We avoid discussion of specific religious doctrine, and members of all faiths (or of none) are welcome. Our Twelve Steps ask us to find a “Power greater than ourselves” who can help us solve our problems and find serenity. Each member is free to define that power in his or her own way.


What is alcoholism?

Alcoholism is widely recognized as a disease of compulsive drinking, which can be arrested, but not cured. It is a progressive illness, which will get only worse as long as the person continues to drink. Total abstinence from drinking is the only way to arrest the disease. Alcoholism affects the entire family; indeed, everyone who has contact with the alcoholic is affected. The only person who can stop the alcoholic from drinking is the alcoholic himself or herself.

Who are alcoholics?

They could be anyone, from all backgrounds and walks of life. They are parents, grandparents, sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, and friends. Over 95 percent of alcoholics have families, friends, and jobs. They may function fairly well, but some part of their life is suffering. Their drinking causes a continuing and growing problem in their lives, and the lives they touch.

How do alcoholics affect families and friends?

Alcoholism is a family disease. The disease affects all those who have a relationship with a problem drinker. Those of us closest to the alcoholic suffer the most, and those who care the most can easily get caught up in the behavior of another person. We react to the alcoholic’s behavior. We focus on them, what they do, where they are, how much they drink. We try to control their drinking for them. We take on the blame, guilt, and shame that really belong to the drinker. We can become as addicted to the alcoholic, as the alcoholic is to alcohol. We, too, can become ill.


To find an Al-Anon meeting in South Florida, CLICK HERE