The message of the Al‐Anon Family Groups, Al‐Anon and Alateen, is one of hope. It is the story of men, women, and children who once felt helpless, lost, and lonely because of another’s alcoholism. Although Al‐Anon grew from a need expressed by family members of Alcoholics Anonymous, Al‐Anon and Alateen offer help and hope to friends and families of alcoholics, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. While many of our members no longer maintain daily contact with an alcoholic, they seek the mutual support Al‐Anon and Alateen groups offer.
Al‐Anon is a unique fellowship that unites members of different backgrounds, races, and walks of life in an inspiring endeavor: helping themselves and others to lead purposeful, useful lives by overcoming the frustration and helplessness caused by close association with an alcoholic.
Alateen (Al‐Anon for younger members) is a vital part of Al‐Anon Family Groups. Young people seeking help with problems that arise when alcoholism afflicts a parent, another close relative, or a friend meet to exchange experiences and to gain an understanding of themselves and the alcoholic. This helps their own personal development and can help stabilize troubled thinking resulting from close association with an alcoholic.
“Al‐Anon and Alateen Groups at Work” explains how to start a group, help it grow, and discover how other members have solved problems common to groups. (Note that in countries outside of the World Service Conference structure, terms mentioned may vary according to need.) The harmony and success of each group depends on shared responsibility, a warm spirit of fellowship, and individual self‐improvement.
Today these men, women and teenaged children have courage and confidence. They have found understanding and learned what to do to help themselves and this can indirectly help their alcoholic relatives, loved ones, and friends, whether sober or not. Al‐Anon will always be what we, its members, make it. In Al‐Anon, we believe that our benefits are measured by our willingness to share them with others, for we know we can never give as much as we receive. al-anon alanon montgomery alabama al-anon meeting Prattville al anon Wetumpka
The Family Group idea is nearly as old as Alcoholics Anonymous. In A.A.’s pioneering days from 1935 to 1941, close relatives of recovering alcoholics realized that to solve their personal problems they needed to apply the same principles that helped alcoholics with their recovery.
As early A.A. members and their wives visited A.A. groups throughout the country, the visiting wives told the mates of the newer A.A.s about the personal help received when they themselves tried to live by A.A.’s Twelve Steps, and how this helped to improve family relationships that often remained difficult even after the alcoholic had become sober.
Thus, mates and relatives of A.A. members began to hold meetings to discuss their common problems.
By 1948, numbers of Family Groups had applied to the A.A. General Service Office for listing in the A.A. Directory, and scores of rela‐ tives of alcoholics had asked them for help. But A.A. was designed to aid alcoholics only.
In 1951, two wives of A.A.s, Lois W. and Anne B., formed a Clearing House Committee to get in touch with these 87 inquirers and to coordinate, unify, and serve them; 56 groups responded. As a result of questionnaires, the name Al‐Anon Family Groups was chosen. The Al‐Anon name is simply a derivative of the first syllables of “Alcoholics Anonymous.”The Twelve Steps of A.A., virtually unchanged, and later the Twelve Traditions were both adopted as guiding principles.
Soon the movement came to public attention. New groups and individuals here and abroad wrote to the Clearing House about their problems. By 1954, a small paid staff became necessary. The Clearing House was incorporated as a nonprofit organization under the name Al‐Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
In 1955, Al‐Anon’s first book, The Al-Anon Family Groups, A Guide for the Families of Problem Drinkers, was published. Since then, many more books and pamphlets were added.
In 1961, Al‐Anon initiated its annual World Service Conference of Delegates, WSO staff, and volunteers to act as the fellowship’s overall conscience. In the quarter century from 1951 to 1976, over 12,000 groups in the United States, Canada, and many lands overseas were added to the original 56. n 2001, the WSO started registering on‐line meetings, and in 2007, phone and other electronic meetings. Electronic meetings offered Al‐Anon members a means of connecting and sharing the Al‐Anon program regardless of location.
By 2018 there were over 25,000 groups in 133 countries and 107 electronic (digital, social media and phone) meetings.
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