Al-Anon Family Groups\Alateen
Mental Health & Addictions Service
Al-Anon Family Groups
- Programme Areas
Addictions - drug & alcohol
- Programme Type
Advocacy / group / family whanau support (AOD)
All of New Zealand
- Age Groups
- Referral Types
At Al‑Anon Family Group meetings, the friends and family members of problem drinkers share their experiences and learn how to apply the principles of the Al‑Anon program to their individual situations. Younger family members and friends attend Alateen meetings. They learn that they are not alone in the problems they face, and that they have choices that lead to greater peace of mind, whether the drinker continues to drink or not.
In Al-Anon, members do not give direction or advice to other members. Instead, they share their personal experiences and stories, and invite other members to “take what they like and leave the rest”—that is, to determine for themselves what lesson they could apply to their own lives.
The Twelve Steps, the Twelve Traditions, and the Twelve Concepts of Service are Al-Anon’s three Legacies. The spiritual principles of the Al-Anon program derive from these Legacies. Sponsorship gives members an opportunity to get personal support from someone more experienced in the program. These relationships are voluntary. Members ask another member to be their Sponsor when they believe that person will be suitable as a mentor in applying the program.
Newcomers to Al-Anon are often interested in learning from members whose personal situations most closely resemble theirs. After attending Al-Anon meetings, they begin to understand how much they have in common with everyone affected by someone else’s drinking, regardless of the specific details of their personal situation.
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 centre 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.
- For more information about Al-anon in NZ please click on the link below to take you to the New Zealand Al-anon Family Groups web page.
Al-Anon offers resources for professionals in the Health/Mental Health areas.
The link below will take you to a dedicated page for professionals on the Al-Anon World Service website.
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This page was last updated at 11:52AM on May 5, 2017.