What happens at a meeting?
Almost all of us had questions before coming to our first meeting, but we all took that small step to recovery and decided to come. Many of us still come back years later because the meetings help us heal and offer hope. Please read the questions below to understand what happens at a meeting. Please feel free to email us if you have any additional questions. Perhaps we can help you decide if Al-Anon is for you.
REMEMBER - YOU ARE NOT ALONE AND THERE IS ALWAYS HOPE!
Who are the group members?
Al-Anon has thousands of members from every walk of life. No matter what your relationship to the alcoholic, you will find someone else in a similar situation. We all have husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, grandparents, great grandparents and close friends who are alcoholics. We all share a common bond: to heal from the affects of another person's drinking.
Where are the meetings held?
Meetings are held at local schools, churches and hospitals. Meetings are held 7 days a week, both day and night. Meetings offer a safe place where people can come and talk about dealing with the effects of alcoholism in a friend or loved one.
How are meetings set-up?
All meetings start at a specific time; most last about an hour or so; some have no formal closing time. You can come into a meeting or leave anytime you choose. Many members come early to greet newcomers and talk to friends, and stay after the meeting to socialize and answer questions. Newcomers walk away from a meeting with Al-Anon literature, which has lots of useful information about dealing with alcoholism in a relative or close friend, and a list of local meetings, together with a list of phone numbers of members in the group who they can contact between meetings, if they need help.
Do you have to say anything?
Talking at a meeting is your choice. You do not have to speak, but many newcomers have found it helpful to finally share with others what was going on and how someone else's drinking is affecting them. You are sharing in a safe place where your anonymity and privacy will be respected. You talk only when you feel ready to share. Sometimes newcomers like to talk privately with one or two Al-Anon members before or after a meeting. Whatever you feel comfortable with is ok by us.
What is discussed at a meeting?
In general, there is a different topic discussed each week at a meeting. Topics help us: get in touch with our feelings, detach from the alcoholic, stop feeling like we're always the victim, set boundaries with others, identify abuse, get rid of our anger and deal with our resentments. Topics also help us: have healthy relationships with others, raise our self-esteem, face our fears, and deal with our anxiety and depression.
How will a meeting help you?
As individuals go around the room sharing on topics and their own situations, you may hear a little bit about yourself in their stories. While you may not identify with everything, in general you will hear others talk about what you may be feeling. Listening to someone else has helped many of us learn about ourselves. Please attend at least 6 meetings so you can decide if Al-Anon is for you. It's important to find somewhere that you feel comfortable, so we also suggest that you attend different meetings because each meeting has its own style and personality.
Will anyone say you've been at the meeting?
We place a high importance on anonymity at all our meetings because this makes our meetings a safe place to share. We only go by first names. No one needs to know that you are attending meetings, unless you choose to tell them. What is said in the rooms, what you hear in the rooms, whom you see in the rooms, stays in the rooms. This is one way we protect our anonymity.