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  • Al-Anon Family Groups, also known as Al-Anon, is a support program for people affected by drinking problems. The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Al-Anon are guidelines for individual and group purposes for the support group.

    Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, which is a support group directly for people with drinking problems, Al-Anon is for the family members and loved ones of people who drink.

    Alateen is an Al-Anon program designed for teenagers who have someone with a drinking problem in their life. Al-Anon and Alateen use similar principles, traditions, and meetings to help people find support and solutions for their loved ones.

    Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps

    The Twelve Steps are a guideline for how people in the program can accept and handle how alcohol affects their lives. It is adapted from the twelve-step program of Alcoholics Anonymous, and has a spiritual foundation for support.

    Unlike a rigid 12 step program, Al-Anon’s twelve steps are closer to outlines. Many of the twelve steps involve repairing relationships and putting trust in a higher power. Making direct amends with loved ones and stressing spiritual and mental health are core parts of the 12 steps.

    Though the twelve steps specifically list God as a source of help, Al-Anon accepts people from all religions and walks of life. People are usually encouraged to take their own interpretations about religion and spiritual help, and apply it to their unique situations.

    Al-Anon’s Twelve Traditions

    The Twelve Traditions outline how Al-Anon should present themselves as a group. Al-Anon tries to stay unbiased on outside issues, and not accept funding from other organizations.

    Al-Anon’s focus is on helping people who feel hopeless or defeated due to their loved ones’ alcohol abuse. Their independent, nonprofit status, along with their twelve traditions, helps them keep a clean reputation.

    Alateen’s Twelve Traditions

    Alateen’s twelve traditions are almost exactly the same as Al-Anon’s. The same principles of staying anonymous, staying unbiased, and not accepting donations are all shared with Al-Anon.

    The Twelve Concepts Of Service

    The Twelve Concepts of Service outline how leadership roles work in Al-Anon. Al-Anon is a nonprofit organization, but they have a nearly worldwide reach thanks to their World Service Office, and board of trustees within.

    The Twelve Concepts will likely not apply to average members of Al-Anon. The Twelve Steps are the intended outline for Al-Anon members looking for support.

    Services Al-Anon Offers

    Al-Anon offers both electronic and in-person group meetings. Meetings are free to attend, and donations are optional. In a meeting, people can talk about how their lives have been affected by a family member or close friend who drinks alcohol, and offer support to each other.

    There are also books, magazines, pamphlets, and even podcasts supported by Al-Anon. These pieces of media can be helpful for people who cannot attend meetings or wish to learn more about Al-Anon.

    Al-Anon also participates in public outreach programs, to potentially find more people who may need their help.

    Is Al-Anon Right For You?

    Al-Anon or Alateen may be right for you if you have a family member or loved one who has a drinking problem, and you are looking for support. Al-Anon can link you to a support group with people who are in similar situations.

    Not everyone may agree with the spiritual approach Al-Anon takes. However, meetings are free and confidential. Different people can take different things away from Al-Anon meetings.

    Some people may need medical treatment due to the toll alcohol has taken on their lives. Treatment may also be done in combination with support groups. To find a proper recovery program for a loved one’s alcohol or substance abuse, contact us today.

    Written by Ark Behavioral Health Editorial Team
    ©2023 Ark National Holdings, LLC. | All Rights Reserved.
    This page does not provide medical advice.

    Al-Anon Family Groups - Al-Anon Twelve Traditions
    Al-Anon Family Groups - FAQ​​​
    Al-Anon Family Groups - The Twelve Steps

    Medically Reviewed by
    Kimberly Langdon M.D.
    on May 25, 2022
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