The Shared Experiences of Al-Anon and Alateen Members



Beginnersí Meetings are an important part of our Al-Anon Family Groups.  Members introduce newcomers to the Al-Anon program as well as inform them about the disease of alcoholism.  They give the newcomers the opportunity to discuss their feelings with long-time members, which is something they cannot always do at meetings with preplanned programs.  Remember, when chairing a Beginnerís Meeting you are simply sharing the experience, strength, and hope that you found in the Al-Anon program of recovery.  This Guideline simply offers suggestions to make your sharing easier.

The usual time for Beginnersí Meetings is from 30 to 45 minutes, just prior to Al-Anon meetings.  Beginner Meetings are conducted by an Al-Anon/Alateen member who understands the Twelve Steps and Traditions.  Patience, tolerance, the abilities to listen and to explain our program to families and friends of alcoholics are important qualities for those who conduct Beginnersí Meetings.  Having two or three other Al-Anon members present to share their views on questions that may arise, is a good idea.

Urge the newcomers to read the Al-Anon books and pamphlets; point out the benefits of each.  Encourage beginners to share the Al-Anon program of recovery with their children.  A fine way of doing this is to display and discuss Al-Anon/Alateen literature.  It is helpful to introduce the Conference-Approved Literature (CAL) associated with each of the suggested meetings.  A personal explanation about the contents and value of each piece makes our written recovery information come alive.

It can be very helpful to offer newcomers a copy of The Forum magazine to read between meetings.  The magazine is especially good for newcomers who might feel too afraid to make phone calls, yet.  Since the magazine is a ďmeeting in your pocket,Ē the stories can keep newcomers in touch with Al-Anonís message of hope, based on the experience and strength of individual members.  Groups can decide whether to loan the magazines or to give them away.



Open the meeting with the Serenity Prayer, the Suggested Welcome, the Preamble and the Twelve Steps.
Explain who attends Al-Anon/Alateen meetings and what newcomers may expect at a meeting.
Stress the importance of attending all scheduled Beginner Meetings in the series.
Encourage newcomers to attend other Al-Anon meetings and offer a list of meetings in the area.
Explain how Alateen is part of Al-Anon and the help it offers to children of alcoholics.
Briefly explain that Al-Anon is a spiritual program.  However, we do not discuss specific religious tenets.
Point out the importance of guarding each memberís anonymity; stress that gossip is detrimental to ourselves, to others and to Al-Anon as a whole.
Encourage newcomers to express their feelings so they will be able to concentrate on their own recovery.  This is an ideal time to emphasize the need for individual sponsorship.
Explain Al-Anon Conference-Approved Literature (CAL) and the importance of reading it.  Inform newcomers about Al-Anon/Alateen books, pamphlets and The Forum magazine.
Suggest occasional attendance at open AA meetings.
Stress the importance of talking with members before and after meetings.  Have membersí phone numbers and local meeting lists available for distribution.
End the meeting with the Suggested Closing and a prayer that is acceptable to the group conscience.



Describe the impact alcoholism has on those close to the alcoholic.

Briefly discuss Step Oneóemphasizing that we are not responsible for the alcoholicís behavior.

Talk about the 3Cís:  We did not cause alcoholism.  We cannot control it.  We cannot cure it.

Suggested Conference Approved Literature for First Meeting

P-48*Understanding Ourselves and Alcoholism
P-13Purpose and Suggestions
S-4Information for the Newcomer

And their choice of pamphlets applicable to their circumstances

S-17Al-Anon, Is It For You?
S-20Alateen, Is It For You?
S-25Did You Grow Up With A Problem Drinker?
P-41Facts About Alateen
P-1Al-Anon Is For Men
P-16To The Mother And Father Of An Alcoholic
P-21Youth And The Alcoholic Parent
P-85Al-Anon Is For Gays And Lesbian


Second Meeting

Continue to discuss Step One.

Delve into living one day at a time.

Suggested Conference Approved Literature for Second Meeting

P-32*This is Al-Anon
P-14So You Love An Alcoholic
M-12Just For Today


Third Meeting

Review Step One.

Discuss the slogans:

Let Go and Let GodOne Day At A Time
Easy Does ItKeep It Simple
Live and Let LiveThink
First Things FirstListen and Learn

Suggested Conference Approved Literature for Third Meeting

P-7*A Guide For the Family of the Alcoholic
P-19What Do YOU Do About The Alcoholicís Drinking?
P-6Freedom From Despair

Fourth Meeting

Discuss Step Two

Introduce the Serenity Prayer and discuss its three parts:  acceptance, change, wisdom.

Suggested conference Approved Literature for Fourth Meeting

P-4*Alcoholism,  The Family Disease
P-2Al-Anon, You and the Alcoholic
P-15Three Views of Al-Anon
M-26Serenity Prayer Card


Fifth Meeting

Discuss Step Three.

Talk about understanding ourselves and letting go of fears, resentments and self-pity.

Suggested Conference Approved Literature for Fifth Meeting

P-3*Alcoholism, A Merry-Go-Round Named Denial
P-9How Can I Help My Children?


Sixth Meeting

Explain that each person is a vital part of an Al-Anon group.

Discuss sponsorship and the importance of selecting a sponsor as soon as possible.

Talk about choosing a home group and how a group is structured according to the Twelve Traditions.

Encourage attendance at as many Al-Anon meetings as possible.

Briefly tell how Al-Anon came to be.

Suggested Conference Approved Literature for Sixth Meeting

P-31*Sponsorship, What Itís All About
P-33*Why Is Al-Anon Anonymous?
P-17Twelve Steps and Traditions
P-18Twelve Steps and Traditions of Alateen
M-44Al-Anon/Alateen Is and Is Not Bookmark

*Denotes smaller selection of literature for groups with limited financial resources.


Packets of pamphlets selected for newcomers to Al-Anon/Alateen are available as follows:

K-10Al-Anon Newcomers Packet
K-21Adult Children of Alcoholics Newcomers Packet
K-23Menís Newcomer Packet
K-24Parentís Newcomer Packet
K-18Alateen Newcomer Packet

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