The Shared Experiences of Al-Anon and Alateen Members


Al-Anon groups are the heart of the Al-Anon program – great meetings insure healthy groups! Varying the meeting topics and planning specific programs keeps the group healthy, alive, and interesting. Preparing for a meeting whether it is telling your own story or researching the vast treasure of Al-Anon literature and materials stimulates growth and self-confidence. There are as many possibilities for topics and types of meetings as there are groups and individual members. The following is by no means an exhaustive list!


¨       Study of Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps – It is important that one of the Steps be covered in at least one meeting per month. The chairperson or program leader reads the Step and provides an explanation followed by discussion.

¨       Study of Al-Anon’s Twelve Traditions – The group studies one or more of the Traditions keeping in mind their value in maintaining the unity and growth of worldwide Al-Anon as well as of the group itself. Applying them to family relationships may offer new insight.

¨       Study of Al-Anon’s Twelve Concepts & Warranties – A better understanding of Al-Anon as a worldwide fellowship can be obtained by a study of the Twelve Concepts of Service and the General Warranties as outlined in Concept Twelve. Discussion of applying them to your personal life may also be stimulating.

¨       Slogans – One or more of the slogans and their value in daily living may serve as the basis of a discussion. The chairperson chooses a slogan and asks several members to explain how they apply it in their lives. Another variation is to have a member pick a slogan out of a hat and explain how the slogan could be used to solve a specific problem.

¨       Sharing Personal Stories – One or more members are asked in advance to speak at the meeting and tell how they came to believe the Al-Anon program could help them make a new way of life.

¨      Discussion Meeting – The chairperson or program leader presents a topic to help members share the principles of the program and discuss the subject as it applies to them.

¨       Panel Discussion – Members are invited to write questions, anonymously or not, which are then answered by two or three members selected by the chairperson. Another variation is to have the questions answered by the group with the chairperson limiting each person to one or two minutes so as to allow as many members as possible to speak.

¨       Exchange Meeting – An individual or team of speakers from another Al-Anon/Alateen group may exchange speakers with your group.

¨      Open Meeting – The function and usefulness of Al-Anon/Alateen can be explained to a wider audience if an open meeting is planned at which members, friends, AA members, students and professionals are welcome. A meeting held to celebrate a special occasion is usually open. (See Guideline, The Open Al-Anon Meeting – G-27.)

¨      Outside Speakers Meeting – An occasional talk by an AA member or a meeting comprised of a husband, wife and child team (Al-Anon, Alateen and AA) often presents insights into the disease of alcoholism. Members of the clergy, doctors, social workers, or other professionals in the field of alcoholism are another option. Care should be taken to select speakers familiar with the Al-Anon and Alateen program in order to avoid diverting the focus from our own recovery to that of the alcoholic or from the Al-Anon program to that of treatment philosophy. (See the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual P24-27, Policy Digest section on Outside Speakers.)

¨       Beginners Meeting – An introductory meeting may be held 30 to 45 minutes before the regular meeting to acquaint newcomers with the Al-Anon program. It also gives newcomers a chance to share specific concerns so that the regular meeting can be focused on a topic promoting growth and recovery. (See Guidelines for Beginners’ Meeting G-2.)

¨       Group Inventory Meeting – This type of meeting can be based on a questionnaire available from the WSO. (See Guidelines for Taking a Group Inventory G-8.)


An unlimited supply of topics can be found in Al-Anon Conference-Approved Literature (CAL). Each book offers options for a variety of subjects and situations.

¨       B-1    Al-Anon faces Alcoholism

¨       B-3    Alateen – Hope for Children of alcoholics

¨       B-4    The Dilemma of the Alcoholic Marriage

¨       B-5    Al-Anon Family Groups

¨       B-6    One Day at a Time in Al-Anon

¨       B-8    Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps & Traditions

¨       B-9    Forum Favorites Vols. 1, 2, 3 & 4

¨       B-10  Alateen a Day at a Time

¨       B-11  As We Understood

¨       B-15  In all Our Affairs: Making Crises Work for You

¨       B-16  Courage to Change: One Day a Time in Al-Anon 

¨       B-21  From Survival to Recovery: Growing up in an Alcoholic Home

¨     B-22  How Al-Anon Works for Families & Friends of Alcoholics

¨       B-23  Courage to Be Me – Living with Alcoholism

¨      B-24  Paths to Recovery Al-Anon’s Steps, Traditions & Concepts

                For a complete listing of Al-Anon CAL books, pamphlets, leaflets, and other supplementary material, see the catalogs S-15 and S-15R and the order forms.

               The Forum, the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual, Inside Al-Anon Xtra. Guidelines and other service material also provide excellent resources for meetings.



For an endless variety of specific topics conducive to good meetings, look in the index found in all Al-Anon and Alateen books. Listed below are a few topics that can be found in CAL and other service materials.

¨       The Three Obstacles for Success (P4)

¨       Twelfth Stepping & Sponsorship

¨       carrying the message

¨       acceptance vs. submission

¨       tolerance toward others and self

¨       planning the action & not the results

¨       principles vs. personalities

¨       serenity & humility

¨       overcoming fears and nameless fears

¨       using the tools of the program to identify and deal with sadness, grief or depression

¨       gratitude

¨       dealing with anger constructively

¨       anger & resentment – what’s the difference

¨       is it projecting or planning

¨       HOW – honesty, openness & willingness

¨       interdependence vs. dependence

¨       attitude – is yours worth catching?

¨       making amends

¨       meditation and the Eleventh Step

¨       God as I understand Him

¨       personal spiritual experience & spiritual awakenings

¨       belief in a higher power

¨       understanding God

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