Al-Anon and Alateen are two programs that are part of a worldwide scholarship that provides support to families of alcoholics. Al-Anon is designed to help spouses, parents, siblings, and other family members, while Alateen is specifically aimed at younger people living with an alcoholic.
Both groups are based on a spiritual, non-religious ethos from which members gain insight when part of a collective (as opposed to personal support).
While many people turn to Al-Anon and Alateen for help with a loved one’s alcohol problem, there are also no intervention programs. Rather, they recognize that people living with an alcoholic can be traumatized and focus their efforts on looking after those people’s needs.
As with Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Al-Anon and Alateen are closely based on a 12-step model (aptly known as the Twelve Steps) designed as a “tool for spiritual growth”...
Story of Al-Anon and Alateen
As early as 1939, families and their alcoholic family members took part in AA meetings. By actively participating in the Twelve Steps, many of these people saw the benefits of incorporating the Principles into their own lives and family dynamics. Over time, some of these family groups formed their own independent meetings.
In 1948 several of these groups applied to the AA General Service Office for inclusion in the membership directory. After the admission was refused, Lois W. (wife of AA co-founder Bill W.) and Anne B., a close friend of the family, decided to set up a committee to help coordinate and support these independent groups.
In 1951, Al-Anon was formally established with 56 member groups in the continental United States. They chose the name from the first syllables of “AlCoholics Anonymous “and, in accordance with the Founding Principles, adopted the Twelve Steps (and later the Twelve Traditions) in a slightly modified form.
The first Alateen meetings were set up specifically for members between the ages of 12 and 19 in 1957..While working alone, these groups are supported by an adult Al-Anon member known as a sponsor.
Al-Anon and Alateen Twelve paces
The twelve steps of Al-Anon and Alateen are closely aligned with those of AA. The rationale of the model is that people can help heal one another, but only if they surrender to a higher power.
While the Twelve Steps can be a driving force in suffering families, there are those who struggle with the program’s spiritual, quasi-religious, male-centered premise.
For those who are uncomfortable with the spiritual elements of the Al-Anon and Alateen Twelve Steps programs, there are alternatives to the 12-step methodology that are not based on the concept of a “higher power”.
For those who welcome the Al-Anon and Alateen approach, the 12 steps are broken down as follows:..
- Admit that you are powerless over alcohol and that your life has become unmanageable
- To believe that a force greater than yourself can make you well again
- Make a decision to surrender your will and your life to the care of God In any form whatsoever
- Take a fearless moral inventory of yourself
- Admit the exact nature of your wrongdoing to God, yourself, and others
- To be ready for God to remove these shortcomings from your character
- Actively ask God to remove these shortcomings
- Make a list of everyone you have harmed and be ready to take remedial action
- Make changes if possible (except if it would cause damage)
- Continue to take a moral stock of yourself and admit when you are wrong
- I am trying to improve your connection with God and pray for knowledge and the strength to do God’s will
- Get this message across and practice these principles in your daily life