Alateen is separate from Alcoholics Anonymous groups and is a part of the Al-anon family groups. It is a fellowship of young members, typically teenagers, who have been affected by the drinking or drug using of someone close to them, normally family members. Members come together to share their experiences, strength and hope with one another so they can learn to effectively cope with their loved one’s using or drinking.
Alateen members learn that alcoholism is a family disease affecting not only the drinker but their families as well at both emotional and often a physical levels. The purpose of Alateen is to teach the members that there are in fact solutions they can use to help not only them but to support their family at the same time.
Alateen members learn that the drinking is compulsive; meetings teach the members to detach themselves emotionally from the drinker’s issues while being able to continue to love the person at the same time. Meetings help to teach members to not take on the blame for anyone’s drinking or behavior. The lessons taught at Ala-teen are aimed to allow members to live up to their own internal potentials and to disregard what’s happening in their external lives.
Meetings of Alateen are run by the teenagers and an Al-anon sponsor who officiates the meeting. Any other adults wishing to participate in a meeting must first ask permission from the members prior.
Members of Alateen will find that they benefit most if they:
- Attend meetings on a regular basis
- Build a support network amongst members
- Read the literature provided by Al-anon and Alateen
- Find a sponsor to take them through the Twelve Steps
- Apply the steps continually throughout their recovery process
- Involve themselves in service such as finding commitments at meetings
Alateen groups do not:
- Advise members as a whole but leave members to relate to one another and learn from there
- Gossip or criticize one another or the group
- Have any concern over religion, race or politics
- Endorse or oppose any therapy, treatment or causes
Two important traditions that come with Alateen include:
1. Alateen remains a policy of confidentiality and does not disclose any information on members or what is shared in a meeting. This allows all members to feel safe and secure to share openly and honestly.
2. All meetings are self-supporting they do not receive any funding from any organizations or movements. This allows Alateen to remain impartial to anything outside of the groups.
Alateen meetings are normally held in churches, school buildings or Ala-non buildings.
Types of meetings include:
- Open meetings where anyone interested in learning about the program may attend
- Closed meetings where only those who have been affected by a family member’s drinking may attend
- Limited access groups for those in areas where finding a meeting would be otherwise much harder
- Introductory meetings exist for newcomers to teach them what the program is about.
In order to find meetings there are directories on the internet and meetings are widely available and recommended for anyone struggling from being affected by a loved one’s addiction.