Suggested Meeting Format

This format is included for your convenience. While not every group chooses to plan it’s meeting in this way, many find a general outline helpful. (Alateen groups substitute “Alateen” where applicable).

(Underlined items are links that you can click for full texts)


Meeting Opening

Chairperson: “Will you join me in a moment of silence, followed by the serenity prayer?”

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference


Suggested Al-Anon / Alateen Welcome

We welcome you to the (group name here) Al-Anon Family Group and hope you will find in this fellowship the help and friendship we have been privileged to enjoy.

We who live, or have lived, with the problem of alcoholism understand as perhaps few others can. We too, were lonely and frustrated, but in Al-Anon we discover that no situation is really hopeless, and that it is possible for us to find contentment, and even happiness, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.

We urge you to try our program. It has helped many of us find solutions that lead to serenity. So much depends on our own attitudes, and as we learn to place our problem in it’s true perspective, we find it loses it’s power to dominate our thoughts and our lives.

The family situation is bound to improve as we apply the Al-Anon ideas. Without such spiritual help, living with an alcoholic is too much for most of us. Our thinking becomes distorted by trying to force solutions and we become irritable and un reasonable without knowing it.

The Al-Anon program is based on the Twelve Steps (adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous) which we try, little by little, one day at a time, to apply to our lives along with our slogans and the Serenity Prayer. The loving interchange of help among members and daily reading of Al-Anon literature thus make us ready to receive the priceless gift of serenity.

Anonymity is an important principle of the Al-Anon program. Everything that is said here, in the group meeting and member-to-member, must be held in confidence. Only in this way can we feel free to say what is in our minds and hearts, for this is how we help one another in Al-Anon.

At this point many groups usually have the chairman say if the group meeting has a special format (step-study. speakers or round-table discussion group), is open or is closed to the public, has a specific routine for calling on members, or if the group wishes to ask members of other anonymous fellowships to remain anonymous, and focus on the Al-Anon program. Members are told how they can obtain Al-Anon and Alateen Conference Approved Literature. Al-Anon/Alateen related announcements are made. This is a time to acknowledge and welcome newcomers and visitors.

Statement of Purpose

The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery.

Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization or institution; does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.

Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.


Newcomer Welcome

As a newcomer you may feel that you are here tonight for the alcoholic, that your presence here may teach you how to stop his or her drinking. The truth is you are here because of the alcoholic and not for the alcoholic. You will soon learn you did not cause the alcoholic to drink, you cannot control the drinking, nor can you cure the alcoholic. You are here for yourself. You and you alone are responsible for dealing with your own pain. This is your program, it is your recovery from the effects of the disease of alcoholism.

You will find love, understanding, and a lot of hope from the Al-Anon Family Group. The people around you tonight are experiencing in varying degrees the hurt, the anger, the anxiety that you are experiencing. We in Al-Anon share our experiences because it helps us to focus on ourselves and our recovery. We do this with the use of the Al-Anon tools of the program (steps, slogans, literature) which will be provided to you.

Al-Anon will work for you if you allow it to. It’s as effective as you make it. It’s the safe place, the right place to be. Feel free to ask any questions or you may feel more comfortable just listening. That’s fine, too. There are no “musts” in Al-Anon.

Finally, what you say or hear here and who you see here tonight stays in this room. Your anonymity is protected at all times.


Suggested Al-Anon Preamble to the Twelve Steps

The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope in order to solve their common problems. We believe alcoholism is a family illness and that changed attitudes can aid recovery. Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution, does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through it’s own voluntary contributions.

Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.


Twelve Steps

Because of their proven power and worth, AA’s Twelve Steps have been adopted almost word for word by Al-Anon. They represent a way of life appealing to all people of goodwill, of any religious faith or of none. Note the power of the very words!

  1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol – that our lives had become unmanageable.
  2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.
  4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.
  5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.
  6. Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.
  7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.
  8. Made a list of all the persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
  9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.
  10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.
  11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.
  12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

Twelve Traditions

The traditions that follow bind us together in unity. They guide the groups in their relations with other groups, with AA and the outside world. They recommend group attitudes toward leadership, membership, money, property, public relations, and anonymity.

The Traditions evolved from the experience of AA groups in trying to solve their problems of living and working together. Al-Anon adopted these group guidelines and over the years has found them sound and wise. Although they are only suggestion, Al-Anon’s unity and perhaps even it’s survival are dependent on adherence to these principals.

  1. Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.
  2. For our group purpose there is but one authority – a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted leaders; they do not govern.
  3. The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group. provided that. as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcohol in a relative of friend.
  4. Each group should be autonomous. except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.
  5. Each l-Anon Family Group has but one purpose; to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.
  6. Our Al-Anon Family Groups ought never to endorse, finance or land our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary aim. Although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous.
  7. Every group ought to be fully self-supporting. declining outside contrubutions.
  8. Al-Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.
  9. Our groups, as such, ought never be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.
  10. The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never be drawn into public controversy.
  11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, films, and TV. We need guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.
  12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.

Twelve Concepts of Service / General Warranties

Carrying the message, as suggested in the Twelve Steps, is Service, Al-Anon’s third legacy. Service, a vital purpose of Al-Anon, is action. Members strive to do as well as to be.

Anything done to help a relative or friend of an alcoholic is service: a telephone call to a despairing member or sponsoring a newcomer, telling one’s story at meetings, forming groups, arranging for public outreach, distributing literature, and financially supporting groups, local services, and the World Service Office.

  1. The ultimate responsibility and authority for Al-Anon world services belongs to the Al-Anon groups.
  2. The Al-Anon Family Groups have delegated complete administrative and operational authority to their Conference and its service arms.
  3. The right of decision makes effective leadership possible.
  4. Participation is the key to harmony.
  5. The rights of appeal and petition protect minorities and insure that they be heard.
  6. The Conference acknowledges the primary administrative responsibility of the Trustees.
  7. The Trustees have legal rights while the rights of the Conference are traditional.
  8. The Board of Trustees delegates full authority for routine management of Al-Anon Headquarters to its executive committees.
  9. Good personal leadership at all service levels is a necessity. In the field of world service the Board of Trustees assumes the primary leadership.
  10. Service responsibility is balanced by carefully defined service authority and double-headed management is avoided.
  11. The World Service Office is composed of selected committees, executives and staff members.
  12. The spiritual foundation for Al-Anon’s world services is contained in the General Warranties of the Conference, Article 12 of the Charter.

General Warranties of the Conference

In all proceedings the World Service Conference of Al-Anon shall observe the spirit of the Traditions;

  1. That only sufficient operating funds of Al-Anon, including an ample reserve, be it’s prudent financial principle;
  2. That no Conference member shall be placed in unqualified authority over other members;
  3. That all decisions be reached by discussion, vote, and whenever possible, by unanimity;
  4. That no Conference action ever be personally punitive or an incitement to public controversy;
  5. That though the Conference serves Al-Anon it shall never perform any act of government; and that like the fellowship of Al-Anon Family Groups which it serves, it shall always remain democratic in thought and action.

Passing the Basket

At some point during the program, voluntary contributions are made following this statement by the Chairperson or Treasurer:

“We have no dues or fees, but we do pass the basket to cover group expenses including rent, purchase of literature, support of our trusted servants and Al-Anon’s service arms. Our Seventh Tradition says we are self-supporting through our own voluntary contributions.”


Suggested Closing

In closing, I would like to say that the opinions expressed here were stricly those of the person who gave them.

The things you heard were spoken in confidence and should be treated as confidential. Keep them within the walls of this room and the confines of your mind.

A few special words to those of you who haven’t been with us long: Whatever your problems, there are those among us who have had them too. If you try to keep an open mind, you will find help. You will come to realize that there is no situation too difficult to be bettered and no unhappiness too great to be lessened.

We aren’t perfect. The welcome we give you may not show the warmth we have in our hearts for you. After a while, you’ll discover that though you may not like all of us, you’ll love us in a very special way – the same way we already love you.

Talk to each other, reason things out with someone else, but lat there be no gossip or criticism of one another. Instead, let the understanding, love and peace of the program grow in you one day at a time.

Will all who care to, join me in closing with The Serenity Prayer?

The Serenity Prayer

God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change
Courage to change the things I can
And wisdom to know the difference