'Where there is a will there is way' Al-Anon Family Group Meeting Format


[Text in brackets like this are instructions for the chairperson. They mostly do not need to be read aloud.]



[Chairperson : ] Will you join me in a moment of silence followed by 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.

[Chairperson : ] My name is _______________ and I am your chairperson.

[Suggested Al-Anon/Alateen Welcome]

We welcome you to the 'Where there is a will there is a way' 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 its true perspective, we find it loses its 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 unreasonable 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.

Al-Anon is an anonymous fellowship. 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.

[Chairperson or any member:]

[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 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.

[Members read the Twelve Steps.]

The Twelve Steps

Study of these Steps is essential to progress in the Al-Anon program. The principles they embody are universal, applicable to everyone, whatever his personal creed. In Al-Anon, we strive for an ever-deeper understanding of these Steps, and pray for the wisdom to apply them to our lives.

  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 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.

[Members read the Twelve Traditions.]

The Twelve Traditions

These guidelines are the means of promoting harmony and growth in Al-Anon groups and in the worldwide fellowship of Al-Anon as a whole. Our group experience suggests that our unity depends upon our adherence to these Traditions:

  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 servants: 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 alcoholism in a relative or a friend.
  4. Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.
  5. Each Al-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 by welcoming and giving support to families of alcoholics.
  6. Our Al-Anon Family Group ought never endorse, finance or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim. Although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous.
  7. Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.
  8. Al-Anon Twelfth-Step work should remain forever nonprofessional, 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, TV, and Films. 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.
[Chairperson:] We will now go around and introduce ourselves by our first names. Feel free to let us know if this is your first meeting with this group or if this is your first Al-Anon meeting.

This meeting is an open meeting, everyone is welcome to attend. The group conscience requests that members of other programs keep the sharing focused on the Al-Anon program.

When we are a larger group than normal, we request that members limit their sharing so all may share their experience, strength and hope. Sharing will continue until an hour from the time the meeting started at which time we will:

[A) ask for any "burning desires", for those who need to share but haven’t had the chance to. This will end after 5 to 10 minutes when we will begin to close the meeting. 

OR on the last Thursday of the month

B) close the meeting, followed immediately by our monthly business meeting.]

During the meeting we do not "crosstalk". That is, we do not respond directly to another person by commenting on what he or she said or by giving advice. So during the meeting we speak only about our own experiences and we do not judge others, we accept what they say because it is true for them.

[If newcomers are present] For the newcomers, would someone who has been in Al-Anon for a while share what brought you into the program and why you keep coming?

We will now continue with the scheduled format of the meeting:

[1st Thursday : Literature Discussion

2nd Thursday : Step Study Meeting

3rd Thursday : Slogans / Concepts Meeting

4th Thursday : Traditions Meeting

5th Thursday : Speaker Meeting]

Since this is the __________________ Thursday of the month, tonight will be a

_______________ [Introduce topic or speaker. Sharing begins.]

[After Sharing ends.


Are there any 'burning desires'?


OR on last Thursday of the month


We will now begin to close the meeting.]

We have no dues or fees, and we have no expenses as a group. We may donate individually to the Online Al-Anon Information Service or the Al-Anon World Service office to support their work. If this is your first meeting we ask that you please be our guest.

For the newcomer, we suggest attending at least six Al-Anon meetings to decide if this program is for you.

Sponsorship is also recommended. Generally, a member asks another member to be a sponsor if he or she exhibits the kind of recovery the new member aspires to.

If this is your first Al-Anon meeting please remain after the meeting if you have any questions about Al-Anon or the meeting format. And if you would like to talk more with other members, please feel free to do so.

Are there any Al-Anon related announcements?

[Suggested Al-Anon / Alateen Closing]

In closing, I would like to say that the opinions expressed here were strictly those of the person who gave them. Take what you liked and leave the rest.

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 let 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 in the closing 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.