Alateen – For Children and Teens Affected by Someone Else's Drinking
Alateen is a part of the Al-Anon fellowship. Alateen is a program for children and teenagers affected by someone else’s drinking. Alateen meetings have two or more sponsors, active Al-Anon members who volunteer their time to be Alateen sponsors. The members meet together, read Alateen literature, and share their experience, strength and hope with one another. The Alateen program of recovery is based on the 12 Steps, just as Al-Anon and AA are. The focus is on solutions, not on the alcoholic. Although we cannot change or control the alcoholic or others, we can detach from the problem while continuing to love them
All Alateen meetings are closed; that means only members and sponsors can attend, no visitors. Who can be a member? Any young person who is bothered by someone else’s drinking, whether parent, sibling, relative, or friend. If the drinking bothers you, Alateen is for you. What ages are appropriate for Alateen? Each group is autonomous in setting the age limits. Most are open to children ages 10 to 18; some groups allow members as young as 8. Call the contact number of the group for more specific information.
What should you expect at your first meeting? A regular group of kids, all different, but brought together by this family disease of alcoholism. Many find they can be themselves for the first time, that they can share and others will truly understand. Many find acceptance for who they really are; there’s no need to pretend to be someone else or hide feelings. But all of these things take time. At our meetings, members take turns sharing; anyone may pass and just choose to listen. It is encouraged for all new members to try at least 6 meetings; if you do not feel comfortable at first, perhaps you can try a different meeting. Just keep coming back.
What if there is no Alateen meeting in your area? Sad to say, there are not enough Alateen meetings for the number of kids who need them. If there is no Alateen meeting, you are welcome at any Al-Anon meeting. Al-Anon members will welcome you and help you begin to recover from the effects of this family disease. Perhaps after you have been in the program for awhile, you could be instrumental in starting an Alateen group! It could happen!