Al-Anon Opening Statement Stresses Improving Family Life

Families Who Live With Alcoholism Are Not Alone

Thoughtful woman at support group in community center

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Al-Anon, the friends and family mutual support group, is an offshoot of Alcoholics Anonymous, and similarly, is a 12-step program for those who experience alcoholism in their home or personal life. The opening or welcome statement is usually read at the start of every meeting as a way to welcome newcomers and remind other group participants why the group exists.

The newcomer is considered the most important person at the meeting. At most Alcoholics Anonymous and Al-Anon meetings, members read from Chapter 5 of the seminal text, Alcoholics Anonymous, also known as the Big Book. The chapter is entitled "How it Works" and includes the 12 steps of the program.

The initial welcome to Al-Anon stresses fellowship, support, understanding, and the importance of confidentiality.

The Al-Anon Welcome

Below is the opening or welcome statement usually read by the chairperson at most Al-Anon Family Group meetings. It describes to newcomers what they can expect to achieve from the program and from attending meetings.

"We welcome you to the 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 suggested Twelve Steps (adapted from Alcoholics Anonymous), which we try, little by little, one day at a time, to apply to our lives along, 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."

Preamble to the Twelve Steps

Al-Anon defines itself as an independent fellowship with the purpose of helping relatives and friends of people who have alcohol problems. The following preamble to the Twelve Steps provides a general description:

"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 in 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."

Al-Anon meetings can help family members feel less alone, find a supportive community of people who have similar experiences, and gain new skills for coping with a family member's alcoholism.

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  2. Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. Al-Anon/Alateen service manual 2018-2021.