Welcome Newcomers

The members of Al-Anon and Alateen understand how it feels to come to a meeting for the first time. Since there may be a few things you are wondering about, we would like to share with you some answers to often-asked questions about the Al-Anon Family Groups and what happens at our meetings. Many of us still come back years later because the meetings help us heal and offer hope. Please click on the tab(s) below to find the answers to these questions.

Additional information about Alcoholism and the Al-Anon program can be found in the FAQ page.

Information for the Newcomer to Al-Anon

Who are the members and why are they here?
Members are all kinds of people from all walks of life: wives, husbands, lovers, sisters, brothers, children and parents of alcoholics. No matter what our relationship has been with a problem drinker, we share a common bond: we feel our lives have been deeply affected by another person's drinking. We meet together to share our experience, strength, and hope.
How will it help me?
You will probably hear about a situation much like your own. If you don't find someone with the same set of circumstances, you may still be able to identify with the way many of us feel about the effects of alcoholism on our lives. We are all individuals striving to become the best people we can, each in our own way. That way is not the same for each of us, but there is help for everyone whose problem is alcoholism in others.
How do I find a meeting?
To find a meeting in Nassau County, please visit our "Meeting-List" page for meeting locations and times. You can also call our phone service at (516) 433-8003. For meetings located in other N.Y. areas or Nationwide, please check our Contact-US page for contact information.
Where are the meetings held?
Meetings are held at local schools, churches and hospitals. Meetings are held 7 days a week, both day and night. Meetings offer a safe place where people can come and talk about dealing with the effects of alcoholism in a friend or loved one.
How are meetings set-up?
All meetings start at a specific time; most last about an hour or so; some have no formal closing time. You can come into a meeting or leave anytime you choose. Many members come early to greet newcomers and talk to friends, and stay after the meeting to socialize and answer questions. Newcomers walk away from a meeting with Al-Anon literature, which has lots of useful information about dealing with alcoholism in a relative or close friend, and a list of local meetings, together with a list of phone numbers of members in the group who they can contact between meetings, if they need help.
What is discussed at a meeting?
Meetings are when Al-Anon members meet together, and talk about dealing with the effects of alcoholism in a friend or loved one. At group meetings, we share our experience, strength, and hope with one another, keeping the focus on ourselves and the Al-Anon tools of recovery. There is no requirement to share.
Do I have to say anything?
If you wish to speak, please do. If you would rather sit and listen, that's all right, too. There are no musts in Al-Anon. We try to listen to each other with an open mind. We also say, "Take what you like and leave the rest."
Will anyone say I've been here?
Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of our program. It provides a safe place for members to share. We use first names and last initials. We do not talk about the people we see, or repeat what we hear at meetings. We guard the anonymity of all Al-Anon/ Alateen and A.A. members.
Is this a religious fellowship?
Al-Anon/Alateen is a spiritual fellowship, not a religious one. Members of any faith, or none at all, are welcome and we make it a point to avoid discussion of specific religious beliefs. The Al-Anon program is based on the spiritual idea that we can depend on a "Power greater than ourselves" for help in solving our problems and achieving peace of mind. We are free to define that power in our own terms and in our own way.
Does Al-Anon/Alateen have professional counselors or therapists?
Al-Anon offers a non-professional mutual support program of recovery.
Can Al-Anon/Alateen recommend treatment centers?
Because we are non-professional we do not recommend sources of outside help. Through sharing of our personal experiences, members gain insight into dealing with their own situations.
Who is responsible for the group?
We all are. We elect group officers to serve for short periods of time, perhaps three months to a year. In giving service to Al-Anon, as part of our recovery program, members volunteer to lead meetings, set up the room, display the literature and fill other group needs. At an Institutions and beginners group, experienced members lead the meeting.
Are there other groups like this?
Our group is one of many thousands of Al-Anon and Alateen groups in more than 110 countries around the world. We are tied together through a World Service Office (WSO) in Virginia Beach which acts as a clearinghouse for ideas and service. In the U.S. and Canada, each group belongs to a district and an assembly area. The group representatives meet and elect delegates to the annual World Service Conference. (Refer to Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual P-24/27).
How much is this going to cost?
There are no dues or fees to join an Al-Anon or Alateen group. Most groups do pass a basket at meetings and we put in what we can afford to contribute on a voluntary basis. We use the money to pay the rent for a meeting place, to provide Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature for the group, to buy refreshments, and to support our local and worldwide service centers
Why should I go to Al-Anon?
Alcoholism is a "family disease" and we suffer from the effects of it. Al-Anon is the most widespread group resource for the family today, just as A.A. is for the alcoholic. The family can either start the recovery process -- or help to keep the illness going. They should work toward recovery by changing to more constructive roles in coping with it. The family members or friends of a problem drinker should seek help for themselves in order to recover from their own fears, anxieties, resentments, and other destructive forces that are being fed back into the relationship. This is true whether there is sobriety now or still active alcoholism.
How can Al-Anon help if the drinker refuses help?
The family's best defense against the emotional impact of alcoholism is gaining knowledge and the emotional maturity needed to put that knowledge into effect.


Now what do I do?

We Al-Anon and Alateen members found it helpful to:

If you still have questions, feel free to ask them. We offer you our friendship and our understanding.

Podcast and Video


Take a few minutes to listen to a series of six Al-Anon Family Group podcasts, especially recorded to introduce you to Al-Anon meetings. Click Here to Listen.




Watch a video in which Al-Anon / Alateen members A wife, father, husband, and daughter describe what it is like to love someone who has a drinking problem and how Al-Anon has helped them. Click Here to View.



What brought me to Al-Anon

This is an article written by an Al-Anon member for "The Forum" magazine. In the article the member shares her inner feelings, about her journey of awakenings, that brought her
to Al-Anon. Take a moment to read the atricle, it might inspire you to start on your own journey. Click right here.


Please contact "Al-Anon Information Service of Nassau County" if you still have any questions. General Questions and Inquiries email:

                                                               "Keep an Open Mind"