Having Al-Anon literature in my hands is as important to me today as it was when I was a newcomer. I was in crisis and emotional pain. I took home every Al-Anon pamphlet I saw at meetings to read and reread. It helped me on my lunch breaks, when I couldn’t sleep, or whenever a meeting was unavailable.

My doctor and my marriage counselor both mentioned Al-Anon to me. However, they did not have printed information to give me as a reminder to follow through on their recommendations. So, I remained isolated and miserable in the family disease of alcoholism.

My experiences prior to attending my first Al-Anon meeting do not have to be the reality of families of alcoholics today. Since I had never attended a support group before, I had many misperceptions about our program. I thought the dues were probably too high, and I worried someone would tell my husband what I said. Besides, what good would Al-Anon do for me?

Instead of many pamphlets, the Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism (AFA) magazine gives essential information about our program all in one place. Members’ stories can encourage potential newcomers to start attending meetings. Articles by professionals describe the benefits their clients have received from our program.

Before Al-Anon, I did not know I had choices. Today, I can choose how I want to share the help and hope that Al-Anon has given me. As a member I am able to:

  • Describe in writing how I broke through my resistance and attended Al-Anon meetings, as well as what my experiences were at my first meeting. A downloadable writer’s guide is available at al-anon.org/sharing
  • Invite professionals I know who refer clients to Al-Anon to write an article for AFA using the AFA Writer’s Guide for Professionals at al-anon.org/professionalsafa
  • Order AFA magazines for professionals to provide to their clients who are affected by someone’s drinking

One or more of these choices gives me the opportunity to be an Al-Anon messenger. Participating in the AFA outreach project is one of the greatest gifts I have received from our program. I hope you as well as your group will decide to join other members and groups in our fellowship’s largest member-driven effort to attract newcomers to Al-Anon.

By Claire R., Associate Director—Public Outreach Professionals

The Forum, July 2020