When I went to Alateen the first time, I was anxious and afraid. What if I say the wrong thing? What if they don’t like me? What if they think I have it easy? What if I freeze up while talking? When I walked in, though, I was greeted with wide open arms by caring people. By my third meeting it felt like I had found a second family. I had a place I felt welcome and truly heard for the first time.

Last night at our Al‑Anon/Alateen Convention, I had a minor PTSD attack. It mixed with my anxiety and caused me to have a tic attack. I was scared and embarrassed. So I went to my Al‑Anon Member Involved in Alateen Service (AMIAS). He grabbed an AMIAS from another group, and we went outside to talk. They helped me calm down and stop the tics. They didn’t judge me; they just wanted to help. That doesn’t happen often at home—especially the not judging part. Having them there to help made me so happy.

Today, I’m communicating what I need when the need arises and sharing how I’m feeling. I know that here in Alateen I’m not just listened to, I’m heard. It is one of the best things to happen to me in life. Not only are the Group Sponsors amazing, but so are the teens. It’s always been hard for me to make friends, but in Alateen, I’ve made amazing ones. They are amazing people with such big hearts. I haven’t even been in Alateen that long, but I want to be able to help other people the same way these amazing people have helped me. I want to get more active and be the same kind of person that my friends were to me when I first started. Alateen has been a godsend for me.

By Emily

The Forum, July 2023

Feel free to reprint this article on your service arm website or newsletter, along with this credit line: Reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.