Are You Ready? – “Newcomer Preparedness Checklist”

The holiday season can be a challenging time for families and friends of alcoholics, and even more so for those who have not yet found Al-Anon. Putting a plan in place to welcome newcomers throughout the season will help both newcomers and members alike.

Here are a few things to keep in mind for your “Newcomer Preparedness Checklist”:

  • Specific meeting location instructions:
    • Is there a special door to gain access to the building?
    • Is there a sign pointing to the right room for the meeting?
    • Are parking instructions needed?
    • Are special instructions needed for late arrivals, e.g., “After 7:00 pm, ring buzzer by door.”
    • Are instructions clear enough for out-of-town visitors not familiar with your community?
  • First contact: Is there a volunteer from the group to be a “greeter” for those attending your Al‑Anon/Alateen meeting for the first time?
  • Al-Anon Newcomer Packets: Is there an ample supply?
  • Al-Anon/Alateen pamphlets and books: Is it time to reorder? Check supplies.
  • Public outreach materials: Always a good idea to have a few Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism magazines on hand.
  • Meeting schedule: Is it updated? Are there enough copies available?
  • Most importantly, please make sure that your meeting information is up to date, not just on the local meeting schedule, but on the AIS, Area and WSO websites as well. When newcomers, looking for help, call or search online for meeting information, they will know where and when to find your group. We want everyone to feel welcome in our Al‑Anon and Alateen meetings!
2018-10-19T17:32:25+00:00October 19, 2018|Categories: Announcements|


  1. Greg E. November 2018 at 12:10 am

    This is great especially for the regular meetings. Our groups take turns chairing specific newcomer meetings, and this is good for them as well. We have a coordinator, and she is excellent at making sure everything we need is in the cabinet at the meeting place. Thanks for this reminder! As Secretary of one group, I make sure we have enough of everything in our supplies. We get a lot of newcomers.

  2. WSO October 2018 at 3:16 pm

    The same article was published in En Contacto, the Spanish version of In the Loop

  3. Nicki W. October 2018 at 3:20 pm

    I’m always encouraged just to be included in this type of information at 6 months I’m still somewhat of a newcomer myself and it feels wonderful to be included in my home groups sharings. Thank you Mary for all that you do for Al-Anon.

  4. Jane P. October 2018 at 12:31 pm

    Always good to think about things from someone else’s perspective.

  5. Laura H. October 2018 at 11:18 am

    Great Reminder!! Thank you for this list. I will make several copies and hand them out at my meetings.

  6. Anonymous October 2018 at 11:15 am

    Very interesting,I’m so proud to say our group is well up to date on all suggestions

  7. Mary Ann October 2018 at 10:56 am

    This is excellent information. I will make sure our group has all of this. Thanks

  8. Lana N. October 2018 at 10:41 am

    I love it! Such a great reminder, which I always need just incase I get too caught up in something that isn’t mine to begin with. Wonderful idea, thank you.

  9. Terri M. October 2018 at 8:59 am

    Thanks for the suggestion and this website that I can translate them to pass to Hispanic members.

  10. Kathy K. October 2018 at 8:06 am

    Great reminder. Thank you

  11. Eric N. October 2018 at 7:36 am

    Our meeting room is sometimes unavailable at Christmas because the church is holding a Christmas pageant. This presents an additional challenge for someone trying to find us because we move to a different church on that day and leave a note on our regular meeting’s door.

  12. Nora G. October 2018 at 11:40 pm

    Good suggestions

    If you made this a downloadable file it would help me as it would simplify the task of taking it to our groups. I can copy paste it into a document.

    Perhaps next time a newcomer comes I can list ideas from the readings we have on newcomers.

    One item I would add is to remind to give and get phone # and to ask if they minded a call. People are often shy about calling. Lastly to ask where they heard of Al-Anon and write it in the meeting book.

    I’ve been thinking about printing a short phone list with some blank lines on our newcomers pkgs.

  13. Adam B October 2018 at 8:33 pm

    Thank you. I will announce this at my home group tomorrow morning.

  14. Cindy H. October 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Thank you for the reminder. Sending this to all our groups.

  15. Dennis M. October 2018 at 8:03 pm

    Will put out the WORD in my Al-Anon/Al-Anon Adult Children Ann Arbor groups.

  16. Joyce T. October 2018 at 5:40 pm

    It’s always good to have a reminder of the important items to have for the newcomer. It’s also important to make them feel very welcomed and to come up after the meeting to encourage them even further to keep coming back. The holidays are a particularly hard time for those with addiction in their homes.

  17. Anonymous October 2018 at 4:53 pm

    Every group should have a greeter…

  18. Robin L J. October 2018 at 4:27 pm

    Also a good reminder for those of us who live in states to which “snowbirds” flock at this time of year. We want to be ready for the newcomers, and the other fellowship members who may be retiring to the warm climates. Thanks for all the work you do! Love this fellowship!

  19. Sharon M. October 2018 at 3:59 pm

    Awesome plan! will use this for our group. Thank you

  20. Katy P. October 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Excellent reminders!

  21. Karen W. October 2018 at 2:59 pm

    Lovely reminder at this time of year.

  22. Anne D. October 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Thanks…got me thinking of what we need to do…especially have materials on hand…best to order early. Will suggest service position of ‘greeter’ and see if it flies.

  23. Cassie B. October 2018 at 1:58 pm

    Great reminder, thank you!

  24. Nancy-Jo Z. October 2018 at 1:55 pm

    Newcomers are the future of the Al-Anon program! During the holiday season, this is a very good reminder of service work for the program. We all need to do our part and reach out to the newcomers/beginners. I certainly remember when I walked into my first Al-Anon meeting and felt so welcomed. This is just a suggestion to reach out to others. Thank you.

  25. Sharon Clay R. October 2018 at 12:59 pm

    Great ideas as our meeting just changed location…Is there a way to PRINT this our easily??

  26. Terri M October 2018 at 12:52 pm

    Do you have this in Spanish???

  27. Theresa October 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Great reminders!

  28. Anjana D. October 2018 at 12:49 pm

    Very much encouraging and informative. Thanks

  29. John M. October 2018 at 12:36 pm

    I appreciate this checklist and will announce it at my home group. I would add when greeting newcomers, be sure they feel the love and warmth of the fellowship. All I remember about my first meeting was how you made me feel – welcomed and safe.

  30. Anonymous October 2018 at 12:10 pm

    Thank you for these suggestions

  31. Joan M. October 2018 at 12:00 pm

    This brings us back to basics & what I was used to when I came in. Groups have become lax so my hopes is that this is a great reminder to be discussed at business mtg.

  32. Alicia October 2018 at 12:00 pm

    These are such good suggestions for the holidays and any time of year.

  33. Kathy C. October 2018 at 11:22 am

    Thanks for sharing. Recently moved to Payson, AZ and found meetings for both AA and Al-Anon were not up-to-date online or on the printed schedule. Was able to get Al-Anon updated online after some resistance regarding making a decision on who would be the contact person and the current one was on vacation. There have been problems with the people with the key showing up too. We sat outside one night getting bitten by mosquitos after 4 newcomers showed up and were not up for sitting outside so they left. Two people had a key and neither one showed up or communicated with the other. Think we have that resolved now too. It is of the uptmost importance to be there for the newcomer. It would have been really difficult as a newcomer trying to navigate all that. I think it is important to discuss this. Thank you for the email.

  34. Peggy W. October 2018 at 11:01 am

    Great reminder for local meetings and members.

    Thank you for keeping me in the loop.

  35. Margaret-Mary L. October 2018 at 10:48 am

    Thank you for the wonderful reminders! And, thank you for your service.

  36. Sue October 2018 at 10:46 am

    Love these reminders… thank you. I suggested all of the above to a group I attended when I had difficulty finding the door. Big church, entire street in fact. Then, the door had a code!!! So, no sign, no arrow, code on door!!!

    I return frequently though not my regular group. I started to take a sign with me in and out of my van!!! Included my phone # as well. I doubt that many would have persevered with the search, but I’m an old timer and I wasn’t going to stop looking. Suggestions???

  37. Debbie October 2018 at 10:42 am

    Great suggestions

  38. Brenda R. October 2018 at 10:36 am

    Great suggestions 😊

  39. Diane G. October 2018 at 10:33 am

    On the ball, y’all!

  40. Franni N. October 2018 at 10:33 am

    Thank you, Franni with Carlsbad Al-Anon Family Group, New Mexico

  41. Lyn D. October 2018 at 10:25 am

    Wednesday Morning AFG, Dalton, Ga. makes the newcomer the focus of the meeting for the first few minutes, hoping to ease his/her fears. We have a lot of referrals from our local Drug Court.

  42. Maggie R. October 2018 at 10:22 am

    It is crucial to have on site specific directions to your meeting place, especially if you meet in a separate place behind a church, in a specific room or on a certain floor of a building. Coming to your first meeting is intimidating and if one cannot find us they may just decide to go home. We don’t want that to happen.

  43. Robert C. October 2018 at 10:05 am

    Thanks for the reminder

  44. Anna P. October 2018 at 9:58 am

    We do all of this but for some reason do not get very many newcomers. Frequently, they don’t stick around.

  45. Bernie M. October 2018 at 9:54 am

    Very useful reminders. Thanks.

  46. Emily M. October 2018 at 9:41 am

    In 2015 I tried to start a group in Presque Isle Maine at the Congregational Church but it fizzled and that was my group connection to WSO Al-Anon. I have moved south to S. Portland Maine, still consider myself an Al-Anon member at my senior age, but have not found a group that I can attend for I have transportation needs. I don’t believe I will ever out-age my needs for this wonderful program.

  47. Linda G. October 2018 at 9:40 am

    Great reminders! Thanks!

  48. Louise U. October 2018 at 9:35 am

    Awesome, thanks for sharing this list.

  49. Mariellyn October 2018 at 9:26 am

    Good time of the year to have the reminder. We may even offer a 6 week Beginner meeting for our district.

  50. Padmani C. October 2018 at 10:47 am

    Awesome suggestion, will encourage this in my Area thank you

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