I joined Alateen in Mexico in the 1980s. At the time, the majority of Al‑Anon members were wives of alcoholics. There were also numerous Al‑Anon groups called Young Al‑Anon. The members of these groups were children of alcoholics, mainly young adults and a few older teens. Since the early 1970s, the World Service Office (WSO) began registering these groups, which met a real need for young people who were too old to continue in Alateen, but who still didn’t feel quite comfortable in Al‑Anon groups composed mainly of wives of alcoholics who, in some cases, were triple their ages.
By 1986, after a survey was conducted, the World Service Office asked these groups to change their name from Young Al‑Anon to Al‑Anon adult children. Because these groups were born within Al‑Anon, they adhered to the Traditions and read only Conference Approved Literature (CAL).
Years later when I moved to the United States and started Spanish-language Al‑Anon adult children groups, I learned about the different issues members here and in Canada experienced. Some of the groups were using outside literature—sometimes written by professionals—and were not abiding by the Traditions. Further information can be found in Many Voices, One Journey (B-31).
In 2002 I was elected the Chairperson of a national event for Al‑Anon adult children in Spanish with simultaneous interpretation in English. During the Fall Area Assembly, I went to the microphone to invite everybody to the event, but the person leading the Assembly thought that I was part of an outside organization and tried to take the microphone away from me. But then, the Delegate stood up and asked to hear all the information about the event and everyone realized that we were part of Al‑Anon. The event was a success. The Delegate led a workshop, and the WSO sent us material to include in the registration packets.
During my transition to Al‑Anon, I was so fortunate to have Al‑Anon adult children groups available. They have attracted many former Alateen members who might otherwise have dropped out of the program. Many of us give back to the fellowship by becoming certified Al‑Anon Members Involved in Alateen Service (AMIAS). The 2003 Alateen Motion requires Al‑Anon members to be certified through their local Areas in order to be involved with Alateen. What better way to share the message of hope than through service with Alateens today!
By Sergio Z., Group Services Assistant II—Alateen
The Forum, February 2018