I have been drawn to Alateen service ever since recognizing that my own struggles throughout my teen years were actually the effects of living with the disease of alcoholism. My struggle to claim my independence in the face of obstacles seemed at the time like some cruel joke of nature—obstacles like the inability to earn my own money, drive a car, move into my own home, etc. The strained relationships, the sibling rivalry, the inconsistent—or even nonexistent—rules, which were all so normal for me, turned out not to be so normal for everyone else.
It all made sense when I entered Al‑Anon and began to learn more about the effects of alcoholism on my life. When I started serving Alateen, my heart swelled with gratitude knowing that these young people were getting gifts of the program that would make their days so much more manageable and which they could carry throughout their lives. But there weren’t many teens showing up to meetings, so our links of service set out to find them.
My children attended Alateen and were excited to carry the message to their friends (it was no surprise that most of their friends were also affected by the family disease of alcoholism). They posted announcements on the school walls and wherever else they thought practical. Our Area trusted servants suggested that we “go where the teens are,” since, as in my own experience, driving anywhere was likely an obstacle for them.
Our more successful attempts at attracting teens involved holding meetings at easily accessible recovery clubs and any meeting place that had concurrent Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) and Al‑Anon meetings. Several Guidelines related to Alateen outreach and service offer even more ideas. These compilations of wisdom reflect the experience of trusted servants from all over.
Likewise, Area Alateen Coordinators have access to the Alateen Coordinator community on AFG Connects, a password-protected website where Coordinators share an abundance of service experience. Ideas for activities, celebrations, skits, and workshops can be found in the library feature, along with an extensive history of discussion posts. Recordings of past conference calls (confidential to the community participants) address getting started in Alateen service, rotation of service, and annual Area recertification.
If you are an Area Alateen Coordinator, be sure to access the AFG Connects community to see what’s there and to share your own experience, strength, and hope! And don’t forget to pass these valuable resources along the links of service to Alateen Group Sponsors. Group Sponsors and anyone interested in Alateen outreach and service can contact their Area Alateen Coordinator for more information.
By Christa A., Senior Group Services Specialist
The Forum, September 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.