I volunteered to be an Alateen Group Sponsor when a high school guidance counselor contacted Al‑Anon. The counselor knew about Alateen and had five students to refer to an Alateen group, which then formed very quickly out of necessity. The Alateens were all beginners. I was new both to Alateen service and to feeling feelings I hadn’t felt since childhood or my teen years as I listened to the teens share at meetings.
I made numerous announcements within Al‑Anon and A.A., placed ads in the local news‑paper, and participated in a radio interview. Yet, no new teens came to the group. The outcome was that the group closed because its five members graduated from high school and it was without new members. Perhaps Al‑Anon’s best kept secret is that there is help and hope for our children in Alateen.
The Alateen group I sponsored left an imprint on my heart. Later, my career at the World Service Office (WSO) began as the Alateen Assistant. Today, I respond to inquiries from mental health professionals and communicate with national nonprofit and governmental organizations that provide services to teens. My assignments often include collaboration with the Group Services/Alateen Staff, and I am also a certified Al‑Anon Member Involved in Alateen Service. However, the WSO’s outreach efforts are national in scope. Real recovery for teens happens at local Alateen meetings.
I think the best way for Al‑Anon members to support Alateen is by encouraging the teens in their families to attend Alateen. Public “inreach” within Al‑Anon is just as important as Public Outreach in our communities to help Alateen continue to exist and thrive. I am grateful to see the Alateens rushing through the doors of my home group into their weekly meeting. They are receiving the help and hope that I wish I had received at their age.
By Claire R., Associate Director—Public Outreach Professionals
The Forum, November 2019