In late September–early October of last year, for the first time since before the COVID-19 pandemic began, a group of six Volunteers and Staff traveled to Europe to meet with General Service Offices (GSOs) and emerging structures there. Upon arrival in London, England, they split into two teams of three: Team North and Team East (stay tuned for Part 2: Team East).

Team North met with groups in Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Netherlands before reuniting with Team East in Versailles, France, for a meeting with the France GSO. Both teams then returned to London to attend the 2022 International Al‑Anon General Services Meeting (IAGSM) held October 12–15, 2022.

A few highlights for Team North included finding that, like Al‑Anon service arms in the United States, Canada, and Bermuda, these structures are navigating the changing technological landscape, seeking to fill service positions, and striving to ensure safety and support for Alateen groups, among other issues. They face many challenges, including translating Al‑Anon literature and, for some, serving in climates of instability and hardship. But the family disease of alcoholism is the same everywhere, and Team North felt privileged to listen and connect, build relationships, share experience, and offer ongoing support to these northern European structures as they carry the Al‑Anon message of hope and encouragement in their respective countries. The trip fostered greater unity among all who participated and proved once again that Al‑Anon is truly a global fellowship.

By Jennifer U., Associate Director–International

In The Loop, January 2023