Shortly after the World Service Conference adopted the initial Alateen Safety and Behavioral Requirements policy, I attended an Area Assembly where I heard about what it took to become a certified Al‑Anon Member Involved in Alateen Service (AMIAS). Before that, I had not understood that there was such a policy and that training was required. Hearing the word “required” sounded so strange to me since I had heard over and over that there are no “musts” in Al-Anon!
Despite all that, I knew AMIAS certification was a service opportunity for me. After all, I had suggested Alateen participation to my children, which they accepted after I bribed them with food and gifts. I am so grateful to the Alateen Group Sponsors who supported their own groups as well as Alateen meetings at Area conventions and Alateen conferences. My sons are much better men as a result.
During the training, I soon realized that serving Alateen meant sharing my Al‑Anon program with teens. I didn’t need to “teach” them. I didn’t need to patronize them by telling them how lucky they were to be in Alateen or that I thought they were being given a big boost by their participation. This was all far from the truth. I simply had to recognize that we are all affected by alcoholism and that we need help to cope. Being younger is no guarantee of recovering better or being less affected by the behavior of others. What I learned from the Alateens is that I can be adaptable, forgiving, and kind, regardless of the situation. Imagine that!
For me, serving Alateen is just as important as being a member of a home group and having or being an Al‑Anon Sponsor. I willingly share this gift of recovery with all who ask for it. Furthermore, I am responsible for understanding the current policy for Alateen and the Area Alateen Safety and Behavioral Requirements in place to ensure safety for the teens who attend.
When was the last time your group discussed supporting Alateen? Is there a room available for an Alateen meeting in the place where your Al‑Anon group meets? Are Al‑Anon members in your group willing to become certified to support an Alateen group? Teens and younger people affected by someone else’s drinking need help and support. I encourage you to use your local links of service to ask what needs to be done to serve Alateen. The kids cannot do it alone. Alateen is Al‑Anon! “Together We Can Make It!”
By Sue P., Associate Director–Group Services
The Forum, February 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.