Professionals li2023-07-06T09:32:28-04:00
Al-Anon on Linked-In banner


Counselors, therapists, social workers, among others are likely to be among the first to diagnose a mental health disorder in relatives and friends of alcoholics seeking help for depression, anxiety, PTSD, or other stress-related symptoms. Often, clients, consumers and patients do not realize that their relationship to an alcoholic could be a factor in their problems. Misuse of alcohol can also affect the drinker’s family and friends physically, mentally and emotionally.

Al-Anon Family Groups’ World Service Office conducts a membership survey every three years. Members have indicated that their participation in Al-Anon/Alateen programs have positively affected their lives. As family members recover from the effects of the family disease of alcoholism, it may aid the recovery process for the entire family.

Currently the 2021 Membership Survey results are available.

Professional Testimonials

“I think there can be some clear benefits to the drinker of an Al-Anon member participating in Al-AnonIf they’re in a place where they’re comfortable, they can play a big role in the drinker’s recovery process.”

Dr. Robert Huebner

Like Alcoholics Anonymous, Al-Anon provides a safe place for one to receive strength and hope through others’ experiences. This complements my focus on each individual’s responsibility of self-care.

Diane M. Warshofsky, MACC, LMFT, LPCA, Marriage and Family Therapist

“I suggest Al-Anon as a potential resource for a client or family member. I do this because I cannot be a peer with either my client or their family. With the support Al-Anon offers, my client can have daily encouragement on a peer level.”

Valerie Montgomery, BSW, MA, NCC, LPC

“Al-Anon challenges [family members] to see what role they have been playing in the life of the alcoholic. This new understanding changes the dynamics of the relationship that the family members have with themselves and their loved one.”

Jennifer Kent-Charpentier, Program Manager, Fresh Start Recovery Centre

“Healthcare professionals should seriously consider referring parents of underage drinkers to AlAnon where they will be connected to a network of caring and knowledgeable individuals who can mentor and support them.”

Patricia O’Gorman, Psychologist

For someone with the problem of addiction in a loved one, there is a far better chance of finding that helpful message in an Al-Anon meeting than any place else on earth. It typically takes six sessions to understand the wisdom in the principles of Al-Anon, beyond the personalities of those who are speaking. Most people, after experiencing six meetings, will clear their schedule to attend more.

Nancy Duff-Boehm, Ph.D, Clinical Psychologist, Boehm and Associates

For some family members, being in recovery has initiated changes that dramatically changed the role they were playing in perpetuating the disease of alcoholism for their loved one, thus creating motivation for the alcoholic to recover.”

Ed Hughes, MPS, LICDC

Alcoholism is as harmful to the family’s well‑being as any drug addiction

Although opioid and other drug addictions receive more attention than alcohol addiction, all have serious consequences on the family. Addiction professionals familiar with the effects that alcoholism and addiction have on families share why alcoholism is just as detrimental to families as other addictions and how children are specifically affected.

Read more


Al‑Anon cooperates with therapists, counselors, and other professionals, but does not endorse, oppose, or affiliate with any professional, organization, or entity. The opinions expressed here were strictly those of the person who gave them. Their comments reflect their professional expertise and use of Al‑Anon as a resource for their clients and patients who are or have been affected by an individual’s addiction to alcohol.

Frequently Asked Questions by Professionals

Is Al-Anon or Alateen compatible with the professional care and services I offer?2021-08-25T09:21:58-04:00

Yes. Al-Anon/Alateen is a peer support group. As peers, they exchange their respective experiences. The mutual sharing among members helps members to realize that they have a variety of options that they may not have realized they had before attending Al-Anon or Alateen. Al-Anon members do not give direction or prescribe specific solutions for other members.

What is the Al-Anon or Alateen meeting format and what do members talk about at meetings?2021-08-25T09:20:57-04:00

Most  Al-Anon and Alateen groups have a discussion topic at their meetings such as acceptance, overcoming fear, change, one of Al-Anon’s slogans (e.g. One Day at a Time, Easy Does It) or one of the Twelve Steps. Al-Anon and Alateen meetings are facilitated by members, rather than a professional. Each week, a different member chairs the meeting on a different subject.

How will attending Al-Anon or Alateen groups help my patients, clients, consumers, or students?2021-08-25T09:24:30-04:00

Adult and teenagers attending Al-Anon or Alateen meetings respectively are relieved to find that they are not alone.  Even if uncertain that a relative or friend’s drinking is causing them stress and despair, people attending Al-Anon or Alateen meetings will acquire information about alcoholism or alcohol abuse as an illness and its impact on the nondrinker. They will also learn about the importance of family treatment and recovery whether the alcoholic or problem drinker continues to drink or not.  They will usually be able to identify with and meet others who have had similar experiences and hear first-hand how members are utilizing the Al-Anon/Alateen program for hope, support, and to improve their lives.

Is this a religious fellowship?2021-08-25T09:27:36-04:00

Al-Anon Family Groups is a spiritual fellowship, not a religious one. We avoid discussion of specific religious doctrine, and members of all faiths (or of none) are welcome. Our Twelve Steps ask us to find a “Power greater than ourselves” who can help us solve our problems and find serenity. Each member is free to define that power in his or her own way.

Is an appointment needed?2021-08-25T09:27:03-04:00

No advance notification or formal written referral is necessary to attend an Al-Anon or Alateen meeting.  Most Al-Anon groups have a contact who can be called for information about the group, our program in general, or for directions to a meeting.  Many Alateen groups meet at the same time and location as an Al-Anon group. Alateen meetings are open only to teenagers. (Note: Some Alateen meetings also welcome pre-teen aged children)

How much is this going to cost?2021-08-25T09:26:29-04:00

There are no dues or fees in Al-Anon and Alateen meetings. Most groups pass a basket for voluntary contributions. Members are asked to contribute what they can afford, so that the group can pay rent, provide literature, and offer support to local and worldwide service centers.

How do the Al-Anon Family Groups and the Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. support themselves?2021-08-25T09:23:18-04:00

Through the sale of Al-Anon/Alateen literature and voluntary contributions from members, Al-Anon groups, and service arms. The Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc. and the Al-Anon Family Groups do not accept grants or funding from outside sources.

How do I make a referral?2021-08-25T09:23:52-04:00

It is helpful to make your patient, client, consumer, or student aware of Al-Anon or Alateen and our purpose. Many people have never heard of Al-Anon or Alateen.

Although Al-Anon and Alateen groups follow the same meeting format, each group’s meetings are slightly different from each other because attendees and topics of discussion vary each week.

What if there are no Al-Anon or Alateen meetings to refer those in my professional care?2021-08-25T09:25:09-04:00
Where there are no Al-Anon face to face meetings, individuals can be encouraged to participate in electronic or virtual meetings. Information can be found at:
Where there are no Alateen groups, teens are encouraged to participate in Al-Anon meetings. Teens between the ages of 13-18 are also welcome to participate in Alateen Chat Meetings and can register at


Can I open an Al-Anon or Alateen group in my office?2021-08-25T09:25:44-04:00
Professionals may initiate the formation of an Al-Anon group provided that the meetings are then conducted by Al-Anon members.
Alateen groups can be started at the suggestion of a professional, however, Alateen groups require adult Alateen Group Sponsors who are active members of Al-Anon Family Groups. Safety and Behavioral Requirements for Alateen are in place in every state and province with procedures for certification of Al-Anon Members Involved in Alateen Service. The minimum requirements include current active attendance and participation in Al-Anon for at least two years, (in addition to any time spent in Alateen), a minimum of 21 years of age and no felony convictions or child abuse charges. Local areas may have additional requirements.
For more information contact us at (place “Groups” in the subject line) or call Monday – Friday 8 AM to 6 PM at (757) 563-1600.


Why do members continue to attend Al-Anon/Alateen after the drinker is sober?2021-08-25T09:19:36-04:00

Al-Anon is a program of self-discovery and personal growth. Recovery is an on-going process and is not limited to whether or not the alcoholic or problem drinker continues to drink,  is visibility present, or actively involved in a member’s life. The effects of someone else’s drinking are deep and may present challenges that continue throughout life.

Members form new friendships with other members and often can find great personal satisfaction in maintaining their relationships with their Al-Anon friends. Al-Anon and Alateen members also reinforce their own recovery and find great satisfaction is sharing their application of the Al-Anon program with newcomers.

What about problems other than someone else’s drinking?2021-08-25T09:22:36-04:00

In addition to alcohol abuse, newcomers as well as Al-Anon members  may be worried about a relative or friend who has another type of addiction, mental illness, compulsive or problematic behavior. While Al-Anon’s principles are applicable  to many different situations and concerns, the Al-Anon program focuses on helping members recover from the effects of someone else’s drinking. Newcomers as well as Al-Anon/Alateen members are also encouraged  to seek help from other resources for concerns in addition to or other than someone else’s drinking when needed.

Can clients concerned about someone’s drug addiction be referred to Al-Anon/Alateen?2021-08-25T09:28:08-04:00

Al-Anon is a mutual support group program for family members and friends to learn the facts about alcoholism as a “family illness” and how they can recover from the effects of someone else’s drinking.  When clients are concerned about someone’s alcoholism and drug addiction, they are welcome to attend Al-Anon with the understanding that our program focuses on alcoholism.  Al-Anon groups designated as having  “open” meetings welcome anyone interested in learning about our program regardless of their concerns.

Al-Anon’s 2015 Membership Survey reported that 40 percent of the Al-Anon members first came to Al-Anon because of a friend or relative’s drug problem. The survey also showed that 85 percent of these members eventually came to realize that someone’s drinking has also negatively affected their lives.

Professional Articles

A Professional Feels Challenged

Tradition Eight: Al‑Anon Twelfth Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers. One of my best friends committed suicide. As a psychologist by profession, I carried a lot of guilt for not being able to prevent it. The loss hit me hard, but it was not like me to ask for help. I realized that my independence and professional training made it a challenge to open up to others. I was the one who was in control, knew the answers, and helped others. I did not want to be the one opening

CAGE Test Helps Professionals Identify Need for Al-Anon

"In health care settings, there are many people who could potentially benefit from Al‑Anon, but their need is never identified. Health care providers often struggle to find time to screen for patients who have been affected by someone else’s drinking, which conservative estimates show to be at least 20 percent of the population..."

We invite you

We invite you to visit a meeting near you or online. Meetings designated as “Families, Friends, and Observers Welcome” are open to anyone whether effected by someone else’s drinking or not. Your clients can attend any Al-Anon meeting, regardless of designation.

Need more information?

If you would like to be contacted by a local member for more information, or obtain free literature, email

For information about opening an Al-Anon or Alateen group, please email

Go to Top