An Online Al-Anon Email Meeting
Al-Anon Family Group members are a diverse group of people who come together to share a common problem: dealing with the effects of the alcoholism of a friend or family member in their lives.
In having a "safe" place to share our problems, we learn solutions from the experience of others who have found recovery and serenity from the very things that at times seem hopeless to us.
In Al-Anon, we meet as equals, sharing the common bond of loving an alcoholic, whether we still live with the alcoholic or not, whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not. The ONLY requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a family member or friend.
Our members do not give advice. We are not "professionals" but rather people who share our experiences in dealing with the effects of anther's alcoholism in our lives, and the ways we found our own recovery.
This is the strength and hope we pass on to others. Each member is free to accept or reject the suggestions of others. In Al-Anon, we are encouraged to listen and find our own solutions, at our own pace and level of comfort.
At their first meetings, new members will hear words like "Steps", "sponsors" "CAL" "slogans"...... These are all the "tools" of our recovery - the things that guide us towards a new way of thinking and dealing with how the alcoholism of another has affected us.
Our "Steps" are the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, which Al-Anon adopted (almost word for word) in 1951. A "sponsor" is a long time member who we ask to guide us in learning how to apply the principles of Al-Anon to our lives.
"CAL" is the acronym for "Conference Approved Literature" - the books and pamphlets written by and for our members, and contains our Al-Anon philosophies. Slogans are the phrases and "catch words" we use to remind us of a principle or philosophy we can "simply" apply to our daily lives or our particular situation.
Many new members are frightened to attend meetings, fearing that they will see someone they know or recognize. In Al-Anon we stress the importance of "anonymity". Our members are known only to each other, and we ask that what is shared in our rooms stays in our rooms. Only in this way can we feel safe in coming out of the isolation and secrecy that has dominated many of our lives.
From the very first meeting, many of us have known a great sense of relief in finding out that those sitting among us in our meetings understand us without even knowing us because of our similar experiences, and that we are no longer alone in our struggles.
In Al-Anon, we meet as equals, no single member has more importance than another. Our group structure is made up of members and "Trusted Servants." Our Trusted Servants are those members who are practicing "service" by being involved in the structure of Al-Anon as a whole.
They are members who carry the message in their leadership, but they do not "govern" the groups or its members. In Al-Anon there is no hierarchy, no one member has final say over another member.
Some of the "Trusted Servants" at the group level are the "GR" (Group Representative), Secretary, Treasurer, and Program Chair. We rotate these positions on a 6 month, 1 year, and 3 year basis, thus assuring that each member has an opportunity to participate, and no one member dominates our group.
These positions all insure the smooth running of our groups and the adherence to the Al-Anon philosophy, thus assuring us that our meeting will be there for us week after week, and that we stay in touch with our World Service Office (WSO) - the "headquarters" of Al-Anon worldwide. With this structure, Al-Anon offers support to its fellowship, along with unified information to all members.
Although each group may make small changes to its format, with this "structure" we can be assured that any meeting we attend, anywhere in the world, is basically the same - Al-Anon pure and simple.