Westchester Putnam AIS now accepts online donations!

Frequently Asked Questions About Al-Anon Meetings

Almost all of us had questions before coming to our first Al-Anon meeting, but we all took that small step to recovery and decided to come. Many of us still come back years later because the Al-Anon meetings help us heal and offer hope. Please read the questions below to understand what happens at a meeting. Please feel free to email us if you have any additional questions. Perhaps we can help you decide if Al-Anon is for you.


  • Who are the group members?
  • What is a “closed” meeting?
  • Which Meetings can I go to? Do I have to go to beginner’s Meetings?
  • Do I have to register? How do I join?
  • Where are the meetings held?
  • Do I have to say anything?
  • What is discussed at a meeting?
  • How will a meeting help me and my family?
  • Will anyone say I’ve been at the meeting?
Who are the group members?

Al-Anon has thousands of members from every walk of life. No matter what your relationship to the alcoholic, you will find someone else in a similar situation. We all have husbands, wives, mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, sons, daughters, and close friends who are alcoholics. We all share a common bond: to heal from the affects of another person’s drinking.

What is a “closed” meeting?
All meetings on our meeting list are “closed” unless indicated otherwise.  That means that members of the media, professionals, students and other observers are not permitted.  All meetings are open to anyone who has a problem of alcoholism in a friend or family member.

Which Meetings can I go to?  Do I have to go to beginner’s Meetings?

Any member of Al-Anon may attend any meeting on the schedule, regardless of listed special focus.  Beginner meetings tend to focus on the first three steps of the program, which many newcomers find helpful.  However, you are free to go to any meeting that fits into your schedule.

Do I have to register?  How do I join?

There is no registration in Al-Anon.  You simply show up at a meeting you want to attend.  Your participation in the meeting is completely voluntary.  While some groups share a phone list, to help members stay connected between meetings, you are not required to sign up on that list or any other.  We are an anonymous fellowship.

Where are the meetings held?

Meetings are held at local schools, churches and hospitals. Meetings, however, have no affiliation  with the institution where the meeting is held.  You may attend any meeting, regardless of the institution where the meeting itself is actually held.

Do I need to say anything?

Talking at a meeting is your choice. You do not have to speak, but many newcomers have found it helpful to finally share with others what was going on and how someone else’s drinking is affecting them. You are sharing in a safe place where your anonymity and privacy will be respected. You talk only when you feel ready to share. Sometimes newcomers like to talk privately with one or two Al-Anon members before or after a meeting. Whatever you feel comfortable with is ok by us.

What is discussed at a meeting?

In general, there is a different topic discussed each week at a meeting. Topics help us: get in touch with our feelings, detach from the alcoholic, stop feeling like we’re always the victim, set boundaries with others, identify abuse, get rid of our anger and deal with our resentments. Topics also help us: have healthy relationships with others, raise our self-esteem, face our fears, and deal with our anxiety and depression.

How will a meeting help me and my family?

As individuals go around the room sharing on topics and their own situations, you may hear a little bit about yourself in their stories. While you may not identify with everything, in general you will hear others talk about what you may be feeling. Listening to someone else has helped many of us learn about ourselves. Please attend at least 6 meetings so you can decide if Al-Anon is for you. It’s important to find somewhere that you feel comfortable, so we also suggest that you attend different meetings because each meeting has its own style and personality.

Will anyone say I’ve been at the meeting?

We place a high importance on anonymity at all our meetings because this makes our meetings a safe place to share. We only go by first names. No one needs to know that you are attending meetings, unless you choose to tell them. What is said in the rooms, what you hear in the rooms, whom you see in the rooms, stays in the rooms. This is one way we protect our anonymity.

This link will take you to the Al-Anon WSO (World Service Organization for more information: https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/