Updated on February 6, 2024
6 min read

Alateen: Everything You Need to Know

What is Alateen?

Alateen is a support group for young people whose lives have been impacted by a loved one's struggle with alcohol use disorder (AUD). It’s part of the Al-Anon family group of 12-step programs. 

Al-Anon members sponsor Alateen groups to help the group stay on track. It’s free to attend and open to young people regardless if the loved one is still part of their life.

What is the Purpose of Alateen?

Alateen brings young people together to serve several purposes, including:

  • Share life experiences with AUD
  • Understand that AUD is a family disease that affects everyone in the drinker’s circle
  • Provide strength and hope to one another
  • Discuss the challenges of loving someone with AUD
  • Learn effective coping skills
  • Offer encouragement to one another
  • Help other members understand the principles of Alateen’s twelve traditions and twelve steps
  • Learn about the principles of the Al-anon program and see how they apply to teens and young people
  • Gain access to Alateen literature and other intellectual resources that are available for self-study
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7 Benefits of Alateen Meetings

There are several benefits associated with attending Alateen meetings. These include:

1. Support

Though an Al-Anon meeting is open to people of all ages, teens are encouraged to attend Alateen meetings. Peer support is more effective in these situations. 

Some teens feel embarrassed or ashamed of their loved one’s AUD. However, Alateen is a safe space, making it the perfect venue to share: 

  • Concerns
  • Issues
  • Emotional challenges
  • Stories

2. Guidance with Relationships

In most cases, relationships that involve AUD are hurtful and/or neglectful. This isn’t intentional, but that doesn’t make it any less of a reality.

Attending Alateen gives you the tools and resources to cope with negative feelings. You’ll also learn how to deal with mistreatment from your loved ones. 

You’ll be able to voice out your feelings and understand nuances regarding AUD. This includes reassurance that your feelings are normal and that there is no reason to feel wrong about being angry or resentful.

3. Hope

Although each story is different, there is a common thread among Alateen attendees. All of you have someone in your life with an alcohol problem.

Knowing you’re not alone in dealing with AUD can help build hope. You can feel better about the future when you know some people have successfully managed their struggles with AUD. 

4. Anonymity

Maintaining anonymity is one of the most important principles of Alateen. This ensures everyone can share their stories openly and honestly without worrying about discussions outside of meetings.

Meetings take place in secure and private spaces. Attendees are only allowed to use their first names.

5. Helping Others

Alateen not only helps young people cope with their situation, but it also allows them to be there to support others. Sharing what you’ve learned and supporting others can help them heal.

6. Releasing Guilt, Fault, and Blame

Attending Alateen can help you understand that you’re not to blame for your loved one’s AUD. You’re not responsible for their behavior and alcohol abuse.

In Alateen, you’ll understand that feeling guilty is normal. You’ll also learn practical ways to deal with negative emotions attached to the situation.

7. Control

Life can feel entirely out of control when someone you care about struggles with AUD. However, Alateen can help empower you with coping skills and resources that can guide you through your loved one’s recovery.

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Who Can Attend Alateen Meetings?

Like other 12-step programs, Alateen offers both open and closed meetings. Open meetings are for any young person to attend. Closed meetings are exclusive for Alateen members and young people affected by a loved one’s alcohol use.

Attendance at an Alateen meeting is appropriate for anyone who: 

  • Is affected by someone with AUD, whether a family member, friend, or any other relation
  • Is affected by someone who struggles with AUD and other substance abuse issues, though meeting discussion focuses on the use of alcohol
  • Is unsure if a drinker’s problems have affected them and aren’t sure if Alateen is appropriate for them 

The only adults who attend Alateen meetings are the one or two Alateen group sponsors who are there to provide meeting guidance.

How to Find an Alateen Meeting

Several Alateen meetings are held within an area at different locations and times. You can check the availability of a meeting on their website.

If there are no available Alateen meetings in your area, you can join an Al-Anon meeting. Alternatively, you can join an online meeting. Teenagers between 13 to 18 can register to attend the Alateen Chat meetings.

Each meeting has different people attending them. If you’re uncomfortable with one group, you’re encouraged to participate in a different group meeting. 

How Long Does An Alateen Meeting Last?

On average, Alateen meetings last about an hour. However, the length of each meeting can vary depending on your group.

Some groups tend to run shorter meetings, while others prefer longer ones. It’s best to find a meeting that suits your schedule.

If you’re busy, you should at least attend a portion of the meeting. Attending and missing parts of the meeting is better than not going at all.

Does Alateen Have Attendance Rules?

Like Al-Anon, Alateen has no strict attendance rules. You can attend any time as long as you are considerate toward other members. If you’re concerned about time or cannot participate in an in-person meeting, you can attend an online Alateen chat meeting.

What is the Difference between AA, Al-Anon, and Alateen?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is for people with AUD who want to stop drinking. Al-Anon is for those who care about someone with AUD or a problem with compulsive drinking. 

Alateen is similar to Al-Anon but for teens and young people. Both Al-Anon and Alateen offer support and resources for anyone who has someone in their life with a drinking problem.

All three groups come together to discuss their challenges with AUD while also providing support and guidance. They allow you to speak to people who share a common struggle. You can learn more about Al-Anon and its similarities to Alateen at al-anon.org.

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Alateen's Twelve Traditions

Alateen follows twelve traditions to guide you through your loved one’s recovery. The unity of the group depends on how you follow these traditions.

These traditions typically involve finding purpose, supporting each other, and maintaining anonymity. Overall the goal of these traditions involves:

  • Building trust and confidence
  • Providing skills and techniques to maintain sobriety
  • Providing support and encouragement
  • Finding purpose and motivation in a higher power

You can read the twelve traditions on the Alateen website here.

Summary

Alateen is a support group for young people dealing with a loved one’s AUD. It has open and closed meetings that you can attend freely. 

Alateen follows 12 traditions to help attendees manage and cope with their loved one’s addiction. These core principles are fundamental to the group’s unity and success.

As a support group, Alateen gives you all the necessary skills and resources to manage negative feelings. By joining meetings, you’ll be able to understand the nuances of your feelings regarding AUD.

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Updated on February 6, 2024

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