you bothered by drinking? What
is an Alateen? Questions
IS SOMEONE'S DRINKING BOTHERING YOU? Top
**Alateen Can Help
Here's how to get help for yourself.Try
to find a quiet place and read this (pamphlet) carefully. Then
look up Al-Anon Family Groups or Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in
the telephone book and call to ask where the nearest Al-Anon or
Alateen group meets, or write to Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters,
Inc. They will send you the address of a nearby meeting and some
literature for you to read. Our service is free and confidential,
so please use it. Also, you can email us from this website.
WHAT IS ALATEEN? Top
Alateen is a fellowship of teenage relatives and
friends of alcoholics. Alateen is a part of Al-Anon. All groups
are sponsored by Al-Anon members. Young people meet in over 3500
Alateen groups worldwide to help each other cope with the troubles
brought about by another parson's drinking. Alateen is not for
teenage alcoholics or drug abusers unless their lives have been
affected by someone else's drinking.
Alateen was started in 1957 by a boy in California
whose father, an alcoholic, was sober in AA. His mother was a
member of an Al-Anon Group, so he patterned Alateen after Al-Anon
When we belong to an Alateen group, we go to meetings
where we can discuss our problems; we read Al-Anon pamphlets which
help answer our questions, and we hear how oters have made a new
life for themselves, set their own goals, and helped others in
the group do the same.
In Al-Anon and Alateen we learn that Alcoholism
is a disease. Alchholics have an incurable illness which they
Alcoholics don't want to make their family and
friends suffer. They don't want to get into debt, smash up cars,
land in hospitals or jails. They don't want to forget special
days, abuse their families or embarrass us; however, alcohol affects
people's behavior. Even though they may not admit they drink too
much, they often suffer from guilt, remorse, physical illness,
loneliness and despair.
We begin to understand this when we come to Alateen.
We also discover what we can do to help ourselves, whether the
alcoholic continues to drink or not.
Alcoholism is a worldwide problem. In the United
States and Canada there are more than 20 million alcoholics. Many
have children, brothers and sisters, or good friends who care
about them. So you see, you are not alone in your trouble. That's
why Alateen continues to grow.
- QUESTIONS OFTEN ASKED Top
- **Who is an alcoholic?
- All kinds of people are alcoholics; young and
old, rich and poor, well-educated and ignorant, professional
people and factory workers, housewives and mothers. Only about
three to five percent of alcoholics are "bums" or skid row types.
The rest have families and friends. Many have jobs, and are
functioning fairly well, but their drinking affects some part
of their lives. Their family life, their social life, or their
job may suffer. It might be all three. An alcoholic is someone
whose drinking causes a continuing and growing problem in any
department of his/her life.
- An alcoholic is a compulsive drinker, a victim
of a recognized disease.
- **Why does my father drink too much?
- Many people drink because they like the way
alcohol makes them feel. But, some drinkers have no control.
If your father drinks so much that he gets into trouble, and
his life has become unmanageable, he may be an alcoholic.
- **Why can't my mother stop drinking?
- Because the need to drink is too strong for
her. She may not want to drink. However, her desire for liquor,
wine, or beer is so overpowering that she cannot control it.
It is a drive that is stronger than anything in her life, no
matter how much it makes her and others suffer.
- **Both my parents drink too much. Why don't
they realize they are alcoholic and do something about it?
- Perhaps they do realize there is something wrong
with the way they drink, but are ashamed or not ready to admit
it. Few will. Perhaps they are in denial. This means they cannot
see that there is a problem. Your mother or father may have
tried to overcome their drinking and failed; many alcoholics
give up hope because of this.
- **Is there a cure for this illness?
- Although it is possible to stop drinking, there
is no cure for alcoholism. Like diabetes, alcoholism can be
arrested, but not cured; a single drink can start the drinking
- **Can I get an alcoholic to stop drinking?
- In Alateen and Al-Anon we learn that we did
not cuse the alcoholism; we cannot control it and we cannot
cure it. We call these the "three C's." We can do nothing directly
to get an alcoholic to stop drinking. Persuasion, scolding,
bitter silence and tears put an alcoholic on the defensive and
increase the feeling of guilt, which can lead to more trouble
- **What can I do to help?
- First learn about alchoholism. This will help
you understand the nature of the illness. Read Alateen and Al-Anon
literature. A list of books and pamphlets can be obtained from
the World Service Office. There is more information in the ******Recources******
section of this website. Join an Alateen or Al-Anon group and
attend meetings regularly. Talk to people, listen and learn
how they handled problems like yours. Try to accept the fact
that you cannot live other people's lives for them, no matter
how much you may want to help them.
- Try not to judge anyone. Families of alcoholics
often have a lot of problems. Where alcoholism is involved people
often say things they don't mean. Try to concentrate on your
own behavior and what you learn in Alateen meetings.
- Become aware of your own feelings and behavior.
Everyone who lives with an alcoholic can be affected. Our thinking
becomes distorted and confused. We may resent the drinker and
the conditions drinking creates. In Alateen, we learn to detach
ourselves from negative thoughts, as they are destructive -
to us. Finally, you can help best by getting better yourself.
You can do this by going to Alateen.
- **What if the alcoholic in our family never
- There is hope for every alcoholic, no matter
how bleak things look at the moment. By going to Alateen and
Al-Anon, we learn to take care of ourselves, whether the alcoholic
stops drinking or not. We continue to go to meetings, live one
day at a time, and keep in touch with other Alateen and Al-Anon
members. We come to believe that the only life we are responsible
for or have any control over, is our own. You may need to seek
professional help to provide additional support.
- **What can I say to my friends when they see
one of my parents drunk?
- It is natural to feel angry, ashamed or embarrassed
when this happens. It might help to tell your friends that your
parent has a disease. Once we understand alcoholism, it is easier
to cope with such situations.
- **What can I do if my friends don't want to
- Try not to take their refusal personally. Your
friends may not understand the disease of alcoholism. They may
only feel uncomfortable in your home and not with you. Perhaps
you can join them someplace else. Don't withdraw from them or
group activities. Your positive attitude may be an example to
others with similar problems.
- **How can I believe my parents love me if they
- Love is distorted by the disease of alcoholism.
Alcoholics often hate themselves and they appear to hate everyone
else. They react in irrational ways. Those of us who live in
alcoholic situations may act irrationally as well. Alcoholics
often take out their hostilities on others. When someone is
out of control, it makes sense to avoid them, if possible. It
doesn't make any sense to fight or argue with someone who is
- **What can I do if the situation becomes violent?
- Try to get out of the way. Sometimes it may
be necessary to leave the room or your home temporarily. Contact
someone you trust. It may be someone in Al-Anon/Alateen, a Sponsor,
spiritual advisor, guidance counselor, teacher or the police.
Plan ahead and have the phone number in a safe place where you
can get help.
- **If either of my parents is an alcoholic,
will I be one, too?
- There is not a "yes" or "no" answer to this
question. Experts do not agree on exactly what makes a person
an alcoholic. However, since alcoholism does tend to run in
families, the children of alcoholics are at greater risk. Learning
about alcohol, and its effects, examining how we use alcohol
and what we expect from it, may help us to make a decision about
its place in our lives.
- **If one parent is alcoholic why is my other
parent so unreasonable?
- Alcoholism affects everyone in the family. Your
other parent may feel lonely, frightened, confused or angry
and act nervous, irritable and resentful. Without help, living
with a problem drinker is too much for most of us.
- There may be an effort to win our favor and
support by one parent putting the other parent down.
- There may be verbal and physical abuse of each
- You may be given an unusual number of jobs around
the house as a way to take over the responsibilities for the
- You may hear a lot about personal matters because
you can be trusted because you are the only one there.
- Others may be asked to lecture you, particularly
if you tend to reject suggestions.
- You may feel the nonalcoholic parent doesn't
deserve your respect because he/she appears to be unable to
cope with the situations in your home.
- In Alateen, you can learn to deal with your
resentments toward both of your parents. Others in the family
may be suffering just as deeply as you are; it helps to be patient
and understanding. Perhaps you could encourage them to seek
help in Al-Anon.
- **Will getting help for myself do any good
if the alcoholic refuses to get help?
- Yes! Those who become involved in Alateen and
Al-Anon find many others who share their feelings. With a change
of attitude, members learn to appreciate themselves and others.
Love and respect can become a part of life.
- **Where can an alcoholic find help?
- There are many places where an alcoholic can
find help. The most widely know is Alcoholics Anonymous (AA).
Recovering alcoholics say, "The best chance of success is in
AA, when the alcoholic is ready to ask for and accept help."
- **Where can I get help for myself?
- You can get help by attending Alateen and Al-Anon
meetings. If you have trouble locating groups write to Al-Anon
Family Group Headquarters, Inc. For those without a meeting
to attend, there is a Lone Member Service where you can write
to Alateen and Al-Anon members. It's similar to having a pen
pal. There are also many online internet resources available.
- HOW YOU CAN HELP YOURSELF Top
- There is no secret to how Alateen and Al-Anon
works. We learn to change our way of thinking. It isn't
easy, but it helps us to feel a lot better about ourselves and
- The following slogans help us:
- **Easy Does It
- Say it to yourself over and over again, especially
when you're angry or upset about something. Think about it when
you're in a hurry to do something and everything seems to go
wrong. Easy Does It. Slow down a little; think before
your speak or act. You'll be surprised at how much one slogan
can do for you.
- **First Things First
- Whenever you find yourself getting rattled and
confused, and you don't know which way to turn, stop and think:
"What do I do first? What's most important? What will be best
for me?" This slogan helps you to prioritize events in your
life. No matter how many problems you have, you can only handle
one at a time. Concentrate on each one in turn. You'll get a
lot more done that way.
- **Let Go and Let God
- Do your best with a problem (Let Go)
and then try to leave the results up to a Higher Power (Let
God). Believing in yourself as a worth-while person and
becoming confident that things will work out for the best will
help you to stop worrying.
- **Live & Let Live
- This slogan tells us to concentrate on living
our own lives the best way we can (Live) and letting
other people do the same (Let Live). It means trying
not to criticize or hurt anyone by things we say or do. This
slogan helps us to focus on ourselves and get on with our lives.
- Using this slogan helps us remember to think
before we act and keeps us from saying and doing things that
we may regret.
- **One Day at a Time
- If we worry about what's going to happen or
what's already happened we can forget to be thankful for what
we have now. Yesterday is gone and tomorrow isn't here, so we
can only live in today. Alateen keeps us on track and helps
us to live One Day at a Time.
- A BRIEF SUMMARY Top
- No matter how difficult our situation, we can
build a better life for ourselves by remembering to reach out
for recovery, it doesn't 'just happen'. Try to keep these points
- *Alateen has helped many others.
- *Alcoholism affects the person who drinks and
those who are close to the alcoholic.
- *Learning the facts about alcoholism can help
you accept it as a disease.
- *Another person's addiction to alcohol is no
reflection on you.
- *You are not responsible for your parent's behavior.
- *Talking things over with someone you trust
- *Try to be patient with yourself and your family.
Alcoholism has affected you and your family for a long time,
and it may take a long time to recover.
- *Try to be the best person you can be, one day
at a time.
- *Attend Alateen, Al-Anon, and open AA meetings.
- *You are not alone -- millions of other teenagers
are going through the same problems that you are.
- *The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions are
also an important part of the Alateen program.
Alateen Home Hilltoppers-AFG
ŠThe information on this page
is from Al-Anon Pamphlet #P-21, and is reprinted with permission
of Al-Anon World Headquarters. See the Contact
for more info.