Al-Anon Family Groups

Oakland County, Michigan

Strength and Hope for Friends and Families of Problem Drinkers

Statement of Purpose

The Al-Anon Family Groups are a fellowship of relatives and friends of alcoholics who share their experience, strength, and hope, in order to solve their common problems.

We believe alcoholism is a family illness, and that changed attitudes can aid recovery. Al-Anon is not allied with any sect, denomination, political entity, organization, or institution; does not engage in any controversy, neither endorses nor opposes any cause. There are no dues for membership. Al-Anon is self-supporting through its own voluntary contributions.

Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps, by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics, and by giving understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic.

Al-Anon’s 12 Steps

Because of their proven power and worth, AA’s Twelve Steps have been adopted almost word for word by Al-Anon. They represent a way of life appealing to all people of goodwill, of any religious faith, or none. Note the power of the very words.

1. We admitted we were powerless over alcohol — that our lives had become unmanageable.

2. Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

3. Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

4. Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

5. Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

6. We’re entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

7. Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

8. Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

9. Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when doing so would injure them or others.

10. Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

11. Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

12. Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these Steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and practice these principles in all our affairs.

Al-Anon’s 12 Traditions

The Traditions that follow bind us together in unity. They guide the groups in their relations with other groups, with AA, and the outside world. They recommend group attitudes toward leadership, membership, money, property, public relations, and anonymity.

The Traditions evolved from the experience of AA groups in trying to solve their problems of living and working together. Al-Anon has adopted these group guidelines and over the years has found them sound and wise. Although they are only suggestions, Al-Anon’s unity and perhaps even its survival are dependent on adherence to these principles.

1. Our common welfare should come first; personal progress for the greatest number depends upon unity.

2. For our group purpose, there is but one authority — a loving God as He may express Himself in our group conscience. Our leaders are but trusted servants; they do not govern.

3. The relatives of alcoholics, when gathered together for mutual aid, may call themselves an Al-Anon Family Group, provided that, as a group, they have no other affiliation. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of alcoholism in a relative or friend.

4. Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.

5. Each Al-Anon Family Group has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. We do this by practicing the Twelve Steps of AA ourselves, by encouraging and understanding our alcoholic relatives, and by welcoming and giving comfort to families of alcoholics.

6. Our Al-Anon Family Groups ought never to endorse, finance, or lend our name to any outside enterprise, lest problems of money, property, and prestige divert us from our primary spiritual aim. Although a separate entity, we should always cooperate with Alcoholics Anonymous.

7. Every group ought to be fully self-supporting, declining outside contributions.

8. Al-Anon Twelfth-Step work should remain forever non-professional, but our service centers may employ special workers.

9. Our groups, as such, ought never to be organized; but we may create service boards or committees directly responsible to those they serve.

10. The Al-Anon Family Groups have no opinion on outside issues; hence our name ought never to be drawn into public controversy.

11. Our public relations policy is based on attraction rather than promotion; we need always maintain personal anonymity at the level of press, radio, TV, and films. We need to guard with special care the anonymity of all AA members.

12. Anonymity is the spiritual foundation of all our Traditions, ever reminding us to place principles above personalities.

Al-Anon’s 12 Concepts of Service

Carrying the message, as suggested in the Twelfth Step, is Service, Al-Anon’s third legacy. Service, a vital purpose of Al-Anon, is action. Members strive to do as well as to be.

Anything done to help a relative or friend of an alcoholic is service: a telephone call to a despairing member or sponsoring a newcomer, telling one’s story at meetings, forming groups, arranging for public information, distributing literature, and financially supporting groups, local services, and the World Service Office.

Reprinted with permission from the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual, © 2010, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.

1. The ultimate responsibility and authority for Al-Anon world services belong to the Al-Anon groups.

2. The Al-Anon Family Groups have delegated complete administrative and operational authority to their Conference and its service arms.

3. The Right of Decision makes effective leadership possible.

4. Participation is the key to harmony.

5. The Rights of Appeal and Petition protect minorities and assure that they are heard.

6. The Conference acknowledges the primary administrative responsibility of the trustees.

7. The Trustees have legal rights, while the rights of the Conference are traditional.

8. The Board of Trustees delegates full authority for routine management of the Al-Anon Headquarters to its executive committees.

9. Good personal leadership at all service levels is a necessity. In the field of world service, the Board of Trustees assumes the primary leadership.

10. Service responsibility is balanced by carefully defined service authority, and double-headed management is avoided.

11. The World Service Office is composed of standing committees, executives, and staff members.

12. The spiritual foundation for Al-Anon’s world services is contained in the General Warranties of the Conference, Article 12 of the Charter.

Al-Anon slogans serve as a gentle, calming reminders that our circumstances might not be as impossible or as desperate as they at first appear. These concise expressions of wisdom offer quick reassurance that we really are able to cope with whatever life brings, prompting us to take constructive action and to treat ourselves and others with compassion and respect. Even when we are too new to Al-Anon or too overwhelmed by our circumstances to recall on of the many Al-Anon principles that may apply, a simple slogan can put the entire situation into perspective..

But For The Grace of God

The slogan, “But For The Grace Of God” helps to remind us to be compassionate with others, including the alcoholics in our lives. This slogan can help us avoid impatience,criticism, resentment, and vengefulness, which does harm to ourselves as well as to others.

Keep It Simple

The slogan, “Keep It Simple” helps to remind us that simple solutions are often the most effective ones. This slogan can help us look at what really is happening rather than what we imagine may happen, and to take a reasonable, step by step approach rather than act out of fear or panic.

Easy Does It

The slogan, “Easy Does It” helps us remember that trying to “force solutions” often does not work. We may not be able to solve every problem in the time frame we wish to solve it in. Some problems may not be for us to solve. Sometimes a gentler, more patient approach is more effective and less frustrating.

First Things First

The slogan, “First Things First” helps us to set reasonable priorities and to keep a realistic perspective. This slogan helps us to make choices we are comfortable with, and to act with balance rather than react to crises.

How Important Is It

The slogan, “How Important Is It” helps us to have perspective, to determine what is of most value to personally, and to avoid being upset over things that are of minimal importance at the moment. It helps free us to appreciate the good things that life offers.

Let it Begin With Me

The slogan, “Let It Begin With Me” helps us to keep the focus on and be responsible for our own actions and behaviors. This slogan helps us to take action to change the things we can change and to take the responsibility to get our own needs met, rather than waiting for others to change or to meet our needs for us.

Just For Today

The slogan, “Just For Today” tells us that things are more manageable when we deal with and live in the present. Things that seem way too difficult to manage long term may seem more manageable if we deal with them just for today. We can move forward in small steps rather than be  overwhelmed by trying to change everything at one time. This is described further in the ?Al-Anon pamphlet, Just For Today.


The slogan, “Think” helps us to remember to think before we act on or react to situations. This slogan helps us make good decisions about how to act. When we apply this slogan, it helps free us from distorted thinking and impulsive, potentially destructive decision-making.

One Day At a Time

The slogan, “One Day At a Time” provides a practical approach to challenges and fears. We focus our energies on dealing productively with today, and we give up worrying about a future we can not predict or control and about a past we cannot change. It helps us break overwhelming tasks into manageable steps.

Keep an Open Mind

The slogan, “Keep An Open Mind” helps us to be open to ideas from sources that we might not have imagined could be helpful. It helps us to take advantage of all opportunities.

Live and Let Live

The slogan, “Live And Let Live” has two parts. “Let live” reminds us to allow others the dignity of making their own decisions and experiencing the consequences of their decisions and choices. By minding our own business, we are freed from feeling responsible for changing other. We also learn to “live” by taking care of our own physical, emotional, and spiritual needs.

Let Go and Let God

The slogan, “Let Go And Let God” helps us to let go of trying to control things we can not control. When our attempts at control are not working, when we feel we have run out of options, when we don’t know what we can do,  this slogan helps us trust that a Power greater than ourselves will help us when the time is right.

Listen and Learn

Courage To Change

This Too Shall Pass

Progress Not Perfection

Principles Above Personalities

Reprinted with permission from the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual, © 2010, Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.