Al-Anon meetings are about sharing individual experiences and problems caused by a loved one's drinking. Individual stories offer hope and strength in order to solve the common problems of the group.
Each Al-Anon meeting usually begins with a reading of the 12-steps of the organization. Similar to the 12-step recovery program for alcoholics, the steps of Al-Anon aim to help friends and relatives of alcoholics recover from the emotional, psychological and physical impact of alcoholism.
New members are given an opportunity to ask questions or discuss their situation. Individuals who prefer to listen rather than speak decline by simply saying “I pass.” Each member shares as an equal, without dictating how another should feel or act. Additionally, members share under conditions of anonymity and are not allowed to approach or compromise another member's privacy outside of the meeting.
Al-Anon meetings are sometimes held in a religious building, but meetings are not affiliated in any way with a particular religious group. While the meetings reference a Higher Power, attendees do not define or discuss their religious beliefs. Membership in the organization is voluntary and is not required in order to attend a meeting. Additionally, no membership dues or fees are required.