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The Story of Alateen

Alcoholics Anonymous in June of 1935 when a man named Bill Wilson realized that he had destroyed a successful career as a direct result of his drinking problem. He decided that part of the healing process involved more than just quitting. It also involved the support of others who were going through the same thing. As a result, the now-famous 12-step rehabilitation program was born; these 12 steps combined with meetings and support groups have helped countless people deal with and overcome alcoholism. In addition, a very important group was spawned from Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA” – Al-Anon: This group was founded by Wilson’s wife, Lois, in 1951 as a support group for family members of alcoholics in the AA program. Today, Al-Anon reaches over one million people across the United States in various locations, every single day.

Over time, a need grew for not only adult members to meet and discuss alcohol related issues, but teenagers were in need of help as well. Parents or spouses of alcoholics were seeing behavioral issues with their teenagers, mostly due to living in a home where at least one parent drank. In many cases, the teens ended up drinking and becoming alcoholics as well. Since teenage drinking is a serious issue and is often met with a lot of difficulty, Alateen was formed to help them. Teenagers have different emotional and social needs than adults, so Al-Anon branched off into the Alateen division to develop a program especially for them. Growing up in homes where one or even both parents drink can cause problems that can impact teenagers’ lives into adulthood. Al-Anon determined that these kids needed a special place to turn to where they could express their fears and frustrations, as well as find hope.

The purpose of Alateen is for teenagers who live with family members that drink, or who have a drinking problem themselves to get together and provide support and help each other. The organization has materials and recruits sponsors that cater specially to teenagers’ needs. Through sharing experiences and admitting there is a problem, teens can overcome their issues. Much like Al-Anon, Alateen operates by holding meetings through local chapters. Teenagers can get together at churches, businesses, or even someone’s home. The meetings provide opportunity for teenagers to discuss their problems with their peers and “vent” about drinking related issues. Through expression and sharing, teenagers can overcome the many difficulties that come with living with a drinking household and perhaps give them the strength and courage to help others. Clients who attend The Orchid Recovery Center for drug treatment or alcohol rehabilitation are encouraged to work with their family members so that everyone can heal from the destructive effects of addiction.

For more information about Alateen, please visit the following websites:

Further Reading