Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Our friendly helpline volunteers, who are all Al-Anon members, are always happy to answer questions when you call our confidential helpline. Here are the answers to some of the most common questions people ask us.


What is Al-Anon?

Through self-supporting, confidential meetings, Al-Anon members come together to share their experiences and draw on one another's strength as they work to solve their common problems. Al-Anon has one purpose: to help the families and friends of alcoholics.

What is alcoholism?

Many leading medical authorities classify alcoholism as a disease. Al-Anon believes it is a family illness and offers welcome and support to the relatives and friends of alcoholics – no matter how they have been affected.

What is the purpose of anonymity?

Anonymity is a core principle at the heart of Al-Anon. The purpose is to enable members to be open with one another without fear of being embarrassed or exposed. We protect individuals' anonymity by using first names only. We also protect each others' confidentiality. Neither your attendance nor the content of what anyone shares in a meeting will be revealed outside of the group.

Who can be a member of Al-Anon?

Al-Anon welcomes anyone who feels their life has been affected by someone else's drinking. There are no additional requirements.

Are the children in a family affected by alcoholism?

As a family disease, alcoholism affects children as much as adults. Children often experience confusion, guilt, fear and a sense of loss. In addition, children have even less control over their environment than adults.

Is Al-Anon some kind of religious group?

No. Al-Anon is a spiritual fellowship. Members of any faith or none are welcome and we make a point of discouraging talking about specific religious beliefs.

Apart from meetings, what other help does Al-Anon offer?

We provide literature (books and leaflets) on a wide variety of topics related to dealing with alcoholism and the principles of Al-Anon. Members often find that our literature helps to reinforce the benefits gained from meetings. You can access books, pamphlets, banners and other items via our online shop.

How much does it cost to become a member or join a meeting?

We do not charge fees for membership or attending meetings. Al-Anon is funded solely through members' own voluntary donations and a collection will normally be held at each meeting. Members can also donate online.

I am interested in coming to a meeting. What do I do next?

You can find the location, days and times of nearby meetings by using the 'Find a Meeting' button above. If you prefer to speak to someone first, you can call our friendly helpline on 020 7403 0888 for a local number.

Al-Anon Helpline

  • Talk to a member in confidence
  • 7 days a week
  • Free phone

0800 0086 811

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