How to Read Meeting Lists
Every Al-Anon meeting has a name. Some of these – such as “Al-Anon Spoken Here” – don’t tell you much about the character of the meeting. Others, such as “Wake Up to Al-Anon” or “Women’s Brown Bag Lunch Meeting”, may suggest a time of day, an attitude, or a group focus. But for more specific info about a meeting than what can be provided in a name, Al-Anon meeting lists often use a number of terms (and abbreviations of those terms) which have specific meanings to describe or “type” a meeting so that attendees know what to expect and/or can filter the meeting list. Not all of these terms have meanings that are clear when you first encounter them. Here’s a glossary for some of them:
- Adult Children meetings: These meetings provide a supportive place for adults affected by the problem drinking of a parent, stepparent, or other guardian or caretaker. If this applies to you, you will be welcome at Al-Anon Adult Children meetings as well as at regular Al-Anon meetings.
- AFG: stands for Al-Anon Family Group. Every group in Al-Anon is an Al-Anon Family Group, so many tack the AFG onto their name. The District 26 meeting list leaves the AFG off the name, but tags the meeting as having an “Al-Anon” type.
- Beginners meetings: These are meetings especially for those new to Al-Anon, sometimes held before a regular Al-Anon meeting. They provide an opportunity for those new to Al-Anon to learn more about the program, ask questions and share about what brought them to Al-Anon if they wish. Newcomers are also welcome to attend any Al-Anon meeting.
- In-person, Hybrid, and Online (aka Electronic) meetings: In-person meetings have a designated physical location where the attendees meet together. (While these are often in places of worship, that’s simply because such institutions often rent meeting rooms; the Al-Anon meeting itself is never affiliated with any religion.). Online (aka Electronic) meetings have a designated online location (e.g. a Zoom room) where the attendees meet together. Hybrid meetings meet both in-person and online at the same time; you can attend either way.
- Literature, Book Study, Step Study, Slogans, Traditions: Some meetings use readings from Al-Anon literature and study of Al-Anon’s Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and slogans as the meeting focus. You do not need to prepare before attending these meetings or bring literature; books and other materials will be available there.
- Participant Types: When you see meetings tagged as “Men”, “Women”, “People of Color,” and so on, it means that the meeting is meant to provide a safe space for people of the designated participant type to share personal details they may not be comfortable talking about with others of different backgrounds. While Al-Anon meetings are expected to welcome all members or prospective members, please consider before attending such a meeting whether your presence might make the regular attendees uncomfortable.
- Speaker meetings: At a speaker meeting, one or two Al-Anon members, and sometimes a member of Alcoholics Anonymous, share their stories and their recovery.
- Tag meetings: This is a form of speaker meeting where people raise their hands and the person who has last shared “tags” (selects) the person who will share next.