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 District 5 Al-Anon/Alateen


For Professionals and Students 


Special note to students/observers

What Do Local Professionals Say About Al-Anon?


Fact Sheets



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Thank you for your interest in the Al-Anon and Alateen programs. Al-Anon works cooperatively with professionals and institutions that provide services to people affected by another person’s alcoholism. Al-Anon participation is compatible with and can be complimentary to professional counseling and medical treatment.  A 2009 survey of Al-Anon membership revealed that about 44% of Al-Anon members were influenced to attend their first Al-Anon meeting by a professional!


Our home page and newcomer’s page provides information about the Al-Anon and Alateen programs.  Our meetings page provides a list of Al-Anon, Alateen, and Al-Anon Adult Children meetings in District 5, which serves the area in and around Washtenaw County, Michigan, including Ann Arbor, Belleville, Chelsea, Saline, and Ypsilanti. You can learn about how Al-Anon is organized by visiting our structure page.  Al-Anon World Services provides information and publications targeted to informing professionals about our program.  For your information and convenience, the Al-Anon World Service Office also permits us to post some of their publications, below. You can also visit the Al-Anon World Services web site area for professionals for additional information. 


Types of Al-Anon meetings are described on our newcomer’s page.  Closed Al-Anon meetings are attended by anyone who feels his or her life has been or is being affected by alcoholism.  Open Al-Anon meetings are meetings where Al-Anon/Alateen members tell their stories to anyone interested in hearing about the family disease of alcoholism. Non-members such as observers or students are welcome to attend open Al-Anon meetings to learn about recovery in the Al-Anon program. Currently there are no registered open Al-Anon meetings in the District 5 area; there are occasional open Al-Anon meetings in Wayne, Oakland, Lenawee and Monroe Counties and in other areas of Michigan (please see our links page for information on how to contact an Al-Anon Information Service to ask about locating an open Al-Anon meeting in the area you are interested in.)


Al-Anon does not advise members to take or to avoid any particular course of action, or to engage or not to engage any particular resources. Al-Anon literature states that members may benefit from tapping additional resources, and encourages members to engage resources and/or obtain professional assistance that may be helpful to them.



We are always happy that students are interested in learning about Al-Anon. In any profession, you are likely to encounter people affected by another person’s alcoholism, and attending an open 12 Step meeting is a great way to learn about alcoholism and family recovery as well as how the program works.


It is CRITICAL however that students and other observers understand that “closed” Al-Anon meetings are intended to be attended ONLY by people affected by another person’s alcohol use, and that all that is said in a meeting or member-to-member MUST be kept entirely confidential. Al-Anon works through open sharing among members, and that sharing can only effectively occur when members feel secure that the confidential information they may share, their own personal anonymity and the anonymity of the alcoholics in their lives will not leave the meeting. For example, a member that is affiliated with a university or who is in a relationship with an alcoholic that is affiliated with a university will likely be inhibited from sharing if students from that university attend the meeting as observers. Students and others who feel they may belong in Al-Anon personally are always welcome to attend any meeting as a prospective newcomer, and professionals and students are welcome to attend Al-Anon meetings for their own personal support in their work with alcoholics, but students who wish to attend solely to observe and learn about Al-Anon are asked to please NOT attend closed Al-Anon meetings. 


Since there are currently no open meetings of Al-Anon in Washtenaw County, here are some ideas for students who wish to learn more about Al-Anon:

¨      You can attend an open Al-Anon meeting in another county; please click here to learn how to locate open Al-Anon meetings outside of District 5.

¨      You can attend open AA meetings to learn about alcoholism, recovery and 12 Step programs.

¨      You can contact us; we will be happy to talk to you about Al-Anon!

¨      You can contact us to ask if one or more Al-Anon members would talk to your class or group.

¨      You can read about the program on Al-Anon web sites and in Al-Anon literature.


What do professionals say about the Al-Anon program? 

We asked some professionals who work or live in the Southeast Michigan area to share their thoughts about the Al-Anon program, and their experiences with how participation in Al-Anon has impacted their clients. We believe this information will be helpful for newcomers who are gathering information to help them decide if trying out Al-Anon might be right for them, as well as for other professionals and students who would like to learn more about how Al-Anon can help their clients. 


Al-Anon is not allied with any religion, sect or denomination. Members of any faith and of no faith are all equally welcome. Per Al-Anon’s Traditions 6 and 10, Al-Anon has no opinions about, is not affiliated with and does not endorse any outside enterprises or organizations, and does not support or oppose any matters outside of the Al-Anon program. The opinions expressed in this section are those of the writers; their inclusion does not imply endorsement of any organization, business, practice, religion, denomination or publication. We are grateful to all who have shared their professional experiences with Al-Anon on this web site!   


Your First Al-Anon Meeting”: from Jeff Jay and Debra Jay: please click here! Jeff and Debra Jay are addiction specialists and interventionists.  They are co-authors of "Love First: A New Approach to Intervention," which is a Hazelden Guidebook. Debra Jay is also the author of "No More Letting Go: The Spirituality of Taking Action Against Alcoholism and Drug Addiction" and co-author of “Aging and Addiction: Helping Older Adults Overcome Alcohol or Medication Dependence.” Jeff Jay is the co-author of "At Wit's End: What You Need to Know When a Loved One Is Diagnosed with Addiction and Mental Illness."


“A Treatment Professional’s Experience”: from James Balmer: please click here!  Contributed by James Balmer; President, Dawn Farm Community of Programs.

An Obstetrician’s Experience”: from Carl Christensen, MD, Ph.D.: please click
here! Contributed by Carl Christensen, MD, Ph.D., MRO: obstetrician and addictionologist; Medical Director for Addiction Medicine Services at the Detroit Medical Center, Medical Director of the James Wardell Women’s Recovery Center, Associate with Pain Recovery Solutions, retired Associate Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Wayne State University, past Medical Director for Dawn Farm, past President of the Michigan Health Professional Recovery Program and the Michigan Society of Addiction Medicine.





“From a Psychotherapist”: from Perry H. Engstom: please click here!  Contributed by Perry H. Engstom, LMSW, psychotherapist.   


“Alateen/Al-Anon and Students”: from Mark Schuby: please click here!  Contributed by Mark Schuby, MSW, Student Assistance Coordinator, Saline Area Schools.


 What Al-Anon Offers”: from Renee Baumunk: please click here! Contributed by Renee A. Baumunk, CADC, CPS (Certified Prevention Specialist.) 


“Reflection on Al-Anon”: from Ken Wilson: please click here! Contributed by Ken Wilson; Senior Pastor, Vineyard Church of Ann Arbor.



“One Professional’s Experience”: from ernie kurtz: please click here! Contributed by Ernest Kurtz, Ph.D. (Harvard 1978) Author, Researcher and Historian

Adjunct Assistant Research Scientist, The University of Michigan

One Professional’s Experience”: from Ernie Kurtz: please click here! Contributed by Ernest Kurtz, Ph.D. (Harvard 1978) Author, Researcher and Historian





Al-Anon Publications and Information for Professionals

Al-Anon World Services produces materials referred to as “Conference-Approved Literature” (CAL.) Al-Anon conference-approved literature provides a valuable resource to help people learn about Al-Anon, including professionals, students, and potential members.  The Al-Anon World Service Office web site “resources for professionals” page provides several pamphlets that may be helpful to specific professions as well as for helping individual clients to identify with Al-Anon as a resource that can help them. 


Al-Anon publishes an annual outreach magazine, “Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism,” that includes information about Al-Anon and Alateen, stories from Al-Anon and Alateen members, and perspectives on Al-Anon/Alateen written by people in various helping professionals. Please click here to be linked to Al-Anon Faces Alcoholism 2012 posted on the Al-Anon World Services site. 


Additional information about Al-Anon literature is available on our literature page. A complete listing of Al-Anon Conference Approved Literature and an order form is available in the literature area of the Al-Anon World Services web site.  The materials below are all Al-Anon publications which are targeted to professionals:

(All of the following are reprinted with permission of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA)


An overview of the Al-Anon program for professionals is provided by the Al-Anon publication, Fact Sheet For Professionals (S-37),

“Fact Sheet for Professionals” (S-37) is reprinted with permission of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.


Guidelines for Al-Anon and Alateen meetings held in institutions have been developed by the Al-Anon World Services Office. Al-Anon meetings that are held in institutions (including treatment centers, hospitals, clinics, mental health service providers, shelters, juvenile homes, correctional facilities, rehabilitation organizations, and others) often provide a newcomer with his or her first exposure to Al-Anon/Alateen.  Institutional meetings are facilitated by experienced Al-Anon/Alateen members. Guidelines for institutional meetings can be viewed here.

“Al-Anon/Alateen Institutions Group Meetings” (S-22) is reprinted with permission of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.


Additional fact sheets include the following:


Spiritual Leaders

“Spiritual Leaders” fact sheet (OS1) is reprinted with permission

of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.

To Doctors


To Doctors” fact sheet (OD2) is reprinted with permission

of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.

To a Lawyer

“To a Lawyer” fact sheet (OL3) is reprinted with permission

of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.

To the Police

“To the Police” fact sheet (OP4) is reprinted with permission

of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.

To My Teacher

“To My Teacher” fact sheet (OT5) is reprinted with permission

of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.

Human Services Professional

“Human Services Professional” fact sheet (OH6) is reprinted with permission

of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.

Student Assistance Professional

“Student Assistance Professional” fact sheet (OSP7) is reprinted with permission

of ©Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.


We thank you for visiting us and for your interest in learning about the Al-Anon and Alateen programs! If you have questions or comments that you would like to direct to District 5 of Al-Anon, please contact us!


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