Do you want to create a new Al-Anon group meeting? A good place to start is the free Guideline from the World Service Office, Starting an Al-Anon Group (publication G-12). The article below shares one member’s experience of starting a new Al-Anon meeting.
How We Started a New Al-Anon Meeting
When I started coming to Al-Anon in 1991, I attended two small meetings. I am still so grateful for those first Al-Anon members I met, carrying the message to me, a fearful, confused and angry newcomer.
Fast forward 23 years later, and the Al-Anon meetings I have been going to had been getting larger, a lot larger. I had retired a couple of years earlier, and I felt my Higher Power’s nudging to start a new Al-Anon meeting. I had never done this before.
Over the next few weeks, during the announcement part of our meetings, I asked for anyone interested in helping start a new meeting to please talk with me after the meeting. There was certainly interest, thank God. I did not want to do this by myself.
So now 18 months later, and with the help from my fellow Al-Anon folks, we have two new meetings in our town. And to see newcomers have a larger selection of meetings, different days, times, locations and sizes, well, this has been so affirming and rewarding. We are truly all in this together.
Here are the steps that helped us…
1) I found a small, committed 2-3 person group to help start a new meeting and asked what day, time and location would work for the group. We picked a day and a time without any nearby meetings. We used the location of our current meeting. The new day and time was available, and the facility was even flexible with a lower rent to help us get started.
2) Then we picked a “format” and name for our meeting. For the format, we used a lot of the readings from our ongoing current meetings and made adjustments as needed.
4) Then we applied for a WSO (World Service Organization) I.D. Number. Every Al-Anon group needs this for registration and correspondence. Get your group’s number directly from WSO online by clicking here.
After receiving our new WSO number, we decided what date to begin our new meeting.
5) Getting the word out: Then we needed to inform our local district’s Al-Anon officers and meeting information service coordinators of our new meeting. If your district has a website with a CONTACT US page, it may list the current names and email addresses of your District Representative(DR) and Information Services Coordinators. If there is a local help line, your district website will also provide the phone number so you can notify the Support or Help Line Coordinator.
We composed an email with all our meeting’s information, including WSO number and start date and sent it to the following:
– Our district Schedule Coordinator, to add all our new meeting’s information to the newest list of printed schedules
– Our district Website and Newsletter Coordinators, to add our meeting to the website listings and announce in next newsletter
– Our district Representative, who could announce to Group Reps and Coordinators of the existence of our new meeting by sending out a mass email or informing them at the next monthly District Service Meeting.
– We also created a half-page flyer and began announcing the new meeting’s time, location, meeting’s start date and its details at other meetings we attended. We took a stack of flyers for distribution to the monthly District Service Meeting and asked for their attendance to show support for our new meeting.
A few more final tips.
– Your “GROUP NAME” is important when registering for a WSO number. You may want to take into consideration that the name of your new meeting will reflect Al-Anon principles, be inviting to all, and include the focus of the meeting. Also the name cannot apply an affiliation.
– I checked with our Literature Coordinator and learned our district is able to offer new meetings a small amount of free literature to help get started, and he or she may also be able to recommend a nice starter pack of books and pamphlets, depending on the focus of your meeting.
– If the facility your group is using requires insurance, NCWSA will supply this at no cost to your group. To register and get an insurance certificate, fill out the NCWSA form A26a which is called Insurance Certificate Application Form. This form will then need to be sent to the current NCWSA Insurance Coordinator whose contact information can be found at the bottom of the form. Additional instructions, here.
Yours in Recovery,