How Alateen Meetings Help Teens Find their Own Recovery
Alateen is one of the offshoots of Alcoholics Anonymous, a community based alcohol recovery program. Unlike Alcoholics Anonymous, Alateen is a group of teens that are affected by alcoholism and not alcoholics themselves. This group believes in peer group support for those who live with or deal with alcoholics in their family. Most of these programs believe in finding a higher power and allowing spirituality into your life. It is through the steps, traditions, and concepts of service that Alateen meetings help teens find their way to recovery.
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Preamble and Twelve Steps of Alateen
Similar to the 12 steps in Alcohol Anonymous, the Alateen recovery program starts with a preamble and the 12 steps. The preamble is just a reaffirming of the reason everyone is there. According to the Alateen the preamble states:
- The belief that alcoholism is a family and community illness.
- That Alanon and Alateen is not affiliated with any other organization.
- Alanon and Alateen exist because of donations and does not charge dues.
- Alateen and Alanon has only one purpose; to help teens and families deal with alcoholism in a constructive way.
The 12 Steps of Alateen are:
- Admit that there is a problem,
- Come to believe in a higher power that can help.
- Give up control to a higher power.
- Conduct an inventory on your life and your situation.
- Admit what is wrong to the higher power, yourself, and at least one other person.
- Let go of guilt and allowing yourself to change and improve.
- Seek peace through the higher power and your actions.
- Make a list of all the people you hurt by way of addiction be it an addict in the family or yourself.
- Take this list and making things right with those people.
- Evaluate your character as it relates to you and not the alcoholic.
- Continue to learn and understand the higher power.
- Give back to yourself, family, friends, the group, and the community.
These 12 steps are what most 12 step programs are based on. It is important to follow these steps regardless if you are in Alcoholics Anonymous, Alanon, or Alateen.
Twelve Traditions of Alateen
Along with the 12 steps there are also 12 traditions. These traditions are as close as the Alateen organization comes to rules. By following these rules the group is stronger and more beneficial as a whole. The traditions help a teen understand what Alateen is all about. The traditions are:
- Protect the welfare of the group first.
- No member is in charge.
- The desire to change and cope is the only requirement.
- Each group is separate, unless their actions affect the organization.
- The purpose of the group is to help each other and others cope with Alcoholism.
- The group does not financially or politically support anyone but the group.
- The group is self-sufficient, no one but members can donate.
- This is a nonprofessional organization.
- There is no official structure.
- The organization as a whole nor do the groups have an opinion on outside things.
- The organization and the group do not advertise.
- This is an anonymous organization.
These traditions let teens know that the group is not out for itself and that joining is not like joining other groups where there is an agenda.
What to Expect at Alateen Meetings
Alateen meetings are not much different from Alanon meetings except that they are for teens who are family members of alcoholics. The meetings are essentially structured the same way, with people sharing and supporting each other. Most share experiences and strength to let each other know they are not alone in their struggles. These meetings also help build an atmosphere of change.
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How Alateen Helps
Alateen helps you understand that you are not alone. It is one thing to understand that other teens go through what you are going through, it is another to actually see and meet them. Being able to talk with other teens and see how they have made a change is eye opening to most.
Alateen meetings help by:
- giving teens a sense of community,
- preventing teens from turning to drugs or alcohol themselves,
- letting them commiserate with other teens,
- helping them to share problems and trials,
- showing them how to change for the better,
- building a support structure in a positive environment,
- helping them to learn positive coping mechanisms, and
- giving them people their own age to turn to that are no users.
Alateen recovery is not only about the meetings. Many of the Alateen groups sponsor other activities such as outings, camping trips, and retreats. Coping with an alcoholic family member is difficult in today’s society, Alateen helps teens focus on the positive aspects of life and recovery.
Many teenagers see Alateen as an opportunity to discuss the subjects that they cannot with parents or family members. It is a way to talk about things in an anonymous, nonjudgmental atmosphere. Although it might not seem like much, this opportunity is invaluable when it comes to the recovery process.
The teen years are difficult without the presence of an alcoholic parent or family member. When dealing with alcoholism on top of being a teenager it can be impossible. Alateen gives teens an outlet, friendship, and the ability to discuss things without judgment or censure.