- 2Worldwide 24 hour information line: 707-575-6760, Spanish 707-623-6702
Support and hope for teens affected by someone else’s drinking
Alateen is a fellowship of 13-19 year olds whose lives have been affected by someone else’s drinking. They share their experience, discuss what’s going on in their lives, and learn coping skills. It is a place to encourage one another, learn they are not alone and learn that alcoholism is a disease. An adult Alateen Sponsor helps get the meeting started and keeps it a safe place to be.
The following address is to 5 questions to help you decide whether or not Alateen is for you:
ALATEEN MEETINGS IN SONOMA/NAPA COUNTIES:
Alateen Zoom meeting, Mondays at 7:00pm, contact group sponsors Maria and Maureen for meeting link before the meeting:
Petaluma Alateen Zoom meeting: Contact Alateen Sponsors: Marilee at email@example.com OR Lisa at firstname.lastname@example.org OR your school HI teacher
SCHOOL BASED MEETINGS ARE ON HOLD DURING COVID SCHOOL CLOSURES
NAPA meeting -Thursdays 7 – 8:00 p.m. at Aldea, 2310 First Street (at Monroe) (meets upstairs, enter through the parking lot door)
See the school counselor for information about the following Santa Rosa Alateen meetings
– at Ridgway High School, Tuesdays
– at Santa Rosa High School, Tuesdays
– at Slater Middle School, Thursdays
See the school counselor for information about the following Petaluma Alateen meeting
-at Casa Grande High School, Thursdays
– Tuesday EN ESPAÑOL 7-9 p.m. Nuestra Nueva Oportunidad, Nuestra Voz, 200 Fuente Lane, Sonoma
Search for an in-person Alateen meeting in the U.S and Canada (https://al-anon.org/al-anon-meetings/find-an-alateen-meeting/) and find Alateen on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter.
Adult Alateen Sponsors or AMIAS (Al-Anon Member In Alateen Service)
An adult “sponsor” shares a description of her duties: We sit with the Alateens. They read from a formatted script and then they talk about what is going on with themselves. We try to direct conversation to include Alateen principals, slogans, literature, etc. The kids run the meeting; we are there to make sure that behavior and shares are “safe”.
Everyone who is an AMIAS in certified and agrees to participate in an annual training as part of his/her duties and recertification
Dealing with my parents alcoholism – one teens story*
There are many trials in life that one must go through, and everybody deals with these problems differently. Some write. Some fight. Everyone in my family seem to drown their problems in alcohol.
As a 6-year-old I didn’t see the problems that my family faced. The world is big and full of wonder in the eyes of a curious little boy, but having alcoholic parents made my world a lot smaller. I could put into words how scared I was.
I learned quickly to figure out what my parents were thinking and feeling. I need to know if I was coming home to a warm loving place that a home should be, or to a war zone where people were afraid to speak their feelings.
At some point, my parents thought it would be a good idea for my mother to leave. During this time, my mom and dad jumped in and out of sobriety.
One time my dad left on a Friday night, leaving me and my friend at home. When he didn’t come home, we went to my friend’s house. My dad picked me up hung over. He said he wanted to change.
I saw my mother after that, and she was sober. She brought up Alateen. I told her I would give it a try. I told my dad that I wanted to go and he decided to go to A.A. We began the journey to recovery together.
I remember my first meeting pretty well, though it feels like it happened ages ago. There were a lot of older kids, and all were complete strangers. I was trying to find a dark corner to hide in with an 18 year-old girl came up to me and kneeled down so we were eye level. With a soothing voice and loving smile, she asked me, “Are you nervous?” I hesitantly nodded yes. She grabbed my trembling shoulders, shook them with great excitement, and screamed, “Don’t be nervous!” I jumped. Everyone laughed and gave me a hug.
At that moment all the fear and tension I had in my heart was lifted. For some reason, that was the most loved I had felt in years. I couldn’t stop myself from smiling and laughing along with the rest of the group. I was truly happy for the first time in years.
During that first meeting I shared and I cried. It felt so good – like walking on air. I went for years without missing a meeting.
I think about what my life would be like if I had never gone to that first Alateen meeting. I could have hurt myself or someone else. I could have ended up in jail or maybe become an alcoholic. When I picture the alternate world I could have possibly made for myself, I feel blessed that my Higher Power cared about me enough to lead me to the program.
Alateen didn’t fix me or make me perfect. It showed me where to put things in my life so I could love the finished product. I learned that life is worth living. Being happy is when I look at the cards that God has dealt me, relax, and smile. I may not have been dealt the best hand, but I don’t have the worst.
I blamed myself for my dad’s drinking-until Alateen*
For as long as I can remember, my father has been the alcoholic in my life. As a child, I didn’t really understand what was going on with him. I thought it was normal for dads to come home late at night, acting funny and different.
I couldn’t really wrap my head around the idea, until I started noticing that none of my friends’ dads came home like my dad did. That is when I knew something was wrong. At the age of 10, I knew my dad drank more than he should, but it wasn’t until I was about 12 that I understood that he was an alcoholic, and that my family and I were suffering as a result of the disease of alcoholism.
I was in seventh grade when I found out he was an alcoholic. I didn’t feel comfortable telling any of my friends about the problems that I was going through at home. I didn’t think they would understand. There were nights when my dad would be out–of–control angry for no apparent reason.
I always thought that it was my fault he was yelling at us. I always blamed myself when my parents fought. I always blamed myself for causing my dad to drink.
All the problems at home started to affect me more and more each day. There were days when I couldn’t sleep at all, either because my parents were fighting or just because my dad was drinking.
I grew afraid of him and myself. I gave up on myself. My grades began to drop. I was no longer a straight–A student. My report cards were filled with low B’s and C’s.
Sometimes, in class, people would talk about how I didn’t get my homework done, but little did they know what I was going through. I started to have anxiety almost every day and dreaded coming home after school.
At school, I always faked a smile, even though I was full of anxiety, worried about what that coming night had to offer. I couldn’t talk to my sister about it because she’s two years younger and wouldn’t understand what I was going through.
After a while, I had had enough. My mom and I confronted my dad about his drinking. I told him that it was tearing our family apart. My dad promised me that he’d stop drinking for the sake of his family and his health. A week went by and he still had no alcohol in his system. He seem to have become a better person and a better father since he was worrying less about his drinking and more about my siblings and me. I felt so relieved. I felt hopeful. Two weeks went by and my dad was back to drinking heavily. I was disappointed in him and couldn’t look at him the same.
During that time, someone very important to me decided to walk out of my life at the time when I needed him the most. He was one of the only reasons why I was still smiling through everything I was going through. I was devastated and felt more alone than ever.
I was a mess. I couldn’t keep all these emotions bottled up anymore. I needed to talk to someone. Just last year, I decided to tell one of my best friends about it. She also had an alcoholic father and understood every single thing that I told her. She told me about Alateen.
At first, I was nervous and hesitant about the idea of sharing my feelings with an Alateen group, but then I realized that these people were going through what I was going through. So I decided to go to the Tuesday night meetings.
I was shy and scared to share with everyone. But by the end of my first meeting, I realized that everyone was so kind and understanding, I didn’t have to worry about being judged. In Alateen, I learned that it isn’t my fault that my dad drinks. I cannot control whether he does or not. The only thing I can control is myself, and that’s what I started to do. I started to take it “One Day at a Time” and slowly started to work on myself, rather than worrying about my dad all the time.
I am now closer to God and feel safer and more comfortable in my own skin. Alateen has given me so many different coping skills that now if I’m dealing with a conflict, I know how to fix it. And when I start to feel anxiety, I know how to manage it.
Alateen has opened up many doors for me. I look forward to going every week and hate it when I have to miss a meeting. It’s one of the best parts of my week. I have made many friends and I am so grateful to be able to share with them.
I don’t let alcoholism affect me as much as it used to. I don’t let myself worry about the alcoholic as much because, in the end, it’s my life that I’m living. This program has made me a better person. I’m happy again. I couldn’t ask for anything more.
I don’t know where I would be today without the help of my Sponsors and everyone in Alateen. I want to be able to help other people who struggle with this disease because I know how it feels to be alone and lost. I don’t want anyone to ever feel that way. And that’s why I keep coming to Alateen – to help myself and others.
by Thalia, Connecticut
* these shares are reprinted with permission of The Forum, Al-Anon Family Group Hdqts. Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.