Alcoholics Anonymous Groups

Parent Q&A

Alanon for spouse not in AA Apr 22, 2019 (10 responses below)
Support for Families of Alcoholics That Isn't Al-Anon May 10, 2018 (7 responses below)
  • Alanon for spouse not in AA

    (10 replies)

    Hello, wondering if Alanon is a good resource for finding ways to deal with my spouses alcoholism if he is not in AA?  I need to find support/advice on how to cope with his issues while trying to support myself emotionally and navigate our family through this very difficult situation.  Would another program be more beneficial?  I have not dealt with this before and I'm unsure where to start.  I live in CoCo County so any recommendations in that area would be appreciated. Thank you.

    RE: Alanon for spouse not in AA ()


    I attended al anon for help managing the stress around an extended family member’s drinking. Yes, you can definitely get help there, whether or not your spouse goes to AA. 

    Al-anon is about taking care of yourself no matter where the drinking person is in their journey. I found it very helpful.

    Best of luck and (((Hugs)))—dealing with addiction is really hard.

    RE: Alanon for spouse not in AA ()

    Yes!  My former partner refused to get help for years and I benefited greatly from Al-Anon. It helped me at work and at home and continues to help daily even though I haven’t attended meetings in 5 years.  I will say that if the first few meetings don’t feel right, ‘keep coming back’ but try a new location and time. Because the meetings depend on the members to keep things going and to pick topics, they vary greatly. I mainly attended meetings in SF, and these tend to be bigger and varied and full of recovery. If you happen to work in SF, there are a few downtown meetings over lunch which can be a good midday break. 

    RE: Alanon for spouse not in AA ()

    The only requirement for membership in Alanon is that you are affected by another person's drinking.  I'd encourage you to try it and see if it is a good fit for you.

  • My brother (my only sibling) has been an alcoholic since he was a teenager (we in our forties now), and recent events and my own growing self-awareness have led me to the conclusion that I could benefit from some support from others who have been in similar situations. He is on his way to an early death, and I see now that I need to start finding ways to cope with where he and I are now and also how I will get through losing him.

    I've tried Al-Anon several times, and while I absolutely believe it is beneficial for many people, it isn't my thing. My struggle to get past the religious aspect and "asking a higher power to remove defects" etc. has made it very difficult for me to benefit. I do understand that the program is open to interpreting "God" however you understand that concept, but it simply doesn't work for me. I've also found it very disheartening that some people in "the Program" have suggested that because I can't get on board and accept that 12 steps is the only way to find relief, I simply don't want help or support. 

    Does anyone have recommendations for support groups that aren't based on 12 steps? I'd love to find something that incorporated meditation and is completely secular, or that has a Unitarian approach. Thanks so much. 

    There are many al-anon groups that are not religious - including an amazing women's meeting in San Francisco on Monday night worth the trip across the bridge. (Monday, 6:30 pm, Holy Innocents Church). If you go a few times to any meetings you'll find folks who don't believe in god but also don't think they have power to change others.  It's an awesome program and has been helpful beyond words. - avowed atheist

    SF Zen Center runs a Meditation in Recovery program:

    They may be able to refer you to a similar program for family members.

    I guess it's not completely secular but it's not Al Anon either!

    One possibility.  You could look into LifeRing Secular Recovery.
    service [at]

    I have no personal experience pro or con with them; I picked up a brochure today, so you will have to investigate for yourself.  But this is definitely a secular, non 12 step group aimed at alcoholics looking to abstain.  If you contact them, perhaps they can refer you to a secular companion society that fulfills the same function as Al-Anon.

    A second thought is to contact some of the local meditation centers and ask if they have or know of meditation-friendly groups for relatives of alcoholics.

    Re Al-Anon and many of the 12-step groups, one thing they are supposed to address is the kind of attitude you encountered: rigid, black/white thinking.  "If you can't get with the program you just don't want help" is a lot like, "you have to believe in XYZ to be saved or you are going to hell."   Anyone who tells you this is very far from "recovery."

    For many people, the primary benefit of 12-step programs isn't the steps; it's hearing other people's personal stories and struggles.  You can always pick a Higher Power like thermodynamics or natural selection or your better nature; no one will be the wiser.

Archived Q&A and Reviews

Questions about AA Meetings Questions about AlAnon Meetings  


Questions about AA Meetings

AA meetings in WC, PH, Concord, Martinez Area

Oct 2010

Hello, I am looking into possibly starting an AA program. I don't wake up and crack a beer, I don't drink every day or even eveyr week. When I do drink, I can never just have one. SO, I am looking for a group in the Walnut Creek, Pleasant Hill, Concord, Lafayette, Martinez area. I was at a meeting one other time and it was all old men, chain smoking, talking about the horrific things they did - it just wasn't a group for me. I am hoping to find a group more my speed/experience, possibly women only. Does anyone know of a gropu in these areas that fits? I know, I know, try them out. i will, but I thought I would see if anyone had any experience. Thanks. Anon

I coughed my way through a similar meeting once, went home and took a shower! I've been to all kinds and never regretted a single one (though some have been very awkward, it's been interesting and I learned a lot FROM my discomfort.) Every meeting really IS different. Go to your local web site, You'll see that meetings are coded for things like 'smoke free', 'women- or men only', LGBT, even unscented. Some are quite new-agey, some are very old-school and dogmatic, some are loosely organized, some tiny, some huge. AA meetings are supposed to be nonspecific about religion, but some are more heavily influenced by religious members. Take what you like and leave the rest. Don't be put off if you find one at a church - it's who's in the meeting that matters, not the meeting location.

Find a meeting that seems likely to feel comfortable, and just go. Talk to a couple of people and get referrals for something that feels right. It will work out if you keep going back.

Best of luck and blessings to you! It gets better from here - and more fun. 18 yrs sober & grateful

I completely understand your dilemma. You can find a list of meetings at or call 510-839-8900 any time. They will be happy to direct you to a meeting that might better suit you. I drank very similarly to you and it took me awhile to find AA in general, and then to find meetings that suited me. Each meeting has a different flavor and types of members, so keep trying different ones until you find what's right for you. Feel free to email me if you want more details. Good luck! Jennie

AA meeting for a dad

Jan 2006

My husband is two months sober and very much interested in finding an established AA meeting with members who have young families. He has been to some meetings that no one shows up to open the door and others who have either all retired people or some who have very few experienced people. He knows the best way of doing this is to go to all the listed meetings in the area (hundreds of them) but in the interst of time and hoping there are some other dads out there who have traveled this road .. we are hoping to get some recommendations. Many thanks,
seeking AA dads

I have a friend who attends meetings in the Rockridge area that she highly recomnends. People of every age and from every walk. She goes to meetings at 5767 Broadway, next to the Shell station (b/n Taft and Lawton). Mon-Fri 9:00 and 12:00, Sat 9:00 and 1:00, Fri 7:30pm, Sun 5:30pm. Also there is a new men's meeting starting on Wednesdays (possibly 7pm at 397 Euclid). My friend is going to lots of meetings and is doing really well, I'm so proud of her. Good luck!

There's a wonderful online support group for 12 steppers, called I recommend Room 3 for friends and family of AA'ers.

There is a wonderful lunch meeting every weekday from 12:10pm-1:00pm at the YWCA in Berkeley, Bancroft at Bowditch. Great mix of ages and experience, several parents, and a different focus each day. It's been working for me for almost 11 months! My life, and the lives of my daughter and her mom, have gotten so much better it's a miracle! Ask the secretary of the meeting for me (I'm there every day), and I'll gladly help in any way I can.
Another AA Dad

The Saturday 9:30AM meeting at the Berkeley Fellowship has all kinds of people--parents, students, retirees. The important thing is to find a meeting where the people love their sober lives and have lots to share about how to stay sober. If you try the Saturday AM meeting, get there by 9:20AM if you want a seat. Good luck.
Sober Mom

I sent this to my ex-hub, who's a regular at east bay AA meetings and a Dad of 2 littles. Here's his reply:

Try the rather unfortunately named ''Drunks-R-Us'' (DRU for those in the know). It's at: 941 The Alameda, Berkeley (just north of Solano) in the Northbrae Community Center (upstairs). It's an old established meeting with a good group of people. A lot of sobriety at that one. Time is 6:00 pm weekdays. Good starting point.

For sheer numbers go to the First Congregation Church at 27th and Harrison, Oakland on the first Friday of each month. It's one of the biggest east bay meetings and you can see everybody and meet people.

Also, ''Up To Our Neck'', 6:30 PM , Sat. 397 Euclid (at Van Buren, near Lake Merritt) is a 20's to 40's crowd and kind of hipster-ish.

It can take awhile to plug in. But you will. Try asking people what other meetings they like. has all the schedules by the way.

Happy Hunting Anonymous, of course

Questions about AlAnon Meetings

Looking for good al anon mtg in/near N. Berkeley

May 2012

hi. i would like recommendations on good al anon mtgs in or near north berkeley. i am a single mom sharing custody. new to al anon. grateful for any suggestions. looking for help

8 pm Tuesday night at Northbrea (Solano and The Alameda) is a strong meeting (and has a newcomers meeting at 7:30)

Friday night 6pm is also strong (also at Northbrea), but can sometimes be abstract for newcomers as we study not only the steps, but other (sometimes drier) components of the program

Saturday 11 am at Cedar and Spruce is another good one.

Check some different meetings out to see what feels right for you. It is an amazing program! Grateful Al-Anon member

There are many good alanon meetings in berkeley-you need to go to the listings on the internet, and try out a few different ones, to see which fits.

Looking for a strong Al Anon group in the East Bay

April 2011

My sister is a drug addict and I would like to find a strong al anon group to start attending for myself and my mom. We have been to a few before where only a couple of people were in attendance and they just weren't that helpful. Thanks so much! anonymous

Hi, I am sorry that you did not find help at the Al-Anon meeting you attended. It is recommended that newcomers try 6 meetings in 6 days to find a good fit. While the Al-Anon structure of meeting follows a program, all meetings will feel familiar, but each has its own uniqueness and flavor. Therefore it is important to keep coming back and trying different meetings. You can find a list of local meetings at There is a beginner's meeting at 7 pm Thursday nights at St. John Presbyterian Church on College. The weekly meeting schedule for the Berkeley area (but Oakland is in a different area) is at .

Al-Anon is a wonderful group of friends and families of alcoholics and addicts which has helped countless people, including me. It is a lifelong program of recovery, and I can assure you that if you stick with it, you will feel comfort, peace, hope and strength. Be kind to yourself and give it some time, it is not always intuitive at first! Saved by This Program

With regards to AlAnon, please reconsider, and check out: Rational Recovery ( A very different and refreshing perspective on addiction recovery, for people struggling with addiction, and for their families. Anonymous

Al Anon meeting in Oakland

Sept 2010

Looking for an Al Anon meeting in the Oakland or Berkeley area... I happen to be gay, but it doesn't necessarily have to be a gay-only meeting. I'm expecting a child soon. Hoping to find a productive meeting that can offer some positive guidance. Women-only meeting is fine. anon is Al-Anon for all of Northern CA. Click on 'Meetings', then 'Oakland' to see the meeting list. Oakland is in District 15, which includes San Leandro and maybe Hayward. You might also want to look at District 26 (Berkeley, Albany, El Cerrito); the Tuesday 8pm meeting at Northbrae Community Church is very queer-friendly and there are people who drive in from Oakland for it. There's a number you can call for each district and someone will call you back and help you find a good meeting, too. Good luck! anon

Alanon meeting in Oakland

March 2003

I'm looking for suggestions for an Al-Anon meeting in the Oakland area. It's been years since I've been to one and I'm looking for something that is not too overbearing.

Hi. There is a great women's alanon meeting that takes place on Monday's and Wednesday's at lunch time in Berkeley. The church is on Cedar and Bonita. You could also call the Alanon central phone number in Oakland. Their phone number is 276-2270.

July 2001

Regarding Shared custody with Hostile and abusive dad
I am going through a difficult divorce myself right now and I have found Alanon to be invaluable in helping me deal with all aspects of this process. I don't know if your husband drinks but at the very least he sounds like a rageaholic and Alanon is for anyone who has a problem with a relationship in which there is a addictive behavior. I have been helped on so many levels, practical, emotional and spiritual and I am amazed at the love and acceptance I've found there. People are available to be called almost 24/7 at no charge and the meetings themselves are incredibly healing. And you will have a chance to look without self-blame at your own patterns and behaviors that contribute to your present dilemma. I can't recommend it highly enough as a way to keep your sanity and your relationship with your son in this obviously traumatic situation. There are many meetings both day and night and I don't know if you work from 9-5 but some I like are the Monday and Friday noon (you can bring your lunch) meetings at Calvary Presbyterian Church, 1940 Virginia at Milvia. (women only) or the Thursday afternoon Family meeting 1:30-2:30 at Northbrae Community Church, 941 the Alameda (enter via stairs from the parking lot in back). There is a short newcomer's meeting from 1-1:30 before this one. Alanon has no religious affiliation although there is somewhat of an emphasis on finding a relationship with your Higher Power however you define that. But really there is NO pressure to show up anyway than exactly how you are. And there are many meetings. The # to call if you want more info is 839-8900.