Sonoma & Napa County Al-Anon/Alateen
New Meetings

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 in Sonoma County 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. 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.

3) For reference we used free Al-Anon literature to help guide us:

- Starting an Al-Anon Group, Form G-12

- Al-Anon Alateen Groups at Work,  P-24  

- and the Al-Anon Alateen Service Manual,  P24/2  

4) Then we applied for a WSO (World Service Organization) I.D. Number. Every Al-Anon group needs this for registration and correspondence. There are two ways to get a WSO number for your group

A) Get a WSO number from NCWSA (Northern California World Service
    Area) by completing NCWSA's Al-Anon Registration/Group Records
    Change Form Form A16

     Here is a link that explains how to fill it out: Form A16 instructions 

or B) You may also get your group's number directly from WSO by using form
        GR-1 which also has a helpful page of instructions

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. This link takes you to Sonoma County's CONTACT US page which lists the current names and email addresses of our District 5 Officers and Information Services Coordinators. That is where you will also find the phone number to notify the Support Line Coordinator.

We composed an email with all our meeting's information, including WSO number and start date and sent it to the following:

- D 5 Schedule Coordinator, to add all our new meeting's information to the newest list of printed schedules meetingschedules@sonapalanon.com

-D 5 Website Coordinator, to add our meeting to the website listings websupport@sonapalanon.com

-D 5 Voicemail Coordinator, to add our meeting to our district's meeting information line voicemail@sonapalanon.com

-District 5 Representative, to inform DR and other Group Reps and Coordinators of the new meeting districtrep@sonapalanon.com

- 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 5 meeting that is held on the first Tuesday of each month.

6) 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.

- Check with our D 5 Literature person because our district is able to offer meetings free literature to help new meetings started and he or she might be able of recommend a nice starter pack of books and pamphlets, depending on the focus of your meeting. literature@sonapalanon.com

- 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. To find the form, go to ncwsa.org and type form A26a in Search box. 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.

You are welcome to contact me if you have questions.

Yours in Recovery,

Ken B.

kwseb@yahoo.com