This is intended to provide a general overview of the structure within the Al-Anon organization. We suggest referring to the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual for detailed information. The following descriptions may vary in Al-Anon around the world. In general, Al-Anon is structured to provide a chain of communication and input from the membership, to each group, to the district level, to the area level and area assembly, to the World Services Conference, and back through the same chain to the membership.
The membership is the keystone of the Al-Anon fellowship.
The basic unit of Al-Anon is the Al-Anon or Alateen group, which may consist of any two or more individuals coming together for mutual help. The group membership may elect officers, who are considered “trusted servants” and have responsibilities towards the operations of the group, but no authority over the group. Officers are usually rotated periodically, to provide everyone with an opportunity to serve the group. Our fourth Tradition states, “Each group should be autonomous, except in matters affecting another group or Al-Anon or AA as a whole.” Structure within groups varies. Suggested officers and duties of group officers can be found in the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual. Each group is encouraged to elect a Group Representative (GR) to attend and vote at district meetings.
Districts are formed by and made up of Al-Anon/Alateen groups located within a city or state. Each district may have officers and/or coordinators. Districts hold meetings periodically. Each group is encouraged to provide a Group Representative (GR) to attend and vote at district meetings. Each district elects a District Representative (DR) to represents the district at area assemblies and World Service Committee meetings. The Baltimore AIS includes:
|3||Westminster, Eldersburg, New Windsor, Hampstead, Manchester, Sykesville|
|4||Parkton, Timonium, Towson|
|5||Forest Hill, Abingdon, Bel Air, Churchville, Fallston, Joppa|
|6||Reisterstown, Owings Mills, Glyndon|
|7||Baltimore City – 21210 (Roland Park), 21208 (Pikesville), 21211 (Hampden), 21215, 21218 (Waverly), 21217 (Bolton Hill)|
|8||Parkville, Towson, Hunt Valley, Overlea, Govans, Baltimore City – 21239|
|9||Middle River, Essex, Baltimore City – 21230, 21231|
|10||Laurel, Columbia, Arbutus, Fulton, Curtis Bay, Catonsville, Glenelg, Oakland Mills, Ellicott City|
|11||Pasadena, Glen Burnie, Brooklyn, Harundale, Linthicum|
|All Maryland & DC District Boundaries|
District Officers may include:
- District Representative (DR)
- Alternate District Representative (ADR)
- Treasurer, Secretary
- Group Records
- Public Outreach
Intergroups are local service centers established by one or more districts or groups. An information service functions to maintain and facilitate communications and cooperation among member districts and groups, and assist districts and groups in outreach to others. An Al-Anon Information Service (AIS) will hold periodic meetings attended by Information Service Representatives (ISRs), where matters affecting groups are discussed in light of the Twelve Traditions. The WSO developed guidelines for information services.
Baltimore AIS Meetings
- Parkville Senior Center, 8601 Harford Road,
Parkville, MD 21234
- 2nd Tuesday of each month, except July & December
- Attended by AIS Officers and Alternate Group Reps (AGRs) and/or Information Service Reps (IGRs)
Areas are comprised of Al-Anon groups and districts in a geographical area, usually an entire state or province. The Area Assembly is a business meeting where participating members share experiences and ideas, and District Representatives from districts within the area vote on behalf of their district. The MD-DC Area Assembly meets twice every year, and may meet more often for special circumstances. Each area assembly elects a “delegate” to the World Service Conference.
There are two major lines of communication between the individual groups and Al-Anon as a whole:
1) The World Service Conference (WSC) serves Al-Anon groups in the U.S. and Canada, and groups and structures in other countries. The World Service Conference usually meets in April each year to share experiences, solve problems, and make decisions about Al-Anon issues. A delegate from each area assembly can vote on issues at the World Service Conference. Other group and district representatives and Al-Anon representatives from other nations may attend the World Service Conference, but do not vote. The World Service Office staff also attend the World Service Conference.
2) The World Service Office (WSO) is the clearinghouse and headquarters of the Al-Anon Family Groups. The WSO acts as the service center for groups throughout the world, and is the link with other national General Service Offices, several of which have their own conferences. The WSO publishes all conference-approved literature. It has a Board of Trustees, various Service Arms, and committees responsible for various functions. The relationship of the WSO to the groups is explained in “Al-Anon’s Twelve Concepts of Service.”
Each group elects a Group Representative to represent their group on the district level. The Group Representative (GR) attends the District meetings, communicates and votes on behalf of his or her group, and communicates District news back to his or her group.
Each District holds periodic meetings (bi-monthly, quarterly, etc.). Each group within the district is encouraged to elect a GR to attend these meetings. Many groups also elect an Alternate Group Representative (AGR) and/or an Information Service Representative (ISR). Each group may have one person vote on its behalf when a vote is taken on district issues or for district officers. Any member who wishes to attend district meetings is welcome to do so. The dates and location of district meetings are posted on the Area events page.
District officers are elected from among District Group Representatives and members. District officers may include:
- District Representative
- Alternate District Representative
- Information Service Representative
- Public Outreach
Our “Trusted Servants”
Al-Anon Tradition Two states, in part, “Our leaders are but trusted servants – they do not govern.” For comprehensive information about the responsibilities of various officers, we suggest referring to the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual.
Quoted Tradition Two excerpt is reprinted with permission of © Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc., Virginia Beach, VA.
It is required that the District Representative and the Alternate District Representative must be current or past Group Representatives (elected by their Al-Anon or Alateen group to represent the group at the district level.) Other district officers may be elected from the general Al-Anon/Alateen membership.
Al-Anon and Alateen members who are also members of A.A. may hold office within their own Al-Anon or Alateen group, but may not serve as Al-Anon Group Representatives or hold Al-Anon office beyond the group level, per decision of the Al-Anon World Service Conference. This was decided in order to avoid potential conflicts of interest if members of A.A. also become members of the World Service Conference.
We suggest referring to the Al-Anon/Alateen Service Manual for detailed information about the responsibilities of various officers at the group level, district level, and beyond the district level. The responsibilities of the Group and District Representatives, as suggested by the Al-Anon/Alateen Service manual, follow. Groups may also elect an Alternate Group Representative (and/or an Information Service Representative) and districts may elect an Alternate District Representative to assist with these responsibilities.
The Group Representative is elected for a three year term. The Group Representative maintains communication between his or her group and the district, and the group and the Area Assembly. The Group Representative votes at the Area Assembly on behalf of the group. Responsibilities include:
- Attends District meetings
- Attends Area Assembly meetings
- Maintains an up to date current mailing address for his/her group with the World Service Office
- Represents the group’s views to the District Representative and at district meetings, and keeps the group informed of district news
- Assists with local public outreach
- Reminds the group of the seventh Tradition and encourages group-level support of the Worlds Service Office
- Encourages use of Conference-Approved Literature at meetings
- Encourages subscriptions to the Forum (Al-Anon’s monthly magazine)
- More information
The District Representative must be elected from among incoming, outgoing, or active past Group Representatives from the district. The District Representative maintains communication between the district and the Area Assembly. Responsibilities include:
- Calls and chairs district meetings, at regular intervals
- Helps to disseminate Conference information and reports
- Keeps in touch with the Group Representatives in the district and represents their views to the Area World Service Committee (AWSC) or the Delegate.
- Helps groups in the district (especially new groups) receive necessary information and help
- Helps groups in the district understand and apply the Traditions
- Prepares a current mailing list of the district’s Group Representatives in the district for the Area World Service Committee
- Encourages groups in the district to return the group data sheets that are sent out by the World Service Office each year
- Checks with the Group Representatives to be sure the group mailing address is current
- Checks that the groups are receiving and sharing mail from the World Service Office
- Attends World Service Committee (AWSC) meetings and reports on activities within his/her district
- Notifies the Area World Service Committee and the World Service Office of groups that have disbanded
- The Alternate Group Rep and/or the Information Service Rep attend the AIS meetings.
- Substitute for the Group Rep when they cannot attend District, Area Assemblies or other events.
- Three-Year term is suggested.