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There are plenty of ways to enjoy yourself in Manassas all year long, thanks in part to
Historic Manassas Inc.'s (HMI) focus on creating fun-for-all events. HMI staff, including
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a host of events planned for this summer, including the annual Celebrate America July
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gather information by hearing how others
handle their issues with alcoholics.
The group's strict confidentiality means
no lists of meeting attendees are kept
(individuals are free to identify themselves
with their first name and last initial
only), and meeting discussions aren't
disclosed to anyone. No advance
notification or referral is needed
to attend. In addition, there are
no fees or dues associated
with Al-Anon meetings,
although they often ask
for free-will contributions,
which are used to pay
for the meeting space,
provide literature, and
offer support to local and
worldwide service centers.
Alateen meetings are open to teenagers
although some also welcome pre-teens.
Adults that have been certified by Al-
Anon and have passed background
checks sponsor the meetings as the
kids share stories of their experience,
strength, and hope. Alateen is wonderful,"
Dorothy says. "It's run by kids and we
(Al-Anon) provide support. But kids
convince other kids to participate." The
premise is the same as Al-Anon, although
Alateen meetings tend to offer food and
games as well!
The following are general days and
times for Al-Anon/Alateen meetings in
Monday: noon, Bethel Lutheran Church
Wednesday: 7:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m.
(newcomers), Bethel Lutheran Church
Thursday: 10:30 a.m., Bethel Lutheran
Church, 7:00 p.m. (Alateen) Buckhall
United Methodist Church
Friday: noon, Bethel Lutheran Church,
7:30 p.m. Buckhall United Methodist
Saturdays: 8:30 a.m., Bethel Lutheran
Church, 7:00 p.m. Trinity Episcopal
The Al-Anon/Alateen Service Center of
Northern Virginia in Manassas is open
Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, from
10:00 a.m.2:00 p.m. It offers resources
to all who call or stop by, including
updated meeting information. To learn
more, call (703) 534-HELP (4357)
or visit al-anon.org.
~ Nancy Griffin-Bonnaire
Al-Anon and Alateen:
Help for Friends
and Relatives of Alcoholics
Most people are familiar with Alcoholics
(A.A.), a fellowship of
men and women who have a drinking
problem. Perhaps lesser known is the
existence of two groups that serve the
family and friends who are affected by
their loved one's alcoholism: Al-Anon
and Alateen. Prince William County
is fortunate to have active groups in
both Al-Anon and Alateen.
A.A. was launched by three
men in 1935, and soon
thereafter, loved ones of
A.A. members gathered
in loosely organized
groups to share their
experiences. One of
the original co-founders
encouraged his wife to create a separate
fellowship, and Al-Anon began in 1952.
Alateen is an offshoot of Al-Anon,
geared toward youth ages 1019. All
three organizations have a worldwide
"Like A.A., Al-Anon is anonymous,"
explains Dorothy, who has been active
with Al-Anon since 2003, when her
daughter was struggling with alcohol.
In fact, Al-Anon uses the same 12
Steps as A.A., but they're applied to
the lives of those who are living with
or frequently dealing with an alcoholic.
Over time, following those steps and
having individuals who understood her
situation to support her, Dorothy was
able to repair her relationship with her
daughter. "Al-Anon helps us deal with
the big monster in the room--living with
the many issues that impact us as loved
ones of alcoholics," she says.
The purpose of meetings is for people
to share their experience, strength, and
hope with others. Attendees meet people
who share their feelings and frustrations,
and sometimes an identical situation.
By coming together, and even talking
over the phone outside of meetings,
they learn to find happiness whether the
alcoholic is still drinking or not. Members
usually have a sponsor--one who is
knowledgeable about Al-Anon and is
available to meet one-on-one.
It's not uncommon for people to feel
reluctant to attend an initial meeting and
many put it off, but it's an important first
step for their own road to recovery. While
new attendees are always welcome,
they aren't required to speak unless
they want to; they can simply attend to