Friday, August 28, 2020

Alateen hoping to create a group for Windham and Raymond teens

By Lorraine Glowczak
We all may know someone whose alcohol consumption causes disruption in our lives, whether the individual misusing the substance knows it or not. A loving spouse or parent who overconsumes can exhibit harsh personality changes that include, but are not limited to, outburst of anger creating physical and/or emotional abuse and harm.
As a result, some individuals need to talk about how this affects them personally and may yearn for support. These experiences are difficult for everyone but can be especially difficult during teenage years. This is where Alateen can help.
Alateen is a part of the Al-Anon Family Groups, commonly referred to and known as Al-Anon. It is a support group specifically for teenagers whose lives have been affected or disrupted by the alcohol misuse of a family member or any individual close to the teen.
“Alateens share their experience, strength, and hope in order to gain a better understanding of alcoholism and to lessen its effects on their own lives,” the Alateen website said.
Al-Anon member, who is a certified adult-member chair and chaperone of Greater Portland area Alateen groups, Barry Wolach, reignited the teen organization in Southern Maine a little over a year ago. He is looking to invite Windham and Raymond area teens who may need support and/or are interested in gaining knowledge regarding alcoholism and its effects on others around them.
“I realized how much I have gained being a member of Al-Anon and wanted to extend the same benefits to area teenagers,” Wolach said. “Alateen teaches teens how to take care of themselves and not the alcoholic. I wanted to help in some way, so I became certified as an Al-Anon member in Alateen Service to help start Alateen groups across Maine.”
Before the COVID pandemic, Wolach and others initiated Alateen groups at Noble High School in Berwick, Bonny Eagle Middle School in Standish, as well as St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Falmouth.“Since COVID, we have had to go online,” Wolach said. “We took a couple of months off during the summer but the Alateen group will resume meeting via the Zoom online format on Tuesday, Sept. 1.”
This online Alateen group will begin at 7 p.m. every Tuesday beginning Sept. 1. The groups will eventually return to meeting in person once it is safe to do so. Online and in person meetings are safe, private, and only first names are used.
“I want to extend the invitation to any Windham and Raymond teen who may need support – especially during COVID,” Wolach said. “This is the reason why I recently reached out to Laura Morris for her assistance in getting a group started in this area.”
Morris is the Director of Be The Influence, a Windham/Raymond coalition of parents, educators, business owners, government personnel, area clergy and other sectors whose primary focus is on reducing access to and substance youth use in the community. The organization offers fun and engaging activities that emphasizes healthy choices.
“There is a huge need for Alateen services in Windham and Raymond and I was so pleased to connect with Barry and his mission as it aligns with our own objectives,” Morris said. “Be The Influence will help him in any way we can to begin an Alateen group in Windham and Rayond.”
Wolach explained that to have an official Alateen meeting in Maine, there must be two adult certified Al-Anon members who act as chaperones, but he made it clear that teens are in charge.
“The teens run and facilitate their own meetings,” Wolach said. “The chaperones are only there for protection and assist with requests by the teens, when needed.”
Alateen is not a religious program and there are no fees or dues to belong to it. For more information, contact Barry Wolach at or peruse the national website at <

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