I know that there is a difference in some of the meetings that I attend in Al-Anon. In my home group, there is a laid back feel to the meeting. We only have a few people so we tend to share multiple times, and sometimes we even cross talk.
In one of the evening meetings, the format is strictly by the traditions. In another, there are a lot of double winners and generally either much laughter or tears. Newcomers generally come in a lot of pain and often sob. We offer encouraging words to them to keep coming back.
But just as often there is a lot of laughter at meetings. And some of us are much more humorous than others. I tend to be the more serious type, but have found that since being in this program there is often something to laugh about. It has taken me a while to be able to laugh at some of the things shared in meetings. I guess that by and large, those of us in Al-Anon tend to be a bit on the reserved side. But as peace of mind increases, so does my sense of humor.
I can remember going to open AA meetings and thinking how much camaraderie there was. Meetings before the meeting, dinner after the meeting, lots of hooting and hollering in the meeting--not the type of stuff that happens much in Al-Anon. I don't think that I have ever been to an Al- Anon meeting where there was clapping and much ado after reading of the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions.
I am glad to go to Al-Anon meetings where there is laughter. It feels good to be able to share and even laugh at ourselves in a non-disparaging way. We may not hoot and holler but every smile or chuckle is a reminder that none of us has to be glum. I have moved through the truly sad, despondent times to be able to feel more joy than not, regardless of how the alcoholics in my life feel.