Emotions Anonymous

Emotions Anonymous is a support group for people who have been living with emotional issues that have been having a negative effect on their lives, such as anger, compulsive behaviors, depression, grief, jealousy, loneliness, low self-esteem, resentment, and worrying.

Emotions Anonymous Overview

This group was founded in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1971. By 2007, Emotions Anonymous had more than 1,000 groups operating in 35 countries. This organization is not meant to substitute for professional help for emotional issues and does not provide counseling to its members or their families.


Emotions Anonymous meetings provide a safe place for people to share their experiences and learn from each other. Rather than focusing on their problems, the meetings are about discussing solutions. Members do not judge, criticize, or argue with each other. Each participant is an expert only when it comes to their own stories, how they work the 12 steps of Emotions Anonymous, and how the program has helped them to recover.

Traditions, Steps, and Process

Emotions Anonymous is a spiritual program, not a religious one. The idea of surrendering oneself to a Higher Power can take any form the member wants or that makes sense to him or her. Sharing with other members at meetings is not a way to use other members as a sounding board. Rather, it helps members to develop the serenity to live with unresolved issues.

This organization doesn't put labels on its members' issues. People attending meetings may be experiencing different kinds of symptoms, but they are all trying to learn to deal with underlying emotions that are similar.

Effectiveness: Does Emotions Anonymous Work?

People who have turned to Emotions Anonymous for help have reported that the experience was beneficial and helped them to improve their lives.

Getting a Sponsor

A sponsor in an Emotions Anonymous group is someone who has worked the 12 steps and is willing to share their experience with other members. Choosing someone to be a sponsor is something very personal, and it may take some time to find someone you feel comfortable with. If a member approaches someone and asks them to be a sponsor, the person can refuse if they don't feel they are able to provide the kind of support a sponsor should be providing.

Find an Emotions Anonymous Meeting Near You

For a world meeting list, visit the Emotions Anonymous web site. The group also offers online meetings and discussion groups for members.