Al-Anon is a network of support groups for people whose families have been impacted by alcoholism. These organizations strive to be useful and therapeutic.
The Story of Al-Anon
Al-Anon is a support group for friends and family members of problem drinkers that were founded in 1951. Lois Wilson, better known as Lois W., created Al-Anon 16 years after her husband, Al-Anon (AA). She founded an organization for people like her after experiencing the challenges of assisting a recovering alcoholic in her own life.
Al-Anon is a self-supporting organization that relies on member donations. Meetings are offered to assist family members and friends of alcoholics in coping with and better serving their loved ones, even if their loved ones have not recovered. Al-main Anon’s goal is to help members by letting them know they are not alone in their battle.
Alcoholism as a Family Illness
Alcoholism is treated as a family illness by Al-Anon since it has a detrimental influence on both the drinker and those around them. The support system of friends and family is critical to the recovery of an alcoholic. Some family members may blame themselves for their loved one’s drinking or may not understand why their loved one’s goal is recovery. Meetings address these concerns and assist participants in understanding alcoholism as family sickness.
Alateen—Al-Anon Meetings for Teens
Al-Anon also offers a group for young people impacted by drinking in their families called Alateen. These gatherings enable young people to interact with others their own age, making the experiences more relevant and useful.
What to Expect from a Meeting
Al-Anon sessions are open to anybody who has been impacted by someone else’s drinking. If you are concerned about someone’s drinking problem or if their way of life impacts you directly, Al-Anon can assist you.
Some folks are apprehensive about attending their first meeting since they don’t know what to expect. Few factors to keep in mind if you are thinking about attending a meeting:
- Most significantly, Al-Anon is anonymous.
- Everyone at each meeting has been impacted by alcoholism, either directly or via a family member.
- There are several sorts of meetings. Some of them may be more advantageous to you than others.
- Although it is encouraged, no one is compelled to speak or explain their concern.
- Al-Anon is not a religious organization;
- Meetings revolve around Al-12 Anon’s Step program.
- Al-Anon meetings follow a slogan that encourages members to “take what they want and leave the rest.” Meetings focus on exchanging experiences and challenges rather than instructing participants what they should do in this manner.
The 12 Steps of Al-Anon
The majority of meetings begin with a reading of Al Anon’s 12 Step program. These stages are virtually verbatim taken from the Alcoholics Anonymous 12 Step program. Al-Anon members, like AA members, are assigned a sponsor who assists them in working through the stages and is available for assistance in times of need. The steps are as follows:
- “We admitted we were powerless over alcohol—that our lives had become unmanageable.” — Members come to view alcoholism as a condition that they have little control over in others.
- “Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.” — Members frequently push themselves to the breaking point by attempting to alter or control their loved ones. After accepting their powerlessness, they come to understand that they can be restored to sanity.
- “Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.” — Learning to let go is a critical component of the program and acceptance.
- “Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.” — Self-discovery is an important element of the stages, and this is the first step. Attendees make a list of ways in which they may have harmed themselves or their loved ones (such as with threats).
- “Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.” — This is an assessment of each item in the member’s moral inventory, giving them the opportunity to dive into each concern.
- “Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.” — This is a critical phase because it represents full acceptance of the healing process as backed by a Higher Power.
- “Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.” — This section of the 12 Steps teaches members how they may have been controlling or judgemental toward an addict and how this is unproductive.
- “Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.” — Making amends frequently begins with oneself. Many people blame themselves for the addiction of a loved one. They must be willing to forgive and make apologies for their mistakes.
- “Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.” — Following your willingness to make apologies, the next stage is to take action.
- “Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.” — Going through the 12 Steps is a time-consuming procedure. Despite the fact that members have already completed an inventory, it is typical for mistakes to occur. Step 10 acknowledges that this is a continuing process.
- “Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.” — This is a personal, spiritual stage that includes acceptance and consolation in the midst of recovery hardship.
- “Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to others, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.” — The final stage is for the member to recognize that his or her journey is not made. Members are then encouraged to share what they’ve learned with other members