Having a loved one who suffers from alcohol addiction isn’t easy. But the good news is that you don’t have to go through it alone. Earlier this week we explained how Nar-Anon meetings can help support the families and friends of those suffering from drug addictions. Today we’ll take a look at some of the benefits of Al-Anon meetings.
Al-Anon isn’t treatment for someone abusing alcohol, nor is it a way to force someone into admitting that they have a problem. Instead, Al-Anon meetings support people whose lives have been affected by a friend or family member’s drinking. While you can’t force someone to seek treatment, you don’t have to go through the impacts of their disease alone.
Who can Al-Anon help?
Everyone. Put simply, anyone who has a loved one struggling with alcohol addiction can join Al-Anon. The Al-Anon website states, “[B]y sharing common experiences and applying the Al-Anon principles, families and friends of alcoholics can bring positive changes to their individual situations, whether or not the alcoholic admits the existence of a drinking problem or seeks help.”
There’s even a section called Alateen dedicated exclusively for teens who have someone in their lives who is abusing alcohol. Anyone from age 13-18 is welcome to join and receive support from their peers.
How does Al-Anon work?
Al-Anon meetings give a sense of community and fellowship, so that attendees can lean on each other and find commonalities in their shared experiences. The meetings draw from the principles of the 12-step program and are completely confidential. Group leaders will often set topic discussions for meetings such as anger, forgiveness, dealing with change, honesty, and others. Some in-person groups will often split into smaller discussion groups too, to give everyone a chance to speak if they need to.
Where do I go to join?
Just like Nar-Anon, Al-Anon meetings happen almost anytime, anywhere. Locations exist all across the world. But even if there isn’t a physical meeting near you, virtual meetings are always an option (like the meetings we host every week right here at In the Rooms).
Sticking with Al-Anon helps
Al-Anon wants you to know that you’re not alone. It helps create a community to prove that sentiment true. But sticking with Al-Anon meetings is important too – science supports the power of commitment and community. A 2015 observational study found that participants who stick with treatment or mutual-help groups over longer periods of time experience greater benefits than those who only attend short-term.
Remember, Al-Anon isn’t a treatment program for your friend or family member suffering from alcohol abuse. Treatment only helps them when they themselves are ready to seek it. But just like 12-step programs help create recovery communities to help addicts work their recovery, Al-Anon helps create recovery community for people to help one another through their loved ones’ addiction.