What is an Al-Anon 12-step program? Who can benefit from attending one of these family groups and what should you expect? Find out below, as well as learning more about how to find an Al-Anon meeting near you.
What Is the Al-Anon 12-Step Program?
What's In This Article?
You may have heard about 12-step programs, but did you know these programs are available not only for people who struggle with an addiction to drugs and alcohol but also their families?
Addiction and alcoholism are often referred to as a family disease. Whether your husband is an alcoholic, your wife is, your child is, or you have an alcoholic parent, you probably feel the immense weight of their alcoholism every day, especially if they’re in active addiction.
Loving and caring for an alcoholic can take a tremendous toll on your mental and physical health, and you may neglect taking care of your own needs because you’re so involved with trying to help the alcoholic in your life.
Luckily, there are resources available if you love an alcoholic or addict.
One such resource is Al-Anon. The Al-Anon 12-step program is similar in many ways to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), but it’s geared toward the needs of family and loved ones of alcoholics.
What is Al-Anon?
So, when answering the question of what is the Al-Anon 12-step program, it’s valuable to have some background on the concept. Al-Anon Family Groups, often just called Al-Anon shares some concepts with AA, yet the framework is based on the needs of the loved ones of an alcoholic. There is also the Alateen family group, for teens whose parents or family members are alcoholics.
The core of Al-Anon is about helping you connect with other people who are similar positions as you. The Al-Anon 12-step program lets you come together and hear the experiences of others, share your own if you’re comfortable with that, and also share triumphs and successes as they occur.
You can attend an Al-Anon family group meeting regardless of whether or not your loved one recognizes there is a problem. You can also attend if your loved one is still drinking or is in recovery.
How Does Al-Anon Work?
Many people wonder how Al-Anon works for family and friends of alcoholics. The following are some of the things to know when answering the question of what is an Al-Anon 12-step program and how does Al-Anon work:
- Personal Boundaries: A lot of what’s talked about in Al-Anon centers on the importance of personal boundaries. In Al-Anon, you should learn how to build on your inherent strengths, but also accept your limitations. It’s also so important to be able to separate yourself from the alcoholic you love.
- Detachment: This is another concept discussed and learned in Al-Anon. Detachment means that we create a spiritual and emotional detachment from other It doesn’t mean that you stop caring for the alcoholic in your life, but it means that you learn to separate the alcoholic from their disease and also not to take the effects of the disease of alcoholism personally.
- Forgiveness: Loving an alcoholic or addict can create intense anger and resentment. Al-Anon family groups can help you gain a sense of forgiveness which can then lead to internal serenity.
A few important things to know about Al-Anon and how Al-Anon works for family and friends of alcoholics include:
- Al-Anon is a mutual support group, but no one is obligated to share their experiences if they aren’t comfortable. You can tell other participants that you’d like just to listen.
- All Al-Anon meetings are completely confidential and anonymous.
- The concept of Al-Anon isn’t about helping alcoholics. It’s about you as someone who loves an
- Not all Al-Anon meetings are the same—the meetings can be structured and run in very different ways, and much of what happens is guided by the members.
- You are free to ask questions during an Al-Anon meeting.
- Al-Anon isn’t necessarily a religious organization, even when meetings are held somewhere such as a church.
- Most meetings begin with a reading of the 12 Steps of Al-Anon.
How Do I Find Al-Anon Near Me?
If you’re wondering is there Al-Anon near me, the answer is more than likely yes. Much like AA and NA, there are Al-Anon meetings in cities and towns throughout the country and the world, and meetings are often held most days of the week at different times.
One way to find an Al-Anon meeting is to visit the Al-Anon Family Groups website. You can put in your location, the type of meeting you’re looking for and the day you prefer.
If you’re not ready for an in-person Al-Anon meeting or you can’t find one that works for your schedule, there are also Al-Anon electronic meetings. There are email meetings, and conferencing apps and instant messaging are also used. There are also secured blogs and bulletin-board style groups you can join. These are listed on the Al-Anon Family Groups website as well.
Summing Up—What is the Al-Anon 12-Step Program?
Al-Anon Family Groups are for anyone impacted by someone else’s alcoholism. They offer an environment for mutual sharing and support and countless loved ones of alcoholics find that it helps them with the issues they deal with as a result of alcoholism. Al-Anon 12-step meetings are an excellent resource for loved ones of alcoholics.