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What is Al-Anon?

Al-Anon is a support program for families and friends of people who struggle with substance abuse. Al-Anon family groups (AFG) form a fellowship for families of loved ones who engage in alcohol abuse or abuse other drugs. Its goal is to develop support, strength, and knowledge on how addiction affects every individual involved.

Al-Anon can help change attitudes, correct destructive behaviors, and support the positive mental health of everybody involved. Learning from those with experience in these support groups can be very impactful as members can expect to share and hear personal stories.

In addition to being a support group, Al-Anon and Alateen are self-help groups modeled after AA’s 12 steps and 12 traditions. These foundations are based on the idea that members acknowledge that alcohol and drug addiction has made their lives unmanageable.

What Can You Expect in an Al-Anon Meeting?

The format for an Al-Anon meeting includes sharing personal life stories and short talks about the 12 steps, with further opportunities to discuss them afterward. Families and friends explore how the addiction has impacted their lives and discuss methods for coping and healing.

The Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Al-Anon are almost the same for the meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous because alcoholism is considered a “family disease.” Al-Anon supports those who are affected by the addict. Once the addict’s impact is known to their loved ones, those who may not be able to change the addict can instead help themselves.

  • Expect to hear your own story and to relate to others’ stories. 
  • Expect not to feel like you’re alone.
  • Expect to learn new traditions, like opening with the Serenity prayer.
  • Expect to remain anonymous with your first name only.
  • Expect to learn new skills and mentalities, like understanding that you can only change yourself. 
  • Expect to let go of expectations and begin to see that you’re not at fault because it is out of your control. 
Reach out and take the first step. Speak directly to a professional!

What is Alateen?

Alateen is a support program for teenagers who are either family or friends of people who struggle with substance abuse. Alateen has many purposes as it aims to address addiction related to the teenage years and aid in the emotional health of the community. 

  • Encourages members to support one another
  • Encourages members to work a tailored set of 12 steps
  • Aids families and friends in their commitment to change and admit their mistakes
  • Allows for sponsors to provide added experience, support, and guidance
  • Respects the anonymity of all members
  • Have AA-related literature correspond in group meetings
  • Operate under the World Service Conference, so the organization is accessible.
  • Free of charge

How Do I Support My Loved One?

It can be hard to know what to do when a family member suffers from addiction. It may be difficult or impossible to change or help the addict, but there exists an option for the family to get help for themselves. Al-Anon and Alateen are organizations governed by the 12 steps and provide support for people whose loved ones are struggling.

How Can I Find a Meeting?

Many Al-Anon and Alateen meetings are offered worldwide, and many people who regularly attend meetings have found success and gained independence.

The power of Al-Anon and Alateen lies in the importance of learning new knowledge needed to cope and manage situations impacted by the addict. Since the tradition of AA and the 12 steps have its members conduct the group, starting a group can be encouraged by registering your own support group with AA, especially if there aren’t many in your area. Resources are available on the website, including guidelines, literature, and the foundations of learning to deal with the addiction of others. 

Virtual meetings are a convenient way to participate without traveling or interacting with anybody in person, which is especially helpful for people who experience coronavirus anxiety. Families and friends can easily find an in-person or online meeting by visiting the Al-Anon Meeting Finder online.