Benefits of Al-Anon Meetings
There are several benefits of Al-Anon that can help families struggling with the disease of addiction.
Alcoholism is a family disease and often impacts members of the family in different ways. One of the primary misconceptions about addiction is that the family should be able to fix the alcoholic and that creates a huge burden for family members. In some instances family members have been so consumed by the behavior of the alcoholic, that they can take on blame, shame and guilt that they should have been able to fix their loved one’s behaviors. In other cases, family members may continue enabling their alcoholic family member’s behavior by covering up for them, making excuses for their behaviors, “fixing” their problems and consequences, providing financial support to them or believing their lies. Ultimately, when family members and loved ones are not able to separate themselves from the person with alcoholism, neither the family member or the person with alcoholism can heal properly. Further, these families are often plagued with manipulations and lies, as well as hopelessness and fear. These relationships also often lack boundaries and accountability, It is important for the family members and loved ones of the alcoholic to find their own recovery and accept that their previous approaches to dealing with their alcoholic family member were not working.
What is Al-Anon?
Al-Anon is a mutual support, 12-step program that is structured similarly to the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) program. The primary purpose of Al-Anon is to provide help, hope and support for families and friends of alcoholics. Members of Al-Anon are people who have been affected by someone else’s drinking. This includes children, spouses, partners, brothers, sisters and other family members as well as friends and co-workers. Family members are often encouraged to try attending an Al-Anon meeting when a loved one enters treatment for alcoholism so that they can find support among others who share similar experiences.
Is Al-Anon Right For Me?
Many family members and friends of alcoholics find Al-Anon provides them with guidance and hope while their loved ones navigate recovery. Al-Anon might be for you if you:
- Are constantly worrying about a loved one’s drinking
- Often lie to others in order to “cover” up how much your loved one drinks
- Cancel plans because you are worried about bringing your loved one to social events because you are worried about their drinking
- Feel embarrassed by your loved one’s drinking
- Feel like your loved one’s drinking always impacts your plans
- Feel anxiety over how much your loved one drinks
Benefits of Attending Al-Anon
As your loved one receives the treatment that they need, many family members may feel a sense of relief, but also a sense of anxiety because they are not sure how to process their emotions and experiences. Some may need to deal with their own codependent and enabling behaviors, while others may need to work through some of the trauma and pain that they suffered as a result of their loved one’s alcoholism. The benefits of Al-Anon include providing strategies for an alcoholic’s family members to heal and to also adjust their behaviors so that they can end the cycle of codependency. Al-Anon meetings are a safe space for you to honestly share your experiences, your struggles, your fears and your frustrations, while also learning about coping strategies from others. Just like AA meetings, Al-Anon meetings are confidential and members value anonymity as a basic principle so there is a mutual respect and trust that your presence at meetings will be private.
One of the unique benefits of attending Al-Anon meetings is finding support and camaraderie from other people who have had similar experiences. Meetings are often composed of people at different points in their own recovery, so it is likely that more experienced Al-Anon members have been where you are, can give you helpful suggestions for how to heal and find hope as your loved ones find similar support in their AA meetings. Newcomers to Al-Anon often find relief when hearing about situations and relationships that are similar to their own, and that while everyone’s personal situation and story may be a little different, they share the similarity that their lives have been affected by another person’s drinking. This provides a sense of belonging and community that contrasts to the isolation of your loved one’s alcoholism.
Importantly, Al-Anon offers the loved ones of alcoholics a way to find your own recovery regardless of your loved one’s recovery. Al-Anon offers you a solution to the uncertainty of your loved one’s addiction as well as continued guidance on how to find your own happiness and serenity.
Get Help in California
If you or someone you love is struggling with substance or alcohol use, Asana Recovery can help. Contact Asana Recovery or give us a call today at 949-763-3440.Our trained professionals will walk you through the admissions process and make sure all of your questions are answered. The first step is admitting you need help, and is often the hardest. Once you take that first step, there will be a team on your side to help you be successful in your new future.