All About Al-Anon
Al-Anon is a “worldwide fellowship that offers a program of recovery for the families and friends of addicts and alcoholics, whether or not the addict recognizes the existence of a problem or seeks help.” Alateen “is part of the Al-Anon fellowship designed for the younger relatives and friends of addicts through the teen years.”
Alcoholism and drug addiction is a disease that afflicts millions of people every year, and each year, more and more people seek out Al-Anon as a way to start working on their recoveries. Whether you’re the first person in your family to struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or you come from a long line of people who were addicted, alcoholism can be a deadly disease that affects every single area of your life.
The History of Al-Anon
Al-Anon is a program that began in the 1950s and it is a combination of the 12 Step Program and Alcoholics Anonymous. In fact, the same person who founded Alcoholics Anonymous started Al-Anon. She was the wife of an alcoholic who saw an immediate need for these types of treatment programs. Al-Anon focuses on meeting the needs of people who struggle with alcoholism but who desperately need and want to find a way out of their destructive behavior patterns. It allows for them to learn all about their addiction, how it works and the pain it causes while providing an atmosphere of people who are working on making the same changes.
The Principles of Al-Anon
Regardless of what you may have heard about Al-Anon, any program that is going to make a difference must be built upon a solid foundation. Al-Anon is no different. The program focuses on dependence upon a Higher Power, but it leaves the interpretation of the Higher Power up to the participant. The goal is to establish the fact that in and of ourselves, we are not capable of refraining from active participation in our addictions. However, when we learn to depend on a Higher Power, and we establish a connection with him, we are. This connection helps addicts understand a need to change their perspectives of the events, people and situations around them that drive them to drink.
The Judgment-Free Zone
If you’ve never been to Al-Anon before, one of the first things that will strike you at your first meeting is the fact that there is absolutely no judgment displayed from anyone that you meet. You will immediately be drawn into the group and welcomed without any questions or raised eyebrows. If you’ve felt shame because of your loved one’s addiction in the past, this is an experience that’s likely to make you feel a little confused. However, you should know that there are reasons behind those attitudes.
Every single person who is in the room has been in your shoes. Each of them has had to walk through the doors on their own before. They remember how it felt to feel scared for their loved one, alone and unsure about what they should expect. They don’t judge you because, in a sense, they are you.
In addition to not having to worry about being judged for your loved one’s addiction, your presence there will be looked upon as a gift. You’ll find Al-Anon is a support group full of people who are eager to talk with you, get to know you and hear you share your story. It may have been a long time since you felt valued in that way, but you should know that their responses to you are nothing short of sincere.
Who Attends Al-Anon?
The first time you attend an Al-Anon meeting, you might be rather surprised by the people you see there. Many of them are people you’re used to encountering in your everyday life. You’ll see people in all professionals and social statuses at Al-Anon. Don’t be surprised if you encounter:
- The doctor you saw for a recent injury
- The waitress who serves you coffee every Sunday at the local diner
- The teacher your son had last year in first grade
- The manager of your favorite retail store
- The police chief of your city
As you can see, alcoholism and drug addiction doesn’t play favorites. It can strike anyone, anywhere and at any time. Whether you’re the CEO of a major company or you’re a struggling fast food employee, alcoholism is a disease that can happen to anyone.
Hopefully, this has put your mind at ease a bit about alcoholism or drug addiction and the power it can have over you. While it might be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you have a problem, the people you meet at Al-Anon will embrace you with open arms and help you work through everything you’ll be facing as you begin on the road to recovery.
If you or someone you love struggles with alcohol addiction, help is available to you. Please contact us.