Al-Anon

Gabrielle Applebury
Al-Anon

Al-Anon are support groups for people who are concerned about a loved one's drinking. These meetings are held online and in person around the world. Al-Anon also offers resources for those interested in learning more about alcohol abuse.

Services Available

Speaker

Al-Anon offers a variety of resources for those looking for support. They offer a podcast that can be accessed through their website that focuses on recovery for those who have a loved one who is abusing alcohol. The podcast also explains what the program covers and if it would be a good fit for you. They also have a quick quiz on the website that can help you decide if this program will work for you. They have an annual international convention that costs $130 to attend. There, speakers present on various related topics that can help you better understand alcoholism, as well as family dynamics. They also have various literature available that focuses on relationships, recovery, and loss.

They have an international presence around the world and hold group meetings in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and Bermuda. If attending in person is tricky, virtual meetings are now available. For teens, they offer special groups called Alateen that focus on adolescents who have had experience with a loved one who abuses alcohol.

Philosophy

One of this organization's main philosophies is taking each day one day at a time. They believe this helps people focus on steps towards solutions and breaking down complicated problems into more manageable pieces. Another part of the program involves labeling alcoholism as a family illness that everyone plays a role in.

Meetings

group therapy session

In person meetings are walk-in friendly and are usually held in coffee shops, churches, or other local community centers. During meetings, you will hear some members opt to share some personal stories that have to do with their experience with having a loved one who has a drinking problem. They may discuss their role in the problem or talk about how challenging it has been for them to cope. During meetings, the 12 steps may be discussed, which do mention God and a higher power. The point of the meetings is to share, listen, and better understand. You will not likely be getting advice from others there. Instead, it is a place to find a common ground, better understand your situation, and find support.

Online Meetings

For those who are unable to attend in person meetings, or who are not ready to do so, virtual meetings can be a helpful option. Skype, phone call, email and bulletin board meetings are all options for those who are looking for the ease of joining an Al-Anon meeting from the comfort of their home. Some meetings are offered around the clock while others will have a designated leader who sends you email instructions for how to join a set time meeting. To find the right meeting for you, check out the schedule listed on the virtual meetings page. There, general or more specifically titled meetings will be listed.

Deciding if Al-Anon Is For You

woman using a laptop

While Al-Anon can offer helpful resources and support in a group setting, it many not be the right fit for everyone. If you are looking for professional counseling, keep in mind professional counselors and therapists do not run this program. Al-Anon is affiliated with Alcoholics Anonymous, although these two groups are never combined. Like AA, Al-Anon operates on the 12 step program, which focuses on a higher power and encourages participants to admit they are powerless over alcohol while acknowledging their wrongdoings. While this can be helpful for some, others may find the 12 steps offensive, dis-empowering, and too focused on spirituality. Although they note they are not religiously affiliated, there is a significant emphasis on God within the 12 steps, which may not feel comfortable for those who are not religious or who identify as Atheist.

On the flip side, Al-Anon can offer support from those who are going through similar situations. It can be helpful to hear other people's experience with a family member or loved one who struggles with alcohol. This can provide you with a fresh perspective, as well as a supportive and understanding cohort. It is also a free resource, which allows virtually anyone to be able to gain access to meetings. They also offer online meetings, as well as resources for those who are unable to attend meetings in person. The meetings do not necessarily have religious overtones but focus on individual's experiences. Whoever is speaking may or may not incorporate religion into what they are sharing.

Understanding Al-Anon

This free group can be a helpful resource if you are looking for a way to access support from people who understand what you are going through. Keep in mind this may not be the right program for you depending on what you are looking for.

Al-Anon