Addiction Treatment (Drugs and Alcohol)

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Support Groups for Loved Ones

Alcoholism is a progressive disease. While the alcoholic is the only one who can ultimately choose sobriety, along the road to recovery, family members and loved ones of the addict are also affected greatly by this addiction.

12-Step Help

The Al-Anon Family Groups, specifically Al-Anon and Alateen, are 12-step program support groups for those affected by a loved one’s alcohol abuse. Al-Anon Family Groups believe that alcoholism is a family illness and that everyone involved could use some support and guidance.

Al-Anon meetings are for adults affected by alcoholism. Alateen is for younger members of Al-Anon, usually teens, who are affected by someone’s alcoholism or compulsive drinking.

The Al-Anon Family Groups Explained

Al-Anon Family Groups are a spiritual fellowship, not religious. All faiths welcome. Each member defines the Power greater than ourselves, found in the 12-steps, to be anything they choose to believe in or of their own understanding.

People who care deeply about an alcoholic react to the alcoholic’s behavior. They try to control the alcoholic’s drinking, take on shame and guilt and, ultimately, become addicted to the alcoholic. These family members and loved ones can also get sick from the disease of alcoholism by their pure obsession with the alcoholic.

The Purpose of a Meeting

Al-Anon and Alateen help families of alcoholics. They welcome new and seasoned members and offer comfort. They also offer understanding and encouragement to the alcoholic. Al-Anon members are people with a common bond, a person who has been affected by someone else’s drinking. While most people are initially reluctant to attend a meeting and have great anxiety about it, they ultimately find that meetings foster personal growth.

Al-Anon and Alateen members include:

  • Parents
  • Children
  • Spouses
  • Partners
  • Siblings
  • Other family members
  • Employers, employees and coworkers

Al-Anon/Alateen Meeting 101

Newcomers are always welcome.

A meeting is whatever the member wants it to be. Members need not speak unless you choose to do so. Many people just say, I pass or explain that they are just there to listen. Many new members take the listen and learn approach when they first attend an Al-Anon or Alateen meeting. Seasoned members are readily available to answer questions.

Relevant group literature and a local meeting list are available at meetings. It is recommended that a person attend at least six different meetings before deciding if the Al-Anon Family Group is right for them.

There are no dues. The group is self-supporting through member contributions.

No attendance is taken and members can attend as frequently or infrequently as they desire. Meetings are based on anonymity and are confidential.

Do Meetings Help?

Loved ones of addicts often feel frustration, despair and helplessness. These meetings let people in similar situations share experiences, strength and offer hope so that others will not feel alone. Al-Anon and Alateen meetings create a venue to come together to find a better way of life, whether the alcoholic continues to drink or not.


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