Having a friend or family member who suffers from addiction or alcoholism is hard. It can be a roller coaster of emotions, and you may find it harder to cope some days. Addiction and alcoholism are family illnesses, because they don’t just affect the addict – they affect the whole family.
In reality, loving an alcoholic or addict can be a traumatizing experience that you need to recover from. If this is something you’re dealing with, consider joining a support group such as Al-Anon.
Al-Anon was founded 16 years after Alcoholics Anonymous, with the purpose of helping friends and family members of alcoholics through the application of the Twelve Steps and learning to understand the alcoholic.
What Happens at Al-Anon Meetings?
Al-Anon exists to provide support to the spouse or family members of an alcoholic – it’s meant to help you recover from someone else’s drinking.
Most Al-Anon meetings take place in small groups. The leader of the group will often choose a topic for discussion, such as dealing with change, self-esteem, enabling, forgiveness, etc. Members are welcome to take part in the discussions or simply sit back and observe.
Al-Anon members also work the 12 Steps, and are encouraged in meetings to share the lessons they have learned from practicing them.
Can Participating in Al-Anon Meetings Help Your Loved One Recover?
While Al-Anon doesn’t exist to stop someone else’s drinking, many members notice that the more they focus on caring for themselves, the more their loved one is able to progress in his or her recovery from alcoholism.
How does this happen? By focusing on your own emotions, you’re focusing on healing yourself and making yourself mentally stronger. As you become stronger, it’s easier for you to accept your loved one’s shortcomings, attribute the alcoholism to a disease rather than blaming anyone, and set boundaries with your loved one. All of this has the potential to influence your loved one in a positive way on his or her journey to recovery.
How to Find an Al-Anon Meeting
Al-Anon makes it easy for anyone to find and join a meeting, no matter where in the world you are.
If you’re interested in trying Al-Anon out for yourself, visit their official website to find a meeting. Whether you’re looking to join an in-person session in your area, prefer to meet virtually or over the phone, you’re sure to find an option that works for you.
As the friend or family member of an alcoholic or addict, you are going through a lot. It’s important to take some time out and care for yourself emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. In the long run, it will help you immensely, and it may help your loved one in his or her journey to recovery as well.