You may be familiar with Alcoholics Anonymous meetings because you have been to one, someone close to you attends meetings or you’ve seen it on television. Most people have an idea what an AA meeting is like, however not many people know about Al-Anon or Al-Ateen. Al‑Anon is a support program for people whose lives have been affected by someone else’s alcohol abuse. Alcoholism is known a “family disease” in which several members of a family can be affected by one persons habits.
Like AA groups, these meetings are a safe and welcoming place where you can connect and share your experiences with others that are going through a similar thing with their loved one. Parents, spouses, siblings and close friends of alcoholics attend Al-Anon to open up about how alcoholism has affected their lives. Members can share their frustrations, negative past experiences and even share some healthy coping mechanisms, strengths and positive experiences that can give other members a sense of hope.
Like AA, the first time you go to a meeting you can share and talk to the group but you are not required to.Members of the meeting will then share their thoughts, things they are experiencing or talk about their progress in recovery. Everything that is said and shared in the meetings is anonymous and each member of the group is expected to maintain confidentiality. Most people find that sharing with the group can be cathartic and helpful even if their loved one has chosen to not get help.
Attendees can form friendships and more importantly a sense of support, knowing that they are not the only ones dealing with something so difficult like alcohol abuse. Many feel reluctant to attend a first meetings, but this Al-Anon is solely intended to offer help you and your family may have been needing for years.