One of my most common referrals for family and friends who are struggling with a loved one’s addiction is Al-Anon. So what is Al-Anon anyways? Here are some answers to a few FAQs:
What is Al-Anon?
Al-Anon is a community based 12-step program, similar to AA or NA. Their members are people just like you, who are worried about the alcohol and/or drug use of a loved one. They use the same 12 steps as other programs to help members seek recovery from the effects of a loved one’s drinking and/or drug use. These meetings are run by members just like you, to offer community, hope and support. One of the main principles is anonymity, so your attendance will remain confidential. All meetings are free of charge.
Do I have to believe in God to participate?
Nope! 12-step programs encourage you to identify a higher power of your choosing. This could be nature, the universe, family, or the chair you’re sitting on right now. It’s up to you.
Can I get a sponsor in Al-Anon like in other 12-step programs?
Yes, you can. You don’t have to have a sponsor to participate in the program, but Al-Anon encourages sponsorship just like AA or NA. A sponsor is another Al-Anon member who is offering to share their experience, hope, and guidance to understand the Al-Anon principles more deeply.
Where can I find a meeting?
It can be intimidating to consider walking into a room full of strangers and talking about your problems. Keep in mind, everyone at that meeting has been exactly where you are. They are there to offer you their experience, hope, and strength. You aren’t required to share at the meeting, and you don’t have to decide right away whether you want to become a member. You can even go to a “Newcomer” meeting, specifically designed for folks who are new to Al-Anon and wanting to explore. Try out a few meetings to get more information and decide if Al-Anon is right for you.