For anyone who has lived in a household with an alcoholic or been in a relationship with one knows how difficult coping can be. Living or being in a relationship with an alcoholic is intertwining in the fact that alcoholism is a “family” disease and on average affects four people. Knowing that a loved one, friend, co-worker or someone else you care about has a drinking problem can be extremely stressful and painful. Since alcoholism has a center source; the people surrounding them may suffer also which can create a hectic and dramatic surrounding. This is similar to throwing a stone in a pond.
Family and friend supporters need a support system, also. Even if an alcoholic/drug addict decides not to go to AA or NA there is still an outreach for supporters. Al- Anon is a network of supporters built on the idea that there is hope no matter the situation. The meetings are available to anyone willing to come. For some, this is not a place they feel comfortable to visit but for other supporters it is the best place for them to go. It is a feeling of welcome knowing that there are others in the same position, as well as, meeting a group of people that will now be your support system.
Al- Anon is based from the Twelve Steps and Twelve Traditions of Alcoholics Anonymous. The steps are the foundation for recovery and the traditions are there for the unity and fellowship of the program. The Twelve Steps are used by both the members of AA and Al-Anon to give encouragement and understanding.
Many of the people who come to Al-Anon (36%) were referred to by professionals and found a haven among the group of people that come to each of these meetings. These meetings and its members are confidential with no dues or fees. Locating a meeting is simple. Al-Anon has a listing of information services that are offered in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. For the areas that don’t have Al-Anon services or for those that are homebound The Lone Member Service can offer help. There are many publications for anyone who would like more information on the program, as well as, many books to offer insight and resources for supporters.
Making the decision to go to a meeting may be difficult for the first timer. The “unknown” is always scarier than doing something that has been done two hundred times before. Keeping in mind that others are there for the same reason makes it easier to relax; knowing all judgments are left at the front door make it easier to open up. Although you may be at a meeting for the situations in your own life you could be helping someone else and not even know it.