Alcoholism causes 88,000 deaths per year. Those who die from alcoholism shorten their lives by 30 years. But the alcoholic is not the only person affected by alcoholism. Alcoholics leave behind family members who grieve the loss of their loved one and the years watching him or her die slowly from the disease. Many family members turn to Al-Anon support groups to help understand why their loved one drinks or drank to death.
What Are Al-Anon Support Groups?
Al-Anon support groups are a fellowship of family and friends of alcoholics. These people gather to share their experiences with alcoholism in the family. Along with sharing experiences, long-term members share a message of hope; how they survived the disease of alcoholism. They also share stories of strength and recovery from the effects of alcoholism in the home.
Who Can Join Al-Anon Support Groups?
Al-Anon support groups are open to anyone affected by another person’s drinking. Membership requires no religious, political, or organizational affiliation. The only need is a person must deal with a problem of alcoholism in a friend or relative. Even if you are not sure another person’s drinking problem is alcoholism, you may still attend the meetings to learn more about the disease and what you are experiencing.
Along with no affiliation requirements, no one pays fees to become a member of Al-Anon support groups. A basket or hat is passed around during meeting to cover the costs of the meeting place or coffee served, but no one must contribute. All donations are voluntary.
What Happens in Al-Anon Support Groups?
Passing the hat for donations usually happens at the end of a meeting. The person leading will begin with a moment of silence or the serenity prayer, followed by a welcoming statement to new members.
This may be followed by sharing the 12-Steps and 12-Traditions. At the end, members introduce themselves with their first name only. Then the meeting topic is announced, and a discussion held.
Everyone can share their experience, strength, and hope around the subject, but it is not required. After everyone who wants to share has done so, final comments are allowed. Then the leader of the meeting passes the hat for donations and close the meeting with a message about anonymity. Finally, the meeting may close with the Al-Anon Declaration:
Let it begin with me.
When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help,
Let the hand of Al-Anon and Al-Ateen always be there,
And let it begin with me.
Sharing Experiences Helps Understand Why a Loved One Drinks
Al-Anon support groups help family and friends of alcoholics understand three things about alcoholism.
- Neither the alcoholic nor those affected by alcoholism can control the disease.
- Others have experienced the effects of the disease and have survived.
- You can survive the effects of alcoholism too.
Are You Ready to Find Al-Anon Support Groups in Your Area?
Al-Anon support groups can help you understand why your loved one drinks and why you react the way you do. If you are ready to find Al-Anon Support Groups in your area, visit Al-Anon’s website today.
If you would like more information on how to help your loved one find recovery, call Aion Recovery at 888-811-2879. Addiction specialists can speak to you about treatment options and intervention help. Call today.