Addictive behaviors affect around 8.3 million children + across the United States from 2002-2019. With substance abuse rates steadily climbing year-after-year these numbers are sure to climb in 2021. Many families turn towards 12-Step support groups to find serenity in a chaotic home. But with so many programs available it’s difficult to choose the right program for your family. Here we explain when to choose Families Anonymous instead of Al-Anon.
What is Families Anonymous?
Families Anonymous is a 12-Step Program for adult friends and family members of those who engage in addictive behaviors, not just alcohol abuse. The peer group helps each member face difficult decisions by sharing experiences of a loved one’s addiction and recovered ways to respond. The focus of the group is not on the loved one’s actions, but on how to focus on oneself during the chaos that follows addictive behaviors. Families Anonymous puts the spotlight on codependent behaviors that destroy personal sanity and serenity.
Sharing your experiences becomes easy in the group as people share first names only. Anonymity and confidentiality are key parts to the program. What is shared in the room stays between members of the group and not shared with anyone outside the meeting. This tradition is kept between all 12-Step Programs.
What is Al-Anon?
Al-Anon is a 12-Step Program for adults who have a loved one engaged in alcoholism. As with all 12-Step Programs, you do not need proof of substance abuse. Even a suspicion of alcohol abuse is enough reason to attend meetings.
Members of Al-Anon share their experiences with a loved one’s alcoholism, the strength they have gained through the 12-Steps, and the hope that emotional sobriety is available to all that work the program.
What is the Difference Between Families Anonymous and Al-Anon?
This explanation will help you decide when to chooses Families Anonymous or Al-Anon for support. While Al-Anon shares many of the same traditions of Families Anonymous, the main difference is the focus in on alcohol use disorder and its effects on the family. Families Anonymous focuses on addictive behaviors including substance abuse, sex addictions, gambling, and other behavioral compulsions.
Common Aspects of Families Anonymous and Al-Anon
Both 12-Step Programs offer a safe place to share your struggles with a loved one’s addictive behaviors where you can stay anonymous. The programs focus on supporting members, not controlling the behaviors of a loved one. Regaining emotional clarity and serenity through coping skills is the goal of the 12-Steps for families and friends of those struggling with addictions and behavioral compulsions.
Neither program charges a fee for membership but donations are welcome.
Need Help to Choose a Family Support Program?
Living with substance abuse or behavioral compulsions in a loved one is hard and can be confusing. Many family members and friends try to manipulate the loved one into stopping destructive behaviors, but this only causes more problems. Eventually many people turn to support groups to deal with the effects addiction is causing in the family. These support groups teach family members to care for themselves and focus on things they can control, their own reactions to the loved one’s problems.