What Is Alanon?

Family dynamics are always affected by substance use disorder (SUD), including alcohol use disorder (AUD). Family members and close friends of those struggling with addiction have to find ways to practice self-care while supporting their loved ones. Ala-non (Al-Anon) is a fellowship for individuals with family members affected by SUD. The self-help group meetings and other community events organized by Ala-non provide a space where people can find understanding, encouragement, and information about how to help their loved ones and protect their own well-being.

The Effect of Alcoholism on Family Dynamics 

Alcohol misuse often co-occurs with other disorders that contribute to more severe symptoms and increase the risk of developing relationship issues. For family members and close friends of those individuals, the impact can be profound and include: 

  • Legal issues 
  • Financial strain 
  • Co-dependent behaviors
  • Loss of trust 
  • Higher risk of developing mental health disorders 
  • Higher risk of developing substance use disorders 
  • Chronic stress 

Families going through the recovery process can work together to overcome the challenges and side effects of substance misuse. According to Social Work in Public Health, “Each family and each family member is uniquely affected by the individual using substances including but not limited to having unmet developmental needs, impaired attachment, economic hardship, legal problems, emotional distress, and sometimes violence being perpetrated against him or her.” Every family member can play an essential role in the recovery process. 

Facilities like The Family Place encourage the participation of supportive family members during the rehabilitation process through family therapy and other family-focused treatment options. We encourage the loved ones of individuals in treatment to use support groups like Alanon to better understand the recovery process. 

Ala-non, Ala-teen, and Other Support Groups 

Many self-help groups use 12-Step principles to help their members build a healthier lifestyle and maintain sobriety. Alanon and Alateen (Ala-teen) are intended as a support resource for the friends, family members, and acquaintances of individuals who struggle with addiction. Meetings can provide the following for people who regularly attend: 

  • A safe space to discuss all aspects of recovery 
  • Information on local rehabilitation facilities 
  • Accountability for setting boundaries and practicing self-care 
  • Mentor relationships with others who have gone through similar experiences
  • Education about the realities of addiction

Decades of research have proven that the 12-Step methods can effectively lower the risk of relapse after treatment. Accessibility is what sets 12-Step meetings apart from other support groups. According to the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, “Every country, every town, and almost every cruise ship has a 12-Step meeting,” making it a particularly effective tool for families in communities around the country.

Principles of Alanon 

The common-sense principles are part of what makes groups like Alanon effective for millions of individuals. Other approaches to recovery might feel overwhelming for many people, which is why the simple, direct, and community-focused Alanon makes such a positive impact on the families of people with AUD. The primary principles of Alanon include:

  • Belief in the existence of a “higher power” 
  • Acceptance
  • Hope
  • Courage
  • Honesty
  • Patience
  • Humility
  • Integrity
  • Self-discipline
  • Service to others

What to Expect From Meetings 

The mission of Alanon, as stated on its official webpage, is to provide “help and hope for families and friends of alcoholics.” The meetings they offer provide resources and support to ensure everyone who attends has access to information and services to help them and their loved ones. A typical meeting includes all or some of the following: 

  • Discussing aspects of recovery
  • Sharing self-care tips 
  • Reading from or discussing recovery literature 
  • Sharing successes and challenges related to treatment or recovery of AUD

The organizers of meetings usually have literature for people who may be new to the Alanon experience. 

Is Ala-non Religious?

Ala-non is not a religious group or organization. However, there are aspects of spirituality in their core philosophy, including the belief in a “higher power.” However, there is no requirement to believe in any religion, and the wording is often kept neutral to make it accessible for everyone.

Building a Strong Support System 

Addiction is damaging to relationships and communities. Self-help groups are one way to protect your own mental health while still being there to help loved ones in crisis. By building a solid support system of peers and community resources, you allow yourself and your loved one space to heal and grow. 

The benefits of attending a local Ala-non meeting include: 

  • Insight into different stages of the recovery process 
  • Lower stress 
  • Access to a worldwide fellowship with meetings in every state and online 
  • Motivation and realistic goals for coping with your loved ones’ addictive behaviors 

You cannot force someone else to get help. However, you can show them that reaching out for support can be rewarding and beneficial. By attending Alanon meetings, you act as a role model to your friend or family member who may be hesitant to get treatment or join a support group for people with alcohol use disorder. 

What Is Alanon?

You Are Not Alone 

You may feel like no one else knows what it is like to watch a loved one struggle with addiction. However, you are not alone. Millions of families around the country feel the same pain and have found ways to work together and support one another. 

You cannot control whether your loved one chooses maladaptive behaviors like substance misuse. However, you can control how you choose to react to the situation. Allowing yourself to rely on the support of others and sharing your experiences with them can decrease stress, improve your mental health, and give you the strength and motivation to continue being there for your loved one. Find out more about how The Family Place can help by reading our Our Family Program page. 

Watching a loved one struggle with addiction is heartbreaking. You do not have to go through it alone. The Family Place encourages family participation in the recovery process because we believe connections make people stronger. To learn more about our family-focused services, contact our office today at 1-800-501-7796

There is hope and now is the time, Call today

Request a Call Back at your Convenience

Fill out the form below and someone will call at the time your specify.