Alcoholism doesn’t just affect the alcoholic, it affects everyone around that person. It takes a huge toll on the families and friends of the concerned person too. To address this very issue, Al Anon was created. It is a part of the Alcoholics Anonymous community. Here, relatives and friends of alcoholics share their experiences and lend their strength to people who suffer from similar circumstances. But how does Al Anon work to provide comfort to people around an alcoholic? The organization has two main initiatives, the main Al Anon program – geared towards adults, and the Alateen program – geared towards young children of the alcoholic. Both these initiatives follow the twelve steps program developed and adapted by the Alcoholics Anonymous community.
The Al Anon program itself focuses on adults who have a family member or friend suffering from alcoholism. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence almost two thirds of all domestic abuse cases can be directly or indirectly linked to alcohol. This means that there are millions of people who are facing daily hardships and abuse in their life because of their spouses’ affliction.
Al Anon has chapters around the world functioning to provide help to those who need it. By regularly going to their meetings and seminars, these people can share their experiences with each other, help each other cope with their situation and try to redeem their relationships. These people can thus finally find a place where people truly understand them. Moreover, such meetings teach a number of coping skills to people who are indirectly affected by alcohol.
Another way the Al Anon helps the families and friends of alcoholics is through its Alateen initiative. Sometimes the children take the brunt of an alcoholic lashing out. However, adults and children respond to different things, which is why it was important to have special meetings for such kids. This initiaive is specifically aimed at teenagers, however, some meetings are even open to pre-teen children who face problems with alcoholism, either with a family member or a friend. With the rising trend of alcoholism in today’s youth, and the existing problem of alcohol related abuse by a relative, more teenagers are being affected by alcoholism every day.
This poses a great problem as during these years, humans are extremely influenceable. To help these young adults, the Alateen initiative encourages these teenagers to attend meetings and speak to people who have had similar experiences and have overcome similar problems. Alateen meetings are led by experienced speakers who can help these teenagers overcome their problems, and many times even help them have a fulfilling relationship with the alcoholic. Al Anon also helps those teenagers who have friends that succumbed to alcoholism. They do this by getting them the support they need to deal with the changes that their friends have gone through.
12 Step Program
One of the main ways of dealing with alcoholism is by going through the famous 12 step program. Al Anon, through its initiatives and its own twelve step program, is trying to beat the pervasive negative effects that alcohol has on our society. This twelve step program, unlike others is designed to specifically help those indirectly affected by alcohol. It is tweaked depending on the people who are supposed to follow it – adults or teenagers. The program encourages you to accept the existence of the problem, and then provides you with a path to a better life.
Alcoholism can be a very traumatic experience to go through. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a parent, a child, a sibling or a friend who is caught up in alcoholism,. Al Anon aims to provide a safe, and anonymous space for these affected people. If you know anybody whose relative is an alcoholic and who might need help, don’t hesitate to contact us. The faster you contact us, the faster we can help.