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Al-Anon: What Is It And How Can It Help?

    Al-Anon: What Is It And How Can It Help?

    Al-Anon is a new way for people who have a friend or family member who is struggling with alcohol addiction to connect with others and seek help.

    In this article, we’re going to talk about what it is and how it can help you.

    Alcohol Addiction And Who it Impacts

    Do I have an alcohol problem?

    In a 2019 – 2020 report, it was found that 28% of adults suffering from alcoholism make up for all adults in treatment for addiction services in the UK.

    Overall, that is 74,618 people that are in treatment for this substance abuse disorder.

    When someone suffers from an addiction, the people around the person also suffer too.

    This can be for a variety of reasons such as feeling responsible for the person with the addiction, or taking care of them to the point of caregiver burnout.

    As such, it’s important that communities and support groups like Al-Anon exist to help support those who are supporting others in overcoming addiction.

    What Is Al-Anon?


    Al-Anon stands for alcoholics anonymous, and its aim is to connect those who have a friend or family member who is struggling with alcohol addiction.

    It is not to be confused with AA, which is just to support the individual with the addiction.

    It is a safe, supportive space.

    A substance abuse disorder is a terrible thing for someone to develop.

    Although addiction is incredibly hard on those directly suffering from it, it also has a significant impact on their friends and family members.

    Due to the above, it’s important that there are facilities for those who may know someone who suffered with addiction to get support as well.

    Friends, family members, colleagues, family friends or even people who are supporting family members who are caring for someone with a substance abuse disorder are welcome to get in touch.

    When Was It Founded?


    Al-Anon was originally founded when AA was first created in 1939, as friends and family members attended meetings alongside those who were suffering from alcohol addiction.

    Over the next few years, Al-Anon was created with the specific goal of helping those who were supporting individuals suffering from addiction.

    Ala-teen was also created to support teenagers who were struggling with alcohol dependency.

    The Benefits Of Al-Anon


    There are many benefits to going to Al-Anon, but its main attraction has always been its ability to help people change.

    Those who have been around someone with addiction may have been impacted in ways that they don’t even understand, and through the support of Al-Anon they can change that.

    There are, of course, many other benefits of going to the Al-Anon such as:

    • Developing a secure, understanding support network
    • Having people that understand and empathise with your situation
    • Recognizing how someone else’s addiction may be impacting you
    • How to find freedom after suffering from another person’s alcoholism
    • Understanding the twelve steps and implementing them into your life

    The biggest and most important benefit, however, is that you will no longer be alone in your struggles, fears or fight against alcohol addiction.

    What to Expect: Newcomers and Members

    If you have never heard of Al-Anon before, you may be a little hesitant to join.

    However, it is a safe, caring environment that is anonymous, and anyone who wishes to have support can attend.

    The meetings are completely free to join, although they do ask for donations from frequent members to ensure that they can keep operating.

    In terms of what to expect, you may find that the people there are very different from what you thought they might be.

    Addiction can impact anyone and someone could develop it for a wide range of reasons.

    As such, anyone could be present and you may find people from all sorts of backgrounds.

    It’s important that when you first attend a meeting you do not judge anyone.

    Every person there has gone because they have been a victim of alcohol addiction in one sense or another.

    In addition to the above, advice or suggestions on how to help a person with a substance abuse disorder is not allowed.

    This is because it is not the intention of the group and can often be unhelpful or even counterproductive.

    The members of Al-Anon will welcome anyone who joins, and give plenty of literature at the end of a meeting, should you require further support or information.

    What Al-Anon Does


    Al-Anon focuses on the twelve steps to offer support to those who have someone in their life that is struggling with alcohol addiction.

    The people that attend the meetings discuss their experiences and create a community bond to solve their problems caused by the substance abuse.

    Al-Anon also only has one goal: to help those who are already trying to help another.

    Why Is It Anonymous


    It can be daunting enough to try something new – including going to an Al-Anon meeting.

    As such, their policy is one of anonymity.

    You are welcome to give your first name, but other than that you can share as much or as little personal information as you wish.

    The anonymity is there to protect the members – and through doing the above it allows people to be more open about their experiences.

    In addition, it also means that you do not talk about the people you see or repeat what you hear at meetings.

    It is a safe, inclusive space for anyone who wishes to attend.

    How To Know If You Need Al-Anon


    Only you can truly know whether you require additional support and whether it might be worthwhile to have a little help.

    However, addictions do impact the entire family, and oftentimes treatment is more effective when everyone has been through recovery, rather than just the person who is addicted.

    Aside from the statistics, it is important to consider how much you will get from Al-Anon as well.

    It creates a safe, inclusive environment to help with your own experiences, rather than the person who is addicted.

    As a result of the above, you will be able to focus on yourself and how to move forward.

    Is Al-Anon Religious?


    Al-Anon is not religious and instead bases its twelve steps on spiritual guidelines to help members.

    Anyone from any faith or background is welcome to join the meetings and they discourage people from talking about specific religious beliefs.

    It is believed that anyone should be able to seek help through it.

    What Are The Twelve Steps?


    The twelve steps are actually not called the twelve steps.

    There are the twelve principles that have been adapted from alcoholics anonymous and remodified to suit people who are aiding those with addiction.

    It should be noted, however, that the twelve steps are learnt in Al-Anon and members are encouraged to apply it to their lives.

    This is to support their friends and family members that are recovering.

    The people who attend Al-Anon meetings often share the lessons they’ve learned through the above as well, and how it’s helped them with their own journeys.

    The twelve principles are:

    • Acceptance
    • Hope
    • Faith
    • Courage
    • Honesty
    • Patience
    • Humility
    • Willingness
    • Love
    • Integrity
    • Self-discipline
    • Service


    Al-Anon also practices the twelve traditions, a series of traditions that dictate how the organisation is run.

    The twelve traditions are:

    1. Your welfare should come first, but personal progress depends on unity.
    2. Our group has one authority, our group conscience.
    3. The only requirement for membership is that you know someone who suffers from an addiction to alcohol.
    4. Each recognized group of Al-Anon should function independently.
    5. We have one purpose: to help those who know addicts and have suffered. To do so, we practise the same twelve steps that those suffering will practice.
    6. We will always cooperate with alcoholics anonymous.
    7. Every group should be self-supporting.
    8. Al-Anon is not a professional group, but they may enlist the help of professionals.
    9. We may create service centres that may employ certain workers.
    10. Outside issues should not be discussed.
    11. Anonymity should always be respected, hence any public relations will always be anonymous.
    12. Anonymity is the foundation of Al-Anon, so we should always respect one another’s anonymity.

    What Other Help Does Al-Anon Offer?


    Al-Anon provides a range of other resources that can help you.

    They provide a wide selection of literature following a meeting for just about anything that you may need relating to alcoholism.

    Al-Anon provides books, leaflets and other resources that may help you support the person in recovery, but also help you recover from any issues you have experienced as a result of addiction.

    Get In Contact With Al-Anon Today

    Man with phone

    If you need a little extra help in supporting a loved one through their alcohol addiction, Al-Anon is the place to turn to.

    Reach out to our helpline and we will be able to direct you to the most appropriate Al-Anon group operating in your area.

    Alternatively, you can contact Al-Anon itself directly.

    No one should have to suffer from addiction alone.

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