Here at Into the Heart of Addiction, we talk a lot about the importance of Al-Anon within the context of many of our articles. But for those of us who are unaware, why exactly is Al-Anon important?
Recently, we posted an article written by a parent about her understanding the purpose of Al-Anon and how it helped her come to terms with her son’s sobriety and how instrumental it was in her own understanding of the process of attaining sobriety. The important thing that she drew from her experience is that she didn’t understand the importance until she had experienced it.
What is Al-Anon?
Al-Anon has but one purpose: to help families of alcoholics. Al-Anon is 12-step program meant to help families and friends of those with a drinking problem. Problem drinking can affect anyone, no matter what income or neighborhood, job or status, age or gender, and nationality or skin color. This is why Al-Anon is so important.
Al-Anon is for men and women who want answers about what to do about this drinking. Many people typically discover they have an immediate bond with other members, through sharing this problem they have in common, and find that members of this program understand as perhaps few can.
Education is Key
For those of us with addicts in the family, unless we have had previous experience with addiction and, in turn, sobriety, we have our own preconceived notions on how it should be dealt with. We know that the person needs rehab. We know that we want to either help them in any way we can, or not deal with them at all. But the bottom line is, we don’t know a lot.
Educating yourself on addiction and sobriety is the first step. The best way to do this is to talk with other people in your position who can help. Whether you’re the parent, brother, sister, or close friend of the addict, there is someone who shares your story within the rooms of Al-Anon. Hearing their experience and what they did to get through the process can be an immensely powerful and relieving process.
Attend Meetings, Find a Sponsor
Continuing to hear the stories of those who have helped others by helping themselves is a constant reminder that you are on the right course. The best way to accomplish this is to attend meetings and ultimately find a sponsor. Being part of a fellowship and community of like-minded individuals provides you with something to rely on, people to call when it gets tough.
A lot of us want to resort back to our old behaviors of codependence or lashing out in anger when the going gets tough, but running your thinking through others and asking for help can help abate the situation and possibly even prevent another one. A sponsor will guide you through these things, and hearing advice from someone you not only respect but also relate to can facilitate better decision making and hope.